November 13, 2020
There’s something about the holidays that lets us all feel like we can indulge. Sitting down with some Christmas cookies and a glass of wine is the ultimate Sunday afternoon treat. Ever wondered what you should pour alongside holiday baking favourites?
When it comes to pairing wines with baked goods, a lot depends on the level of sweetness within your chosen treat. A very sweet item will make wines taste more bitter and astringent as a rule, so the biggest thing to remember when pairing wine with baked goods is to match the intensity of flavour, and pair wines with similar flavours.
We’ve put together a list of some of the most decadent holiday favourites and had Co-op Wine Spirits Beer Sommelier Coordinator Kevin Schorath create these heavenly matches. Whether you prefer sipping wine, beer or spirits we’ve got your ideal match.
What to pair with Gingerbread
Gingerbread has a fairly pungent flavour profile, but there are wines that do have a gingerbread characteristic, and these include traditional method sparkling wines such as Champagne which can bring flavours of brioche and ginger to the wine.
What to pair with Sticky toffee pudding
A very decadent and sweet dessert, this calls for a full-on dessert wine, and given that tender, chewy dates, molasses and brown sugar are the main ingredients, you need a wine that has these flavours already.
“For this pairing I would go with a Tawny Port,” offers Schorath. “This style of fortified dessert wine is aged oxidatively, and a result of this process you’ll get dried red fruit character and burnt sugar or caramel flavours and aromas.”
His pairing picks include:
What to pair with Brownies
Rich and dense and deeply chocolatey, this treat needs a wine that can boast the same characteristics.
Recommends Schorath, “In this case you don’t necessarily need to go with a dessert wine. Something that is full-bodied, red, loaded with dense fruit character and has seen a good portion of oak aging would fit the bill beautifully.”
What to pair with Sugar cookies
A classic staple during the holidays, these delicious cookies tend to be fairly mellow when it comes to intensity of flavour, but you don’t have to fall into the trap of mis-pairing. Look for a wine that falls into the off-dry category. This way, the sweetness in the wine will balance the sweetness of the cookies.
What to pair with Banana bread
Whether you’re picking up a piece from your local coffee shop, or baking it for yourself, banana bread is always a fun pairing. Banana is a tropical fruit, and can be found as a flavour profile in fuller-bodied whites such as Chardonnay, Viognier or blends from the Southern Rhône Valley. This is a Saturday afternoon or evening pairing you need to try this holiday season.
What to pair with Fruitcake
A traditional moist cake with loads of dried fruits and spices, you’ll find a bold array of flavours in a fruitcake, so you’ll want a wine that will help you taste the layers.
“Try full-bodied blends, either Rioja reds at the Reserva or Gran Reserva level, or red blends based on Grenache such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape,” Schorath says.
What to pair with Pumpkin pie
The fall season and anything pumpkin go hand-in-hand. This awesome dessert is served from Thanksgiving all the way to Christmas. Pumpkin is sweet, savoury and a bit earthy so the best pairing for this is a dessert wine. In this case you can pair it with a medium-sweet Sherry, or a different type of oxidative dessert wine from the south of France.
Whichever sweet treat your sweet tooth demands, there’s an ideal pairing. Plan to linger over dinner or bundle up by the fire with a beautiful home baked treat and one of these seasonal sips. If you need other recommendations, don’t forget to ask your Co-op Wine Spirits Beer team for help.
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