A Sommelier's Tip For Pairing Wine With Your Pumpkin Desserts This Fall

Various pumpkin desserts and a glass of red wine
Various pumpkin desserts and a glass of red wine

With autumn upon us, many wine drinkers find themselves in a bit of a conundrum when confronted with a parade of pumpkin-packed desserts. These sweet, earthy treats often come equipped with warm spices, custard fillings, and rich, creamy toppings. There's a lot going on -- so, how exactly should you go about pairing a proper glass of vino with these complex pumpkin pastries? For some guidance, we talked to Catherine Fallis, Master Sommelier at Bright Cellars.

Fallis kicked off her advice with some words of wisdom on the sugar levels of your wine. "Wines should be slightly sweeter than the sweet dish they are served with," she says. Immediately, this should put the wine buyer in the realm of dessert wines, which includes such hits as Madeira, Asti, and Sauternes. Feel free to choose from all three fields of sweet wine -- sparkling, red, and white -- as well. Let's further break down which specific wines would complement the sweet side of fall's favorite squash.

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Select A Wine Sweet That's Enough To Hold Its Own

A pumpkin pie and a bottle of wine
A pumpkin pie and a bottle of wine - Dasha_Romanova/Shutterstock

Choosing a dessert wine can be daunting. To narrow down the field a bit, consider what spices or seasonings are present in the pumpkin dish. If there's a hearty presence of ginger and classic pumpkin pie spices, try a sweet and spicy white Sauternes. For the dessert imbued with brown sugar, think of trying a fortified Madeira, a sweet red wine that has similar notes of caramel and coffee that will perfectly complement a pumpkin pie.

Another spice-forward sweet wine is gewürztraminer, a white Alsace varietal that pairs particularly well with food laced with cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. If you'd rather single out the mild, earthy flavor of the pumpkin, look to a riesling, which has an acidity and floral taste that can cut through the pumpkin richness. Tawny port is another nice choice since its intense sweetness can enhance the underlying natural sugars of the pumpkin.

And don't be afraid to think outside the box, like Catherine Fallis. "In this case, I recommend something fun and unexpected like our sweet sparkling red Non-Vintage Aromica Private Reserve Red [from] Columbia Valley Washington," she says. Whatever you select, just make sure it's a sweet wine that you would enjoy all on its own. But know that it will taste all the better with a helping of pumpkin cheesecake.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.