The Absolute Best Wine To Pair With Fruitcake

When dessert rolls around during the holiday season, there's a high chance you'll find fruitcake on the table. The densely packed candied fruit and nut cake is common in December, which is a good or bad fact depending on your feelings regarding the controversial treat. Nevertheless, if you've been sipping on wine throughout the meal and want to finish with an optimal pairing, a few key pointers will keep you on track when selecting a bottle.

The trick to pairing wine with dessert is choosing something sweeter than the food, or else the wine will taste bitter in contrast. That being said, an element of acidity is required to avoid an overly sweet sensation. Thankfully, several well-balanced wines offer both of these characteristics. From sweet and fruity styles to match the candied bites to more complex nutty wines that bring out the spiced elements in the cake, there are various options to choose from.

What wines offer these qualities?

If you're not ready to dive deep into the dessert wine category, Moscato d'Asti is an excellent compromise. Aside from being lighter than some more luscious options, Moscato d'Asti is also low in alcohol, sitting at around 5% ABV. This is a welcome quality after a hefty meal where the wine flows freely. Soft, fruity, and perfumed aromas with notes of orange blossom, stonefruit, and honeysuckle bring this wine to life. The sweet taste is in harmony thanks to an element of acidity and light carbonation that acts as a palate cleanser. Serve it chilled for a seamless pairing with the candied fruit and nutty cake.

Sweet riesling is a great choice too, with its delicate notes of peach, citrus, apple, and white flowers, contrasted by a notable streak of acid. Rieslings with an alcohol content under 9% are perceptibly sweet, or check the label for keywords such as "feinherb," "sp├Ątlese," or "auslese" that indicate a higher degree of residual sugar.

If you're looking for something more dessert-oriented, pick up a bottle of Tawny Port. Aged in oak barrels, this fortified wine develops nutty, spiced, and caramel notes that make an excellent match for a slice of fruitcake. It also works well with cakes that are soaked in brandy and have a boozy undertone to them that might overwhelm a light and fruity wine. Keep in mind that Port has a higher alcohol content, so you'll want to serve it accordingly.