Each month members of the Court of Master Sommeliers, an international association of wine experts, suggest pairings for popular menu items. Here they offer both premium and bargain suggestions to enjoy with desserts. The sommeliers do not have a financial interest in any of their recommendations.
Brett Zimmerman, owner, Boulder Wine Merchant, Boulder, Colo.
Bargain wine: 2010 Cà del Re Moscato d'Asti, Piedmont, Italy
Grape variety: Moscato
Taste profile: A delicate mousse of pure white peaches, apricot, tangerine and orange cream. Fresh orange blossom, field flowers and apple nectar. The texture is smooth, and creamy, yet lively and fresh on the palate. A soft minerality accents the delicious, refreshing finish.
Pairings: Perfect for slightly sweet desserts involving pears, peaches, and apples. Can also work well with desserts that have some sort of salty, savory component or with salty-sweet dishes like prosciutto and melon.
Average wholesale case price: $155
Premium wine: NV Bodegas Cesar Florido Moscatel Pasas, Spain
Grape variety: Moscatel
Taste profile: This sherry is loaded with ripe yellow apples, golden raisin, dried peach and apricot, plus there is a tone of raw honey and fresh white flowers. The texture is silky, sweet, yet vibrant and powerful with a super long finish of dried fruits and flowers.
Pairings: This wine is stunning with creamy, clean cheeses. It is also delicious with fruits including apples, quince, pear, and Sultana raisins. Cinnamon, clove, or nutmeg would highlight the aromas and add layers to the palate complexity. Try it with brioche bread pudding with any of those spices and golden raisins.
Average wholesale case price: $165
Melissa Monosoff, sommelier and beverage manager, Savona Restaurant, Gulph Mills, Pa.
Beer: Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic, Belgium
Taste profile: This sweet raspberry flavored beer has a perfume of fresh raspberries with hints of fresh herbs and lemon.
Pairings: Anything chocolate. Also wonderful with red fruit pies and tarts. An ideal pairing would be molten chocolate cake with raspberry sauce.
Average wholesale case price (24 bottles): $120
Premium wine: NV Blandy’s “Alvada 5 year old” Madeira, Portugal
Grape varieties: 50 percent Malmsey and 50 percent Bual
Taste profile: An intensely flavored fortified wine with flavors of roasted hazelnuts, roasted coffee, dried plums and chocolate coupled with a bracing trademark streak of refreshing acidity.
Pairings: Cheeses as diverse as sharp Cheddars and Stilton. On the sweeter side it’s wonderful with caramel, toasted nut and chocolate. Try it with a dark chocolate hazelnut caramel crunch torte.
Average wholesale case price: $242
Steven Geddes,and master sommelier, Local 127, Cincinnati
Bargain wine: 2010 Loosen Bros. Dr. L, Mosel, Germany
Grape variety: Riesling
Taste profile: Classic Mosel Riesling with racy acidity and a good sugar balance. Fruit notes of green apple, apricot and peach with hints of slate and other minerals.
Pairings: This wine is not overly sweet so it pairs well with less sweet desserts. Baked apples, salted nut tart or buttermilk panna cotta come to mind, or vanilla bean and buttermilk panna cotta with green apple juice.
Average wholesale case price: $96
Premium wine: 2010 Moscato d’Asti, Vietti, Piedmont, Italy
Grape variety: Moscato
Taste profile: Deliciously sweet and lightly sparkling, this wine has exuberant flavors of fresh spring pear blossoms, peaches and nectarines.
Pairings: This wine accentuates vanilla and the freshness of stone fruits in desserts. It also can work well as an aperitif with raw fish and sweeter elements in traditionally savory dishes.
Average wholesale case price: $192
Learn more: Meet the Master Sommeliers. Check out bios and photos.