In case you need some last minute wine pairing suggestions for your Christmas desserts this weekend, I talked with my friend Brion of Certified Wino to get the scoop about what you should buy to make the perfect pairings. If you are local to Charlotte, visit him at Assorted Table Wine Shop to find these gems.
Here are Brion’s tasting notes:
Wine and dessert pairings
Tasting notes: When it comes to this nutty dessert, a pairing featuring a Sauternes would be ideal. This dessert wine is made predominantly of botrytis affected (scientific way of saying the grape was allowed to purposely rot) Semillon, and small percentages of Sauvignon Blanc & Muscadelle. A quality Sauternes has a balance of acidity & sweetness thanks to the blend of grapes in the wine. Notes of dried tropical fruits & warm spices are met with a focused sweetness and lifted acidity on the palate. This wine will bring out more of the roasted character of the pecans while cutting through some of the richness of the creamy custard.
Wine pairing: I suggest purchasing the Emotions de la Tour Blanche Sauternes $21.99 for this pairing.
Tasting notes: The perfect dessert to turn into a craft with friends or with your children at the holiday time...or really go wild by sipping some bubbles with it! Sugar cookies are overtly sweet, and one should expect nothing less when munching on these bad boys. We often see these cookies dressed up with fresh berries & cream (when not being decorated with frosting, obviously!), and you can mimic that flavor using a fizzy Moscato. This effervescent white wine is loaded with aromatics of white flowers, fresh peaches & candied sage. It's an inexpensive bubbly to satisfy those sweet wine drinkers but also provide something whimsically fun for all palates.
Wine pairing: I suggest the Villa M Bianco $18.99 to mimic a fruit compote on the palate when paired with Sugar Cookies.
Tasting notes: Now I have a selection for all my red wine drinkers out there! Sometimes a dry red wine can be an effective partner to dessert courses, more specifically with desserts involving chocolate as a main component. My favorite Yule Logs have been loaded with hazelnut cream & chocolate cake has been the base of the log. A full-bodied Zinfandel or even a fruit forward Zinfandel based red blend from California is going to play very well with this dessert. Zinfandel from warmer climates tend to hold a blueberry compote & mocha component to them that can trick the palate into detecting sweetness.
Wine pairing: I'd say the Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel $22.99 or Slam Dunk Red Blend $17.99 would be the most ideal for this pairing. BUT I have to also throw in the Villa M Rosso $18.99 as another viable yet bubbly option, especially for my vegan drinkers!
Fruit Cake / Panettone
Tasting notes: You either love Fruit Cake or you really, really hate it. I'm somewhere in between because as long as there is something delicious and sparkling to drink with it, I'm usually all game! Panettone can be quite sweet and the fruit baked into the aged bread adds another layer of sweetness that can make wine pairings challenging. Sparkling wines with sweet brioche bread tones or even a touch of residual sugar would be all kinds of delicious with a Panettone. The bubbly, acid forward character of the wine will cut through the sweetness without overwhelming it.
Wine pairing: An Anna Codorniu Brut Cava $15.99 or Chateau Moncontour Vouvray Sec $21.99 would be the bottles I'd grab to wed with a fruit cake this holiday season. Though, I've had a revelatory pairing at an industry wine dinner once that paired fruit cake with Port (if you go this route, Kopke Colheita's 2004 Port for $25.99 would be a safe bet).
Local to Charlotte and need to snag a bottle?! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or text 252-202-6265 to place orders for any of the bottles mentioned above as suggested pairings. Brion will place orders through partner retailer Assorted Table Wine Shop and send over an invoice to process payment. Pick-up times will reflect the hours of operation for Assorted Table Wine Shop and be subject to any adjustments to their hours based on the holiday season. Brion will be available for any further questions via the contact avenues above!
Brion is such a kind person and so knowledgeable about wine. I met him during my hostess side gig in 2019 at a wine bar in Charlotte. Brion was a Sommelier minor from Johnson and Wales before going on to hold a Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 certification. He is currently studying for his Certified Specialist of Wine certification from the Wine Society & Education Trust.
Brion has ambitiously sought to leave his mark on the hospitality industry. He's ventured from boutique hotel management to helping open local restaurant concepts in the Charlotte market, and even F&B consultations. Brion seeks to demystify wine and connect people with the talented professionals of the hospitality field through his brand, "The Certified Wino," all while geeking out over the vino in his glass that week.
Through his brand, Brion offers wine education seminars, private party tastings (which I hired him for to celebrate the launch of my new website this fall), and a Vintage & Vinyl experience where he pairs wine with songs (and can even do this virtual). Check him out on everything from his website to Instagram!