Saturday, February 11, 2012

Vinous Valentine's Day Selections to Pair with your Favorite Desserts!

Surprising your Sweetheart with something deliciously decadent this Valentine's Day? Take it to the next level and pair your sweet treat with one of these Vinous Valentines that are 100% Cupid-approved! 

Dismiss your image of dessert wines as the cloyingly sweet, hangover-inducers of long ago. These perfectly respectable wines make fabulous pairings for your favorite desserts, creating a synergy of deliciousness that's much greater than the sum of its parts - a sentiment that will hopefully linger for the rest of your evening! As a general rule, select a wine that is at least as sweet, if not sweeter than the dessert you're serving in order to avoid any undesirable "clashing" of acid or tannin. Here are three Valentine's Day-inspired sweet wine selections and some classic dessert recommendations to pair them with:

Biltmore Estate Méthode Champenoise Pas de Deux Sec: This sparkling wine hails from the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina and bears the name of the French phrase meaning "dance for two." It is made from 100% Muscat Canelli grapes using the méthode champenoise or méthode traditionelle, the same process used to make Champagne. This bubbly has lovely, fragrant floral and fruit aromas along with flavors of candied citrus, honey and toast and a delightful, albeit subtle sweetness. While this wine would also make an excellent aperitif and pair well with Asian or spicy cuisine, for dessert pair it with fresh berries and cream or the delicious French classic, Apple Tarte Tatin. MSRP: $15

Quady Elysium: The folks at California's Quady Winery specialize in making both port-style and aperitif dessert wines crafted from under appreciated Muscat varieties. They named Elysium after the Greek word for "heaven" because they felt, "drinking this you can almost feel you have fallen into a rose garden and been transported to heaven." Made from the Black Muscat grape, known in Europe as Muscat Hamburg, this wine is rife with heady aromas of lychee, cassis and roses. On the palate, flavors of juicy blackberry, cherry and rose petals keep you coming back for more, hopefully just like your Valentine! You also can't beat the label emblazoned with a colorful heart motif. This wine pairs perfectly with chocolate covered strawberries, blue cheese or even poured over ice cream to create your very own Elysium Sundae. MSRP: $21

Broadbent Auction Reserve Port: Hailing from Portugal's Douro Valley, this multi-vintage blend of vintage Ports is crafted from 100% foot-trodden classic Port grape varieties including Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Cao, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Amarela. The final wine is then aged in mellowed oak to achieve just the right level of tannin and complexity. This seductively elegant, fortified wine has a deep, ruby red hue and perfumey aromas of blackberry, violets and spice. On the palate, delightful flavors of ripe raspberry, chocolate and espresso harmonize with subtle earthy, herbaceous notes in this lovely, well-balanced offering. For some fabulous synergy, pair this Port with a chocolate-based dessert with red fruit like a Raspberry Chocolate Mousse. It would also be an excellent choice with the classic pairing of Stilton cheese or, just simply, served on its own. MSRP: $25

I hope you enjoy these Vinous Valentine's Day pairings with someone you love. For even more dessert and wine pairings, please click here. Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!


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