Five Desserts That Go with Red Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon Edition
Imagine you have some incredible cabernet sauvignons that you really want to show off at a dinner party, from appetizer to the grand finale. The last course approaches and expectations run high to present a dessert that goes with red wine. Is your plan up to the task of building a bridge to dry cabernet? In wine country, “Cabernet and Chocolate” tastings are common, but let’s face it — cabernet sauvignon and chocoholics should stop meeting like this. Dark, bittersweet chocolate has a palate-coating texture, intensity of flavor and some bitterness. But cabernet’s firm tannins and bitter, astringent character clash with dark chocolate, so neither one can really win this bout. (More elegant cabernets like Jordan fair better with chocolate, but recipe tweaks are needed for the best pairing.) So, step away from the chocolate–unless you’re serving our go-to chocolate red wine cake recipe. We’ve created four, cab-perfect dinner finales, four sweet and one savory, that build a symbiotic relationship between dry red wine and dessert. The two cookie recipes are sure to be a hit at holiday parties where the wine is flowing. Enjoy!
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
This classic Christmas cookie–typically covered in a snow-like dusting of white powdered sugar–can sing with Alexander Valley Cabernet with a few minor modifications to any recipe. Our favorite is the Cook’s Illustrated version, but if you don’t have a membership, Gimme Some Oven also has a great crinkle cookie recipe. Substitute black cocoa flour by King Arthur for all-purpose and use dehydrated raspberries instead of powdered sugar for the topping. The darker the cocoa and the lower the sugar level in the cookie, the better the red wine pairing.
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Raspberry French Macarons
This easy macaron recipe is featured often at Jordan culinary events. In this step-by-step video for how to make macarons, you’ll find tips and techniques for baking the perfect French macaron cookies with different flavors and a basic macaron filling recipe. To transform this recipe into a dessert that goes with red wine, specifically the 2014 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, switch out the buttercream with raspberry jam. It really makes the fruit in the wine shine. And if you’re looking to be even more creative, try adding a little bit of chopped, fresh thyme into the batter. That will enhance the earthy notes in the cabernet sauvignon.
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Red Wine Cake
This is a lower sugar, red-wine friendly cake recipe adapted from Stella Parks and her Bravetart cookbook.
To build the bridge for a dessert that goes with red wine, Parks incorporates red wine directly into the cake batter. We go one step further and use organic, raw cocoa powder instead of dark chocolate. Many people suggest that dark chocolate pairs best with red wine because it has less sugar, but actually the dark chocolate taste competes with the red wine tannins. The key to making this revised pairing work is the raw cocoa powder. To really bring it home, use a wine with softer tannins and less alcohol and dust with dehydrated raspberry powder.
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If you’re looking to serve a dessert featuring fruit, blackberry cobbler is a summertime favorite but with frozen berries available year-round, you can enjoy this classic year-round. The blackberries mirror the fruit found in Jordan Cabernet and we reduce the sugar in the recipe to make the pairing sing.
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A “Dessert” That Goes with Cabernet Sauvignon: A Cheese Plate
As Europeans know and practice, the final course doesn’t always have to be sweet. A savory meal ending is often celebrated. Presenting a gorgeous cheese plate garnished with a sensuous sweet and savory membrillo can be cause for applause. Although red wines, cabernet sauvignon in particular, can be tricky to pair with cheese, here is a link to our favorite cab cheese pairings.
A star of this cheese plate is the Spanish delicacy membrillo, or quince paste. It has natural tannins that complement Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon’s structure, and its subtle sweetness accents the red fruit flavors in the wine. It’s also quite easy to make. We created a video to show you the step-by-step instructions. Add some toasted hazelnuts to the presentation, which complement the wine’s tannins, and you have a complete, elegant dessert.