Top pairings | The best wine to pair with rhubarb

Top pairings

The best wine to pair with rhubarb

You might be surprised to learn that rhubarb is a great ingredient to pair with wine. Generally dessert wines have to be sweeter than the dessert they accompany and rhubarb has a natural tartness that makes that easier to achieve especially when it’s served with wine-friendly cream as in a rhubarb fool, pannacotta or a creamy rice pudding.

What wines to pair with rhubarb

Sauternes or similar sweet wines from Bordeaux

Light, lush lemony Sauternes and similar wines such as Loupiac or Cadillac work well especially when the dessert is accompanied by cream. Probably the combination I reach for most often as this post shows though I'd generally go for younger rather than older vintages

Other late harvest sauvignons or semillons from elsewhere in the world would work too

Auslese, beerenauslese or other late harvest rieslings

Riesling has a corresponding acidity that makes it a great match. Rhubarb can balance the intense sweetness of even an ice wine. I once had a cabernet franc-based Canadian ice wine with rhubarb cheesecake which was a sensational match.

Sparkling rosés especially pinot noir-based ones or rosé prosecco

Work well when the wine is off-dry and the dessert not too sweet. A lovely echo of colour with early season pink rhubarb.

Moscato d’asti would be good if there’s meringue involved like this walnut meringue cake with buttermilk cream and poached rhubarb dessert

A chilled shot of rhubarb gin or vodka, especially with a rhubarb pie or crumble. That's not wine, obviously, but there are so many delicious rhubarb-based drinks around you should definitely experiment. You can get non-alcoholic rhubarb nectars too.

Rhubarb also pops up in savoury dishes such as this pork recipe or this amazing-sounding deep-fried Iberico pork chop with hot and sour rhubarb pickle from Donald Edwards* and with oily fish such as mackerel. None is an easy match. I’m guessing here but I would probably go for a sharp dry white such as an assyrtiko, certainly with the mackerel, a dry riesling or even a pink pet nat or good, dry artisanal cider. Any thoughts?

Are you a rhubarb fan? Try this delicious blood orange and rhubarb meringue pie or rhubarb and strawberry crumble sundae.

* It's well worth checking out Donald's blog Radical Wine Pairing

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