Looking to spice up your holiday dessert and wine pairings? Check out these five mouthwatering duos that are easy enough to execute for a group but so good you'll find yourself enjoying them again long after your guests have gone home.
Chateau de Fargues 2005 with Butter Tarts
Classic Canadian butter tarts are a well-balanced marriage between ooey-gooey raisin-studded filling and a flaky, butter-infused crust. The liberal use of maple syrup (of course), brown sugar, and vanilla creates a dessert that calls out for a wine pairing that's equally rich and just the right amount of sweet.
Chateau de Fargues has the vanilla and sweetness you're looking for, plus subtle oak notes and a floral delicacy that will complement your butter tarts without overwhelming or succumbing to the delicious dessert.
Serve this duo after dinner for an easy but very memorable end to your meal.
Alvear PX Anada Sherry with Fruit Cake
Fruit cake has an awful reputation for being stodgy at best and completely inedible at worst. But like any baked good, fruit cake is a reflection of the cook — use a light hand and the right recipe (see below) and you'll be surprised how tasty this tart-meets-sweet treat can actually be.
The fact that the berries and stone fruit for this loaf-style cake are soaked in dark rum means you're looking for a rounder wine or liquor with some complexity and acid.
Alvear Pedro Ximénez de Añada sherry is a sweet wine made from sun-dried grapes vinified in clay vats. Toffee and caramel notes? Check. Citrus? Check. Tart apples? Check. It's just what you want to enjoy with a slice of freshly baked fruit cake.
Eau Clair Christmas Gin with Peppermint Candy Canes
You can't get much more seasonal than infusing your liquor with frankincense and myrrh, and that's just what's happened with Eau Clair Christmas Gin. There's even a sprinkle of real 24k gold flakes for a snow globe-like effect that feels downright magical.
Sip your Christmas gin with a candy cane on the side and experience the fascinating combination of zesty mint, earthy pine, cooling licorice, and sticky balsamic.
Freemark Abbey Chardonnay with Shortbread or Gingerbread
Freemark Abbey's 2019 Chardonnay was an instant classic thanks to a complex swirl of Fuji apples, butterscotch, and lemon curd undercut by the aromas of baking spices and vanilla. A slash of acid keeps things bright and makes this wine a lovely foil for a tray of shortbread biscuits or even gingerbread.
In fact, try serving the wine with both cookies and encourage guests to see how the pairing changes with each bite. With gingerbread, you may feel the sharp bite of ginger softened by butter and oak while the shortbread gets a flash of vibrancy thanks to the wine's citrus and tart apple.
Chocolate Stout with Nanaimo Bars
Named after their birthplace in British Columbia, Nanaimo Bars are an irresistibly good treat that takes everything good about holiday baking — graham cracker crumbs, coconut, walnuts, chocolate, butter — and transforms them into a layered sweet worthy of becoming a yearly tradition.
Pair this bake sale favorite with a cold pint of your favorite chocolate stout. It's a surprise combination that works so well you'll find yourself returning to it time and time again.
For more pairing ideas, check out the home page of the Willow Park blog.