Valentine’s Day, more than any other holiday, seems designed for wine. But when dinner’s over, and you’re on to dessert, what’s the best wine to pair with those chocolate-covered strawberries, a slice of decadent chocolate cake, or that five-star crème brûlée? We’ve put together a Valentine’s Day guide for dessert and wine pairings to help you find the perfect pair.
Whether you prefer white or red, sweet or dry, there’s a wine to go with every Valentine’s Day treat. Peruse this list by wine or dessert type to find your match!
From bold, full-bodied reds like Cabernets and Malbecs to brighter, light-bodied Pinot Noirs, red wines tend to pair well with dark fruits and chocolates. The red and black fruit flavors mingle well with strong, rich sweets they can’t overpower:
- Dark chocolate (truffles, cakes, mousse)
- Blackberry, cherry, and blueberry desserts
The bright, fruity notes of white wines pair well with creamy flavors, and the crisp, tart or dry varieties bring a fresh bite of contrast to extra-sweet, fruity desserts:
- Fruit tarts & fruit pies (apple, peach)
- Shortbreads & sugar cookies
- Cheesecakes & custards
Dessert wines like Riesling, Chenin Blanc, or Port are already sweet, but they truly complement the sweetness of a sugary confection or creamy pudding. With these, there’s no risk that your wine will taste too acidic or dry in comparison to the accompanying dessert. Try pairing your dessert wine with:
- Chocolate cake (Port)
- Crème brûlée (Riesling)
- Strawberry shortcake (Chenin Blanc)
If your sweetie loves a slice of apple pie or lemon meringue, go with a white wine like a Chardonnay, Chanin Blanc, or Riesling. The crisp, fruity flavors highlight the fruit in the dessert–just make sure the fruit of the wine’s tasting notes are in the same family as the fruit in the dessert (e.g., peach with peach, citrus with citrus).
Chocolatey & Rich
The darker and more decadent the dessert, the darker the wine. The rich flavors compliment instead of overwhelming one another. Try your slice of chocolate ganache cake with a glass of Pinot Noir, Cabernet, or Port.
Shortbreads & Sugar Cookies
These light and buttery desserts pair well with light, crisp wines like a Pinot Grigio or Prosecco. You can go either slightly sweet or slightly dry with these wines and still get a satisfying complement to your shortbread or sugar cookie.
Cheesecakes & Custards
Sparkling wines like Champagne or Spumante pair well with creamy desserts like cheesecakes and custards. Their light, crisp taste and bubbles bring a bright contrast to the creaminess of each bite.
- Tiramisu – If you love this Italian classic for your special night, try pairing it with a sweet white wine like Muscat or a Sparkling Rosé to contrast the rich, spiced tiramisu with some tropical notes.
- Chocolate Truffles – You need a Port. There’s no question, this rich, sipping wine goes perfectly with nibbles of chocolate truffles straight out of their pillowy heart-shaped box.
- Chocolate-Covered Strawberries – There’s nothing more iconic than chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne, but maybe you want to switch it up this year and go dark with a full-bodied Bordeaux. The rich, earthy notes of this wine will mingle with the chocolate and bring out the strawberry’s tart, sweet flavor.
The options for dessert and wine pairings are endless and endlessly customizable based on your palate. It doesn’t matter if you’re pairing a ten-dollar bottle of wine or a two-hundred-dollar bottle – it’s the complement or contrast that makes a great match. So all that’s left is to pick your favorite wine or your favorite dessert and get pairing!
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