Three Fun Facts to Pair Dessert and Wine

Wine Pairing Guide

Wine Pairing Guide

Contributed by Bryan Vu – Pairing wine with dessert isn’t always easy, and often the task can seem daunting. However Shari’s Berries has put together a handy little guide to make pairing desserts with wines a little bit easier. The task of choosing a matching wine for dessert can be daunting for a person if they don’t really know where to start. The chart helps to demystify the process:

3 Important Fact When Pairing Dessert and Wine

How did these pairings come about? The key to a great pairing is not necessarily how similar the two flavors are, but how well they play together. There are 3 important factors into consideration:

1) Sweetness, 2) acidity, and 3) flavor.

For example, while a sweet red with hints of berries might taste great with a milk chocolate dessert, a better match for a dry red would be with the more bitter dark chocolate, so the berry and chocolate flavors are allowed to mingle without the overpowering sweetness of milk chocolate. Or try a crisp, acidic white with some oak to pair with a cream based treat to let the vanilla and oak flavors come together, while the crispness of the wine cleanses the palette for your next bite.

Of course, many of these pairings can be swapped, as long you keep the 3 factors in mind. If you happen to have a Pinot Noir with a bit of oak, it might also work wonderfully with peaches and cream. Or perhaps a fruitier Chardonnay with Raspberry Tart. Every set of taste buds is different, and this guide is by no means set in stone, but we hope it will help you find better pairings and have great tasting meals!

The Joys of Dessert Wine – 3 Great Choices for Under $20

Dessert Wines for the HolidaysContributed by Nicole Nowlen – There is a scene that appears frequently in movies, books, or even just the homes of wine connoisseurs we know and love. You can picture it, the imbiber curled up in a chair with a blanket and a pleasant book, perhaps even the ubiquitous cat purring on their lap. Upon their nose is perched a pair of reading glasses, brought out only for these moments of quiet consumption of literature. Perched on the table next to them is a somewhat diminutive wine-glass filled with a rich, almost viscous liquid.   At moments spaced by the beat of interest the reader has in the book, it rises to their lips, and a slow luxurious consumption takes place. Just a sip, followed by a moment of pure relish before they set the glass back upon the counter and return to their reading.

What is this mysterious substance that our reader consumes with such reverence? Why is it only something brought out for truly special occasions, such as a quiet evening with a book? (If this doesn’t strike you as a special occasion, you underestimate the gravity and pleasure of a good book.) More often than not, what you are viewing is a moment’s luxurious passion shared with a rich, sweet, flavorful dessert wines. They hold a special place in the heart of a wine lover, as often shared as part of an intimate conversation between friends after a fine meal, as in private moments like those above. Despite their association with luxury, they don’t have to be expensive, and I’d like to provide you with a small sampling of which dessert wines will fit your palette and your budget for under $20.

W & J Graham’s Fine Ruby Port 

Graham's Port

Graham’s Port

Red Ports are known for being rich flavorful blends that are full of subtle undertones of luxury and hedonism.   One of the most unusual aspects of a port is that the winemakers themselves may remain blissfully unaware of what’s actually growing in their vineyards. This doesn’t mean the flavor isn’t consistent, but more that the particularly subtle nuances of what the grape is and what its heritage is have been lost to the mists of time. What you can be certain of is that this vintage will bring a fine dance to the table, a mixture of bold strokes of flavor spun off with elegant refinery in its finish. The one thing that stands true about a Port in all cases, as a dessert wine it won’t lead you astray.

2008 Quady Winery Elysium Black Muscat Dessert Wine

This wine is made from an exotic little grape known as the Muscat Hamburg, this grape has a dark black color to its skin that doesn’t bring its powerful color to the wine. Instead dusting the result with a blush or rose colored tint that is pleasing to the eye. These grapes are primarily grown in the California wine region, and are thus part of the ever increasingly popular vintages that come from that region. The delightful spread of flavors that appears in this bottle is not to be underestimated, you will find it packed with boysenberry, buttery apricot, while travelling through your palette with hints of herbs and spices, and ending on a delightful almond crème brulee note.

