I love to dip my beak into ice cream and I can really wrap my feathers around a sweet Muscat and scoop of Toasted Almond. I’ve flown around to many of the wineries here that carry a good Muscat with Danza del Sol, South Coast and Bella Vista wineries coming immediately to my bird brain. Wilson Creek Winery has Angelica Cream Sherry and when poured over vanilla ice cream is heavenly. Crème brûlée or custards demand a wine that is mild, light and buttery such as white wines (late-harvest Rieslings), sparkling wines like demi-sec champagne and Asti Spumanti.
Gewürztraminer is a wine you should have on hand to pair with your fruit desserts. It has a firm acidity to balance the sugars in the fruit of the desserts. Van Roekel winery carries this light bodied, slightly sweet wine that is imperceptibly spicy with a hint of pear.
Danza del Sol also carries a Gewürztraminer that has a spicy grapefruit taste with hints of passion fruit and mango. Gewürztraminers can be either sweet or dry, so you can really decide for yourself howsweet you would like your wine. It is a delicious varietal and can have aromas of mango, passion fruit, lychee nuts, pear and nectarines. Other suggested pairings are Sauternes, pink champagne and ice wines. The Winery at Canyon Crest has an excellent Ice Wine and other fruit flavored wines. Ice Wines are generally made from Riesling, Vidal Blanc or Vignoles grapes harvested after the first winter frost. Silky and rich, ice wines are lusciously sweet and full of concentrated flavor. They usually pair well with desserts made with fruits such as nectarines, peaches or apples. A favorite at my cage is Brachetto D’Acqui by Banfi.
Effervescent and not too sweet with a wild berry flavor and fizzy tingle that really ruffles my feathers. This sparkling red from Italy is great with any berry dessert, from raspberry tart to a blackberry crumble to a handful of freshly picked wild strawberries. A rich Moscato d’Asti is a light sparkling white wine that is considered a dessert wine. Its sweetness accentuates the flavor of chocolate cheesecake with fruit accents such as strawberry or blueberry. A sparkling white wine will also work with cheesecake.
Ahhhh…chocolate! Parrots aren’t supposed to eat chocolate and it can be toxic to me, but I sneak small amounts whenever I can. Chocolate ANYTHING can be paired with a port from Longshadow, South Coast, Stuart’s and Faulkner Wineries. My first experience with chocolate and wine was at Wilson Creek when they poured their Decadencia Chocolate Port into a chocolate cup. Yum! Since I’m an exotic bird I tend towards things fruity. One of my favorite things to sneak is chocolate covered blueberries with a glass of Doffo port. Other possible chocolate or caramel dessert pairings are late-harvest zinfandels, Italian Grappa, French Banyuls or Australian Shiraz. Tokaji is a Hungarian wine and generally goes well with anything caramelized, such as a tarte Tatin, or desserts with dates, nuts or figs.
Bottom line: the wine should always be sweeter than the dessert otherwise the wine can taste dull and acidic. For good wine pairings, desserts should not be a pure sugar-fest. Serve ultra sweet desserts with coffee or tea.
And naturally when drinking a dessert wine you must wrap your talons around the stem of the appropriate glass, which will be a topic of discussion in a future article here.