Dessert often gets overlooked for wine pairing because people associate drinking sweeter style wines as being beneath them or for those who don’t appreciate “real” wines. While that’s definitely not true, as some of the finest wines made in the world are indeed sweet or fortified wines, let’s talk about the perfect dessert wine—bubbles!
2010 Domaine Carneros Brut, California. Any time you talk rich, buttery desserts, you are going to need a rich sparkling to go with it. That’s where a bottle of a certain vintage will usually come into play. Most vintage bubbles will be aged in barrels a little longer, giving them a richer, sometimes yeastier flavor component that will pair with the dough- or pastry-driven desserts.
NV Saracco Moscato d’Asti, Italy. Saracco is one of the first names in Moscato and was hip before Moscato knew it was going to be hip. Moscatos are lower in alcohol and can be a great dessert on their own. The flavors lean towards tree fruits such as peaches, apricots and pears, and therefore will love to be paired with things such as apricot tartlets, angel food cake with flambéed peaches, or simply sorbet. (One scoop for you, and a small one for the Moscato!).
NV Reginato Rosé of Malbec, Argentina. Yes indeed, that big, rich, juicy red that people have come to love is used to make some killer rosé sparkling wine in Argentina. Aromas of both dark and red berry fruits counter with fresh flowers and coriander. An ideal pairing for this would be a strawberry shortcake, chocolate torte or a warm mixed-berry compote with sabayon.
NV Sarao Cava Brut, Spain. Cava is the Catalan word for “cave” or “cellar,” and it was a term that the Spanish coined in the 1960s to separate themselves from Champagne. This will be a dry sparkling that’s perfect for a fresh fruit dessert, dark chocolate truffles, or the perfect sparkling to add a liqueur or fruit puree. Make it its own dessert!
Whatever you do, don’t overthink it. Enjoy what you like, feel free to experiment, and don’t let anyone tell you differently!
—Kevin Hodge, Cellar Rat Wine Merchants