Don’t ‘dessert’ your after-dinner tipples!

With the sweetest time of the year approaching, let’s have a look at how we can make our dessert indulgence even lusher. Pairing with desserts is not difficult if we keep in mind a few simple rules; choose wines that are sweeter than the dish and focus on matching the flavours and weight.

Christmas pudding
Probably the most British festive dessert. Being naughtily sweet, rich, moist, and complex, Christmas pudding offers plenty of scope to complement it with rich fortified wines.


  • Lustau Pedro Ximenez ‘San Emilio’ NV
  • Barbeito Malvasia Reserva NV

English Trifle
Another one of us Brits’ favourites. Layers of custard, fruits, and sherry-soaked sponge can be paired successfully with fruity sweet wines. However, if you want to elevate the pairing to the next level, pick one with higher acidity and ample freshness. This will both help with breaking the heaviness of the cream and heighten fruit perception.


  • A.J. Adam Riesling feinherb 2019
  • Sarocco Moscato d’Asti 2020

Italian in origin, many countries have adapted Panettone to their own cuisine. For example, the French combine this dessert with milk and vanilla to create ‘Panettone’ French toast. For pairing with the traditional version of this cake, head towards wines with medium levels of sweetness, a lovely fruity core, and ideally, a touch of nuttiness.


  • Bruno Sorg Gewurztraminer 2019
  • Ximenez Spinola Exceptional Vintage 2019

Chocolate desserts
Pairing with chocolate is always a challenge! In which case, a good strategy is following the rule; ‘if you can’t beat them, join them!’ So don’t try to break through the chocolatey richness, but instead, find something that will add another dimension to the dessert. Orange or raspberry liqueurs are often successful with dark chocolate, especially if you find these fruits in the dessert recipe. Whisky with milk chocolate might seem a little risky, but very often works well, especially if you pick a soft highland style. Also worth remembering is that it is easier to pair with cooler chocolate than warm. Have a look below for some general ideas:

Dark chocolate

  • Quaglia Orange Brandy
  • Cocchi Barolo Chinato
  • Domaine Pouderoux Maury 2018

Milk chocolate

  • Niepoort Ruby Dum NV port
  • Cline Mourvedre Sweet 2017
  • James Eadie’s Glenlossie 10 year old

White chocolate

  • Kettern Goldtropfchen Riesling Spatlese 2016
  • Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2020

Cheese Board
The world of cheese is so vast that finding the great ‘all-rounder’ is the holy grail of wine pairings! Anyway, no need to be discouraged – for a good start try one of the below:

  • Aurora amontillado sherry NV
  • Niepoort The Senior Tawny Port NV
  • Madeira Atlantic Rainwater NV