Tiramisu is a popular Italian dessert that most people cannot resist – it has coffee soaked lady finger cookies layered with mascarpone cheese topped with a dusting of cocoa and whipped cream. A general rule when it comes to wine pairings with desserts is to choose one that is sweeter than it. This is a great choice for dessert when it comes to wine because the cocoa and coffee pairs beautifully with red wine, while the mascarpone cheese and whipped cream goes best with white wine. Thus, either one will pair equally well.
Wine Characteristics To Pair With Tiramisu
|Medium Sweet-Lusciously Sweet
|Medium to Full
|Red and Black Berries, Cocoa, Mocha, Citrus, Orchard Fruits, Tropical Fruit, Lychee, Rose, Ginger, Baking Spices
Best Red Wine To Pair With Tiramisu
When it comes to sweet red wines, there are many options! Sweet red wines that are both low and high in alcohol would both work as lower alcohol choices will go down faster and easier, while the higher alcoholic ones are meant more for sipping and enjoying. Choose one with at least a medium acid level, as anything over medium will pair nicely with it.
Ruby Port is a fortified wine from Portugal that is higher in alcohol with fresh red fruit character. Other types of Port would work well, but the Ruby style is more easy drinking with relatively lighter tannin levels. Fruit and chocolate go very well together (think chocolate covered strawberries), and fruit and cream really go well together (think strawberries and cream), so there is no question as to why this would pair seamlessly with tiramisu on all levels.
Tawny Port is similar to Ruby Port in that it is fortified and made of the same grape varietals, however it has a very different flavour profile. Tawny Port has notes of caramel, toffee, walnuts, honey, raisins and baking spices. Although these are not the flavours found in tiramisu, these notes from the wine add complexity overall to the pairing and complement the coffee and chocolate flavours well, like a chocolate bar with nuts, honey nougat or caramel.
Vin Doux Naturels Rouge
This red wine is made from Grenache Noir in regions in the South of France, such as Banyuls and Rasteau. These wines are different from Port in that they are fortified but in a different method. Alcohol of 95% is added to currently fermenting grape must, thereby killing the yeast and preserving the natural sweetness of the juice. These wines have flavours of cranberry, red cherry, sometimes strawberry, Some will have baking spice notes if they are aged in oak, and if they are of an older vintage they will have walnut or prune like character. All these notes will complement the tiramisu dish well with its chocolate and coffee flavours, and also will go well with the cream components. If you are looking for a sweet wine with less alcohol than Port, choose this.
Recioto della Valpolicella
This is a sweeter red wine that is made in the Veneto region Northern Eastern Italy that is not fortified at all, rather is made from grapes that have been left on the vine to shrivel up and raisin. This creates intensely sweet and pronounced red wines made predominantly from Corvina. The sweet and strong red fruit characteristics will go well with the cream, coffee and chocolate notes of the tiramisu. The delicious creaminess of the dessert counters the tannin in the wine by smoothing them out just enough, but yet they are noticeable enough to provide an extra layer of texture.
This relatively rare wine is a treat when you can find it. These wines have notable red currant, fresh raspberry, and when oaked – cocoa and baking spices. For the same reasons why Ruby Port works well with tiramisu, Muscat Noir would work equally well. Choose this one over Ruby Port if you are looking for something of lower alcohol or intensity.
Best White Wines to Pair with Tiramisu
White wines are a delicious pair with tiramisu as the cream and mascarpone cheese pairs superbly with citrus, pear, honey, ginger, or toffee notes that many of the wines described below will offer. Many different fruit flavour profiles will team nicely together, as well as various alcohol levels as they can be sipping wines or moreso wines that are “easy drinking”. Here are some great considerations:
When one thinks of Port, rarely do they think of the white kind! Their sweetness levels can range to dry to sweet, so be sure to choose a sweeter version to pair with your tiramisu. White Ports have citrus, yellow apple, honey, ginger, and vanilla notes that all would pair deliciously with tiramisu. The fruity notes would team up well with the creamy layers, while the sweet and spicy notes complement the coffee and cocoa dusting. You can enjoy this straight, or you can enjoy a cocktail such as White Port and Tonic to enjoy with your tiramisu.
This is an interesting wine that used to be popular decades ago, but deserves a comeback. This wine is made from white grapes but has a darker color since it has been exposed to purposeful oxidation. These wines are higher in acid, thus would pair well with a sweet dish. Many Oloroso sherries are dry, but some are sweet (which is what we are after in this case). With notes of almonds, walnuts, caramel, raisins, citrus and cherries, these flavours will highlight the contrasting flavours of the dessert and bring out the best of both worlds. Not to mention, this will add complexity to the pairing, thus elevating your dining experience further.
This truly exceptional wine is typically brought out at the end of a special meal as it is on the pricier side. This is a wine that is prized for its high acidity, thus will be a great pairing with dessert. This high acidity helps balance out the sweetness, making it a pleasure to serve and enjoy. Notes of honey, apricot, marmalade, caramel, mango, and ginger definitely offers the complexity that is loved in wines, and also adds to the cream, cocoa, and coffee in the tiramisu creating an explosion of different flavours!
Vin Doux Naturel Blanc
This wine was mentioned above in the Rouge form. There is a fortified white wine in this style also made in Southern France, using the Muscat grape. These wines are more for sipping with your dessert since they are more alcoholic than non-fortified wines. This wine is perfumed with pear, rose, lychee, elderflower and honeysuckle will make the coffee, cream, and chocolate notes stand out. This perfect harmony of flavours will certainly be memorable with your guests!
If you are looking for a wine similar to Vin Doux Naturel Blanc, but would like a lighter version or unfortified, give this one a try. It has similar tasting notes, but there is an extra textural element of bubbles that is also very pleasing. The sparkling effect of this wine will lighten the richness of the cream and mascarpone cheese in tiramisu. Additionally, it will still have the sweet floral and citrus notes that will create the same balance and range of flavours. These are made around the world, ranging from France to Italy to Australia, making them easy to find in your local wine store!