Okay, I know the title of this post is a little silly, but apple desserts are probably one of my favorite options to pair with wine. Why? Not only are there a number of wines with apple notes (which is a good jumping off point for pairing), but a lot of the spices in apple desserts go well with wine, too. You can pair apples with chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, cinnamon, nutmeg…the list could easily keep going. This opens up a whole slew of wine pairing options beyond what you could get with just plain apples. To help you narrow down the pairing options, I have three wines that I highly recommend you try with the desserts featured this month and with any other apple dessert you crave.
First up, unoaked Chardonnay can pair very well with apple desserts. Oaked Chardonnay is typically described as having a creamy or buttery texture. These wines usually have a big flavor and texture that not everyone loves and can easily go wrong if the wine isn’t well made. However, the flavor and texture does go well with apple desserts. Apple is one of the flavors you’ll often find in Chardonnays and the butteriness of the wine goes well with brown sugar and cinnamon laced desserts. The smooth, rich brown sugar and cinnamon helps temper the acidity of the wine. A good one to try is called Kali Hart from Talbott Vineyards. This was recommended by a friend of mine who is a big fan of California wines and of oaked Chardonnays. It has the characteristic acidity and butteriness of an oaked Chardonnay that pairs well with buttery/brown sugary desserts.
If you prefer a sweeter wine, a late harvest Riesling is a good bet. Late harvest wines are made from grapes that are left on the vine past their peak ripeness. This allows the sugar to continue to develop and makes the wine potentially sweeter. Rieslings are good for late harvest wines because the sweetness balances the grape’s natural acidity. This keeps it from becoming syrupy and you get a nice, fruity sweetness from it. The sweetness of the wine also works really well with the sugar in the apples. If you have a dessert like my caramel apple bars, the Riesling is amazing with the more savory flavors of cinnamon, brown sugar, and caramel. Washington Hills makes a good late harvest Riesling.
If you are a red wine person, don’t worry- I have something for you, too. Pinot noir is a good option for pairing with apple desserts. It’s a lighter-bodied red, so it isn’t going to overwhelm a lighter apple dessert, and the flavors work well together. I like this combination because the spices blend well with the red wine and keep it from getting harsh with a sweet dessert. Pinot noir usually isn’t my favorite red wine because I think a lot of them are a little thin on both flavor and body, but a very nice gentleman at Spec’s recommended one that has a little more flavor than many that I’ve had. If you’re looking for a good one, try the Taft Street Pinot Noir.
There are plenty of other flavor combinations to try and a highly recommend you do some experimenting, too. If you find a new favorite, let me know! I love hearing about what you enjoy!