Bonny Doon Framboise Raspberry Eau de Vie

By far the priciest of the wines on this list, it comes with an experience that is worth every penny of its nearly $20 price tag.The name Eau-de-Vie means “Water of Life” in French, and is the designation for a variety of fruit-based distilled wines. While Bonny Doon may use a French blend of grapes for its wines, it called California home. The brusque flavor of this wine will flow across your palette in a veritable delight of raspberry essence swirled with a dusting of chocolate flavor. All in all it may very well be the perfect dessert wine.

Ending the Evening With a Lovely Glass of Dessert Wine

To the true connoisseur there is little as pleasant as a small glass of dessert wine to end the night. Something about its flavor just rounds out the day and leaves you relaxed and ready to doze off into a pleasantly contented sleep. For those with a flair for the dramatic, you could always have your own labels printed to express your personality both in your choice of drink, and how you present it and add your own bit of charm to an already lovely wine!

About the Author: Nicole Nowlen is a full-time businesswoman and DIY enthusiast.
Living in old London town, but with a burning desire to go everywhere and see everything!
She can be contacted at or Twitter @nicolenowlen87


Positive News on the Health Benefits of Wine

Sparkling Wine & Salad

Sparkling Wine & Salad

Contributed by Jenna Phelps – Although Millennials rarely drink wine for its health benefits, it’s reassuring to know that drinking wine in moderation promotes physical and mental wellness. Indeed, an article recently published in the scientific journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings highlights that a daily drink of alcohol for men and women, ideally red wine, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. This is good news, as cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the US. However, the researchers point out that this moderate dosage is the key to good health, as excessive intakes of alcohol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and other dangers to health. So how does a modest amount of wine protect your heart and what other benefits can you gain by drinking within suggested limits?

Protecting your heart

According to Florida International University, drinking is beneficial to heart health in three ways. Firstly, red wine is rich in a protective substance called resveratrol, which increases levels of HDL cholesterol, the type of cholesterol that protects your arteries by removing fatty deposits. Not only that, but resveratrol increases the size of HDL particles, which confers even greater benefits to heart health. Finally, resveratrol and other components in red wine act as antioxidants, which preserve the health of your arteries, preventing narrowing. The alcohol content of red wine may actually increase antioxidant activity, so although companies such as the Health Food Post advises on the benefits of resveratrol supplements, taking this nutrient as a tablet may limit the benefits it offers. Although white wine has a lower antioxidant content, all alcohol raises HDL levels, so if you prefer a glass of white wine, it may still protect your heart.

Additional research suggests that resveratrol may promote a healthy circulation in other ways too. For instance, the Linus Pauling Institute explains that resveratrol reduces inflammation, which otherwise may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic health problems such as type 2 diabetes and dementia. This protective nutrient additionally reduces the chance of a blood clot forming, promoting healthy blood flow through your arteries, reducing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. Resveratrol also boosts nitric oxide production, needed to relax your blood vessels, helping to lower blood pressure. As KwikMed advises that raised blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, additional measures that lower blood pressure are welcome. However, high intakes of alcohol raise blood pressure, so it’s important to keep to just a glass or two of wine at a serving.

Reducing your risk of diabetes

An increasing number of us in America have type 2 diabetes, which is a major cause of ill-health and early death. However, the condition is preventable through a healthy lifestyle, and moderate red wine consumption may additionally play a role in preventing this form of diabetes. Research from The Journal of Nutrition informs us that a high dietary intake of flavones and anthocyanins, two antioxidants found in red wine, reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar control, which may protect us from diabetes. Looking at anti-inflammatory diets that are rich in nutrient-dense foods, such as that recommended by Dr Weil, you see that they include red wine, so wine fits in well with a health-promoting diet.

Improving your mood

As one in ten of us now suffer from depression to one degree or another, there is a lot of interest in natural ways to boost our mood. A diet rich in oily fish, whole grains, fruit and vegetables, coupled with regular exercise can have a positive impact on wellbeing, and a glass of wine is possibly another useful addition. The University of Utah reports on a study that showed a daily drink of wine is linked to a reduced risk of depression. While this may be down to the impact that protective components of wine have on brain function, drinking socially may also explain the results, as social interaction is well-known to lift your spirits. As with other areas of health though, it’s essential to keep within sensible limits, as drinking heavily can worsen mood and have a negative effect on other aspects of mental health. Drinking moderately offers a range of health benefits, so you can remember this as you enjoy a glass of red.