Pairing Wine With Crème Brûlée

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The crème Brûlée, classic and famous dessert, deserves a great wine pairing to elevate the dining experience to a new height. Wines which can add that extra elegance range from sweet white wines from Bordeaux, such as Sauternes or Barsac, to fortified wines such as Madeira or Port for the more adventurous. Light wines from the Muscat family or sweet Rieslings could enhance the properties of the dessert even further, thanks to their apricot and orange peel aromas. However, we shouldn’t be afraid of daring; light bodied reds with low tannins, such as old world Pinot Noirs, should also be considered. All these examples can create a harmony with the crème brûlée, achieving the perfect sweet finish for a nice dinner out or an at-home cooking night.  

When pairing wines with spoon desserts, it is common, and advised. to pair the sweetness of the desserts with the sweetness of the palate, to ensure the combination brings balance and sophistication to the mouth. The aim of the pairings is for the two to complement each other, ensuring that neither of the components overwhelms the other. Another interesting take could be to pair the crème brûlée with more aromatic varieties such as Gewurztraminer.

Wine Characteristics to Pair With Crème Brûlée

CharacteristicDetail
SweetnessSweet whites, dry reds
AcidityHigh
TanninsLow
BodyMedium body whites, light reds
Tasting NotesApricot, orange peel, blossom, honey, vanilla

The sweetness of the crème brûlée pairs perfectly with the sweetness in the wines. Other qualities could be investigated in order to bring this exquisite dessert to a whole new level. For instance, wines with high acidity tend to pair well with desserts like the crème brûlée because they tend to bring a lot of freshness to the mouth. This helps to avoid the feeling of the dessert being too rich or dense. Given that the burnt aspect of the crème brûlée brings a bit of a bitter taste to the treat, refreshing acidic wines can also help balance that out. Furthermore, certain aromas in the wine can hint to the aromas found in the decadent treat, for instance the ones from the custard base or the layer of burnt caramelised sugar on top. 

Best Red Wine To Drink With Crème Brûlée

Pairing red wine with a spoon dessert is not an easy matter as it is easy to go too far. For instance, a potential outcome could be creating a combination that is too bitter, which would be rather unpleasant to finish off a dinner with. 

That is not to say, however, that exceptions cannot be found! Try to pair the crème brulee with a light body Pinot Noir instead. Not only will the low tannins and high acidity balance out the fat from the custard base, but it will also make a combination to be desired by people who are not the greatest fans of very sweet things. The same principle can be applied for fortified wines like Port and Madeira, as the alcohol level can compensate for the richness of the famous “burnt cream”. 

Best White Wine To Drink With Crème Brûlée

Sauternes 

Sauternes, the classic white sweet wine from Bordeaux, France, is the most sought out pairing for crème brûlée, both historically and geographically. This wine has a very balanced acidity that complements the vanilla custard of the dessert very well, as mentioned previously, and its abundance of honeyed and tropical flavours create a great equilibrium with the hardened burnt sugar on top.  

Riesling 

Given that the crème brûlée is a very sweet and sumptuous dessert, pairing a wine with a naturally high acidity could help balance out the dense feeling and create an even mouth feel. Given that Riesling wines also have varying levels of sweetness, they give us an even greater advantage since each person can choose the one that would work best for their tastes. In addition, these wines have interesting hints of orange peel and blossom in their structures, qualities which combine well with the aromas emanating from the burnt sugar layer.  

Gewurztraminer 

This particular wine could create an explosive combination given that it has a particular spice quality. Considering that the crème brûlée’s main taste is vanilla, some people could consider it “bland”. In this case, pairing this dessert with a Gewürztraminer could introduce a playful touch. Similarly, the burnt sugar also adds some more complex tastes and aromas and these would be complemented well by the spice found in the wine. Finally, the dryness of the wine helps to balance out the sweetness of the crème brûlée. 

Muscat 

What sets this wine apart is Its apricot and almond flavours. These qualities work well with the vanilla custard creating a balanced experience for our noses, and mouths. It is important to note that it is slightly less sweet than the other wines and that it can be fizzy which will enhance the perception of the aromas. Therefore, this pairing could potentially be more targeted towards less indulgent crowds who still enjoy risky pairings. 

Best Wine To Drink With Crème Brûlée

  • Sauternes
  • Riesling
  • Moscato
  • Port

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