Pairings | Late harvest zinfandel
What wine to pair with cherry desserts
Cherry is one of the fruit flavours most often found in wine and liqueurs so does that make them a good pairing for cherry desserts? It depends how intense the cherry flavour is.
A clafoutis, for example, (a French batter pudding with cherries) is as much about the crisp batter as the cherries so it could take a light sweet dessert wine such as a Monbazillac while a boozy dish of macerated cherries might well need something stronger - or given the booze is in the pud - arguably nothing at all!
With a black forest gateau or other dessert that combines chocolate and cherries try a sweet red wine such as a Recioto della Valpolicella, late harvest Tannat or late harvest Zinfandel. Alternatively you could opt for a cherry-flavoured liqueur such as cherry brandy which you could either serve in a pretty liqueur glass or as a frozen shot. (That’s also a good pairing for cherry ice-cream, cherry sundae or cherry trifle.)
Cherry-flavoured beers e.g. Kriek are also a great match with cherry desserts, as you can see from my recommendation with this chocolate roulade recipe from my book An Appetite for Ale. I also like their slight tartness with a cherry-topped cheesecake. They make delicious fruit jellies too - as in this recipe, again from the Appetite for Ale book.
And cherry pie? I’m never totally convinced about wine and pies especially if they’re served hot. It depends on the proportion of pastry to filling. If it’s more about the pie crust go for a standard sweet dessert wine as with clafoutis or a gently sparkling brachetto d’acqui. If there is more filling than pastry I’d be inclined to go for a sweet red again, maybe even a fruity young ruby port.
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