Holiday Dessert Pairings


This is an action-packed few weeks full of parties, dinners, and lots of celebration. And along with all the festivities come the desserts: cookies, cakes, pies, and lots more decadent treats. While there are some classic wine pairings to keep in mind when it comes to the sweeter side of things, there is also plenty of room for creativity and discovering to be had with sweeter flavors. From Sauternes to Port, here are some wines to think about serving with the dessert course during the festive season.

Photo Courtesy of Shuttershock


This iconic holiday dessert comes in all shapes and sizes, from gingerbread cookies and cakes to ginger-spiced ice cream and custards. Try the earthy, spiced flavor—a combination usually containing coriander, mace, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon—alongside a Sauternes such as Château Filhot’s 2009 Sauternes En Primeur. The honey, citrus flavor and medium body of the wine will pair perfectly with the spice and floral notes in the gingerbread.

Peppermint Bark

Another classic holiday flavor, peppermint is enjoyed in everything from white chocolate bark to peppermint-studded cupcakes. The mint is a bold flavor all on its own, so pair these desserts with a light bubbly moscato like Bera Moscato d'Asti 1992, which will gently compliment it with a delicate floral notes and a honeyed finish

Christmas cookies

No holiday celebration is complete without cookies. For buttery, sweet flavors like sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, and shortbread, try a dry white wine like Blackstone’s Sauvignon Blanc Net. The crisp, clean finish of the wine will help cut through the sweet cookies, and the slightly fruity tones of pineapple will compliment their butter flavor.

Dark Chocolate Mousse and Cake

Nothing pleases a sweet tooth like a rich chocolaty dessert, whether it’s a dense flourless chocolate cake or creamy chocolate mousse. Pair the rich, dark chocolate flavors with the bold flavors of an aged port, such as Graham Tawny’s 10 Year Aged Port. The lush fruit flavors and strong tannins of the port stand up to the decadence of the chocolate.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

This dessert is quite the sugar bomb: spiced cake topped with toasted nuts and a buttery caramel-like toffee sauce. Mitigate the rich sweetness with a dry sherry such as Bodegas Tradición Jerez-Xérès-Sherry Amontillado Muy Viejo NV. The caramel notes and fruity nose on the sherry will compliment the toffee sauce, while the dry, acidic finish will help cut through some of the sweetness.

Citrus Cheesecake

A combination of bright citrus flavor with a creamy custard dessert, like cheesecake or panna cotta, is a great alternative to some of the richer holiday sweets. Match those citrus flavors with an orange muscat such as Andy Quady's 2005 Essensia Orange Muscat, which has wonderful floral aromas of apricot and orange blossoms that will help bolster the flavor in a sweet citrus dish. 

Slideshow View

Mentioned in this article


Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network