How to Choose Dessert Wines

Wine Types
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A dessert wine makes a great meal even better. Follow these tips to top off your menu with flair.

Step 1: Know your dessert wines
Learn the different types of dessert wines, including fortified wines, such as port and sherry, and late harvest wines, made from mature, sweet grapes.

Step 2: Choose a dessert
Decide what to serve for dessert and choose a wine to complement it. Cake or cookies, fruit and cheese, and chocolate are good choices.

Complement the meal. Follow a heavy meal with a lighter dessert. Save rich desserts to follow lighter meals.

Step 3: Drink port with hearty desserts
Serve port, a red wine fortified with brandy, with rich desserts. Pair lighter ruby ports with fruit pies, tawny ports with milk chocolate, and vintage ports with dark chocolate.

Step 4: Muscat wine
Drink Muscat wine with fruit. Muscat grapes produce a sweet, light, fruity wine.

Dessert wine should be sweeter than whatever you serve with it.

Step 5: Noble rot
Indulge in a bottle of Sauternes, a wine made from grapes infected by “noble rot,” a fungus that concentrates their sugars. Serve with fruit and Roquefort cheese.

Step 6: Serve wine
Serve very sweet dessert wines, such as ice wine or German Ausele, on their own. These are a dessert in themselves!

Did You Know?
French law permits Sauternes production only in the Sauternes region of Bordeaux.

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