Riesling & Dessert: A Radiant Pairing

Riesling to many out there is known to be a sweet German wine that is hit or miss with some palates. I say this after working in the industry for many years now, where every time I mention a Riesling, I get the scrunched nose faces, or the comments like, “no, I don’t drink sweet wines”.

IMG_7830Riesling is one of the most under appreciated grape varietals. Like many grapes, it is influenced heavily by terroir (the land), the weather, and its ripening period. Riesling can be dry, medium dry, sweet, and also made into a dessert wine. You will also find Riesling made into many ice wines, where the grape is left to freeze on the vine, producing some incredible after dinner wines. 

German Rieslings will always hold a special place in my heart, as thats where my wine career began. However, as I have tasted more and more rieslings from other parts of the world throughout the years, another region particularly struck me recently. Washington State, known for producing some outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot also does produce some great rieslings.

Pacific Rim and Sara Lee recently partnered to showcase the versatility of dessert pairings with both sweet and dry rieslings. Pacific Rim, in the Columbia Valley of Washington produces rieslings that will please any palate preference.

IMG_7825I paired the Riesling (Medium Dry) with Sara Lee Original Pound Cake. To make this pairing extra special, I tasted the wine first, analyzed what flavors and textures would pair with a heavy pound cake, and the very “pretty” wine. Here’s what paired: Dark Chocolate Truffle Mousse layered between Sara Lee Poundcake with Hibiscus Crystals and a Dragon Fruit Sauce. 

This pairing was delicious, and while the wine still has some sweeter notes, it did not overpower the dessert. Dragon Fruit is pretty mild, but has wonderful benefits, so choosing this as a sauce was fun and texturally different, especially with the hibiscus crystals.

Riesling really is one of the most misunderstood and under appreciated grape varietals out there. I suggest trying the Dry Riesling, Riesling, and Sweet Riesling together one night, and let your palate explore all the wonderful pairing possibilities.

Always remember: eat what you like, and drink what you love! 

About Sara Lehman

Sommelier, Private Chef, & Food and Wine Pairing Expert in NYC! Sara is a Wine Writer, Wine Ambassador, and Wine Consultant specializing in pairings, parties, entertaining and education.

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