How to Choose Dessert Wines

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


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You Will Need

  • A variety of desserts
  • A supply of dessert wines


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

  5. Step 4

    Muscat wine

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

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. French law permits Sauternes production only in the Sauternes region of Bordeaux.