Getting your just desserts with wine...

Beaulon and Filhot dessert wines.

Beaulon and Filhot dessert wines. - Credit: Archant

This week I had a lovely day with Exeter Cookery School (run by two former St Albans residents)on two courses succeeding in learning skills that previously felt impossible especially making a chocolate roulade that rolled perfectly (well, almost perfect!) and parfait in the afternoon plus vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Once the practical cooking was complete our thoughts turned to finding the ideal wine to match our delicious cakes and desserts. Dessert wines or stickies are some of my favourites and with over 35 in our range we have wines to match most types of pudding, personal taste and budget.

Cakes of any description have a lovely mouthfilling texture and wines like Pineau des Charentes from the Cognac region of South West France are ideal to complement them with their delicious lightly creamy textured flavour that is also fruity and refreshing. Those from Chateau de Beaulon which is primarily a Cognac producer, are great examples of this fortified wine. It is fortified with Cognac before aging for five years in oak barrels. Thus, Pineau des Charentes is an ideal choice for the Roulade especially the red as its deep vinous flavours and texture match the chocolate – never easy to do.

This leads me to finding a pudding to go with a red naturally sweet wine or VDN from the Rhone Valley – Rasteau Domaine Beaurenard. At this time of year it’s easy: strawberries dipped in chocolate,.as it is another sweet fortified wine that is deliciously textured and full of sweet elegant, vibrant chocolatey fruit.

Back to my cooking day though and now to find wines to go with parfait and ice cream. The rich creaminess of these desserts are easily matched with many luscious stickies form round the world including a botrytis Viognier from Yalumba in Australia and a New Zealand Noble Pinot Gris from Clark Estates. My favourite though is to choose a luscious yet light late harvest wine such as Vistamar Moscatel from Chile (great value), Monbazillac or Pedro Ximenez Sherry such as Noe from Gonzalez Byass to pour over the ice cream or parfait. This may sound decadent but it’s a great way to enjoy the combination of wine and food with every mouthful!!

The fruity complex luscious fruit notes with a balancing acidity are a great foil to creamy ice cream or parfait and the PX sherry is so concentrated and unctuously delicious that it is a great match!

A Victoria sponge when filled with strawberries and cream is a classic for afternoon tea and though sparkling wines and Champagnes are often chosen to complement this treat try a dessert wine such as those mentioned above or a Tokaji from Hungary with its lovely lingering complex honeyed and apricot notes.

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There are many more dessert wine options to try, and I often prefer to enjoy a dessert wine with cheese as it complements many cheeses at the end of a meal together with a quality black coffee and maybe chocolate too! Why not give them a go?