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Dessert is the easier decision: Yes, please. It’s what to drink with it that stumps. Layers of flavor, texture, and sweetness complicate the selection of a dessert wine. “Dessert wines should be equally as sweet as dessert, if not more,” says Alpana Singh, master sommelier and owner of the new wine-centric Boarding House restaurant in Chicago. As shorthand, she suggests, “Use the color of the dessert as a guide,” pairing light dishes with light wines and darker desserts with deeper quaffs, as below.


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DESSERT
Creme brulee         

DRINK 
Kracher Cuvee Beerenauslese from Austria, or a late-harvest chardonnay

WHY IT WORKS
“Here, I’m looking for luscious texture to match the richness of the custard. Chardonnay takes the oak that matches the vanilla notes of this classic dessert.”
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DESSERT
Lemon
cheesecake 


DRINK
A late-harvest  semillon

WHY IT WORKS
“The bubbles cut through the richness of the cheese while the honeyed notes lift the tangy lemon flavors.”
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DESSERT
Fruit sorbet 

DRINK
Moscato d’Asti

WHY IT WORKS
“The bubbles cut into the iciness of the sorbet. The apricot, green
apple, and peach notes will complement a wide variety of sorbet flavors.”
 
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DESSERT
Butterscotch pudding

DRINK
A late-harvest 
chenin blanc 
with a bit of age

WHY IT WORKS
“The toffee notes in butterscotch pudding call for a wine with a slight nutty quality to it that comes with age.” 


 
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DESSERT
Carrot cake

DRINK
Sticky dessert wines from Australia, especially tokay   or muscat

WHY IT WORKS
“The toffee, caramel, orange rind, and spice notes mirror the flavors of the carrot cake.”

 
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DESSERT
Chocolate cake

DRINK
Brachetto d’Acqui

WHY IT WORKS
“Brachetto comes from the same region as moscato but is a red grape. The flavors of raspberries and strawberries with a touch of sweetness pair really well with chocolate.”