Panettone pairing: Thoughts on wine pairings for dessert.

best panettone recipe

When it comes to pairing with dessert, it’s okay not to follow the rules.

In today’s world of heightened awareness of wine and robust wine education, many wine lovers are reading more and more about what makes for an appropriate pairing for their favorite bottles.

And when it comes to canonical wine pairings, nearly every wine educator and wine expert will tell you the very same thing: Technically, you can’t pair any wine with dessert or sweets because the sugar and sweetness in the dish or candies will overwhelm the balance of sweetness and other flavors in the wine.

It’s important to remember that all wine, no matter how sweet or dry, has some sugar in it. In the case of still wines, there is residual sugar from the grapes themselves. A typical dry red wine might have two grams of sugar per liter of wine. And in the case of sparkling wine, even the driest of sparkling wines has some residual sugar in it, whether from the fruit or from the topping off of the wine at bottling. Even a wine labeled as “Brut Nature” or “Pas Dosé” or “Dosaggio Zero” can have up to three grams of sugar per liter of wine.

So where does that leave us during the holidays when we tend to serve a lot of dessert and we tend to serve sweet dishes, like cakes and candies, even outside of mealtime?

As much as we respect the countless wine writers out there who point out that you can’t serve sweet dishes with wine, we respectfully encourage you to take their “rules” more as “rules of thumb” or “guidelines” than as rigorous and rigid regulations!

There’s a lot to be said for (and a lot of people who like) pairing slightly sweet wines with sweet dishes. Think of our Extra Dry Prosecco with panettone for example: What a great pairing! (Extra Dry actually means slight sweet or “off dry” in the parlance of sparkling wine.)

The bottom line is that, as the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

If you enjoy sweet wines like Extra Dry Prosecco with your Christmas cakes, don’t hesitate to go for it. It’s great to look to the experts for guidance. But do what works for you and your guests.

Image via Wikipedia (Creative Commons).

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