It’s no secret that some wines do not pair well with certain desserts. But, if you select the right combination, a good pairing will enhance the flavors in both the wine and the dessert. A rule of thumb when selecting a wine to pair with your dessert is to pair with similar flavors. Matching these flavors and notes is the key to taking your dessert game to a whole new level. When choosing the right wine for dessert, get creative. You don’t have to stick with just dessert wines. Varieties like Riesling, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Moscato, Cabernet, and Syrah are also great choices, as are many blends.

One thing to note, though, be mindful of the color of the wine versus your dessert. You can usually eliminate wines that are significantly lighter or darker than the dessert you’ve chosen. For example, if chocolate cake is on the menu you can rule out Riesling. On the flip side, if you’re serving a peach cobbler, any dark red wines like Merlot are a pass.

Now, look over the flavor notes in the wines you’re considering. If any of the flavors in the wine’s tasting notes match the flavors of your desserts, you’re on the right track. For example, tropical flavors, found in several white varieties, would pair well with a tropical desserts, like a Key Lime Pie or Sorbet. Whereas, flavors notes of coffee or chocolate (in most dark red wines) would pair well with dark chocolate desserts, such as Ellena's Chocolate Magma.

Keeping these tips in mind, you’ll end up with a delicious and innovative dessert and wine pairing every time. Whether you’re a cookie monster, chocolate lover, or just enjoy the occasional sugar indulgence, fear not. This guide has paired some favorites desserts with its most complimentary wine from your favorite local winery. Alright, bottoms up!

  • Brownies and Mike's Reserve Red
    • Red wine rocks chocolate! Nothing beats a gooey brownie hot out of the oven. Brownies meet their perfect match when paired with a dark red wine like our Mike's Reserve Red. You’ll know it when you taste it, but there is something irresistible about a chocolate-y vibe in a red wine. I recommend using a box of Chocolate Lava Cake or Brownie mix for a quick and easy but absolutely delicious dessert. For an added touch, as fresh fruit (like strawberries) and whip cream on top!
    • My pick: Latah Creek Mike's Reserve Red #2 $22
    • Flavor Notes: Fresh Strawberries, Red Grape, Chocolate
  • Lemon Cake and Riesling
    • Try out our Lemon Cake recipe. It’s super simple to make and pairs wonderfully with our Riesling. The sweet fruit flavors in our Riesling meet their match with the Lemon Cake--an all time favorite dessert in my house.
    • My pick: Latah Creek Riesling 2018 $12
    • Flavor Notes: Green apple, Pineapple, Citrus
  • Vanilla Cake and Orange Moscato
    • The sweetness and lightness of vanilla cake has a simplicity that pairs with our Orange Moscato. A full-of-flavor white wine with sweet honey and orange notes makes the perfect pairing. I’m a big fan of boxed cake mixes for the sheer ease, so grab a box of vanilla cake mix and a bottle of Orange Moscato and you’re set.
    • My pick: Latah Creek Orange Moscato 2019 $16
    • Tasting Notes: Orange Blossom, Spun Sugar, Honey
  • Berry Crisp and Huckleberry D’Latah
    • You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy a good crumble or crisp at the end of a meal. Pair a berry crisp with “Spokane’s #1 wine” and you’re in for an all-around crowd pleaser.
    • My pick: Latah Creek Huckleberry d’Latah 2018 $11
    • Tasting Notes: Blueberry, Huckleberry, Pear, Grape
  • Figs, Cheese, and Honey with Natalie’s Nectar
    • For those who prefer a more savory option for their final course, pair a strong cheese platter with figs and honey, then tie all the flavors together with the sweet and bold characters of Natalie’s Nectar. This red dessert wine is exceptional by itself, but paired with this dessert, you’re in for a rich indulgence. Also try sliced apples and pears, and pieces of dark chocolate!
    • My pick: Latah Creek Natalie’s Nectar 2016 $15
    • Tasting Notes: Berries, Plums, Pepper

I hope you give one of these and try! Let me know if you do!