Top pairings | Wine pairings for pumpkin pie

Top pairings

Wine pairings for pumpkin pie

I have a bit of a problem with pumpkin pie. I'm not a big fan of pumpkin and I don't have a massively sweet tooth which makes the thought of partnering it with a sweet wine a bit of a killer. But I know I'm in a minority and with Thanksgiving coming up on Thursday here are my top picks:

Not all pumpkin pies are alike of course so I've taken two contrasting recipes from British cookery writers Delia Smith and Rowley Leigh - Delia in the Telegraph and Leigh in the FT. You can also find my own version here.

Delia’s is the darker spicier pie so I’d be thinking in terms of an Australian liqueur Muscat or a fortified wine such as an oloroso sherry, a sweet marsala or a 10 year old tawny port (the modern Otima would be a good choice which would also work particularly well with my nut-topped version).

Leigh's is a more classic, lighter recipe that I think would work better with a southern French Muscat such as a Muscat de Rivesaltes or a late harvest Riesling with its contrasting streak of acidity. Or, if you’re prepared to be unconventional, a Greek Muscat from the island of Samos would be delicious.

The only problem with all these suggestions is that they are adding sweetness to an already intensely sweet dessert, something that may well not bother you at holiday time but if it does why not also offer a good quality bourbon such as the festive Maker's Mark or a dark, demerara rum? They have a touch of sweetness too but that's offset by their alcoholic strength.

A final tip - don't be tempted to partner it with a pumpkin ale which will be overwhelmed by the sweetness of most pumpkin pies. If you want to drink beer you'd be better off with a barley wine like J W Lees Harvest ale.

Photo © Sandra Cunningham -

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