For our next installment of our wine series, we’ll introduce sweet red wines and their perfect pairings. There’s one main difference between white and red wines (besides their color!) and that’s something called tannin. Tannins occur naturally in grapes and produce a bitter/dry taste in the mouth – this is what gives wine its color. They show up when the skins of grapes sit in the juice as it ferments. The more tannins in the wine, the darker it is. This is why darker red wines tend to have a more bold, texturized flavor.
Most people start off on their “wine journey” with sweet wines, and they’re usually a great pairing for desserts! Whether you’re a beginner or a wine connoisseur, you’ll probably enjoy some of these more popular reds:
Brachetto is commonly called the reds equivalent of Moscato (if you’re not sure what that is, take a look at our latest wine installment!). This wine is slightly sweet and light, and usually has an undernote of strawberries. Coming from Italy, Brachetto is well-known for its bubbly taste.
There are many different kinds of Port wines, but we’re going to be breaking down Tawny and Ruby in this post. Port wines come from Portugal and are normally sweet, rich, and some high-end brands can cost several hundred dollars!
Tawny Ports have some undernotes of hazelnuts, raspberries, and cloves and is very sweet. Tawny Ports are released in decade versions (up to 40 years old) of the time spent in wooden casks. This wine pairs amazingly well with nutty or cheesy dishes like Crackly Almond Pear Cake or Crispy Cheddar Pork Chops.
Ruby Ports, on the other hand, have famous undernotes of chocolate and blackberries! Ruby Ports are not aged for nearly as long as their Tawny counterparts – typically only being aged for 2-6 years. Many recipes use this kind of wine and it’s fairly cheap. Ruby Ports typically match well with chocolate, apple, or cheesecake recipes. Some of our favorite recipes to pair with this wine are Marina’s Apple Pie Cheesecake Bars, Apple Strudel, and Chocolate Angel Food Cake!
This beautiful French wine tends to be lower in alcohol content than Ports. Banyuls is normally fortified, which means that it has been infused with a distilled spirit (like brandy). This wine is not usually aged for very long and has some undertones of cherries, oranges, and plums.
While Banyuls is famous for its pairings with chocolate, it also goes well with blue cheese and sweet and sour dishes. Here are the recipes we would recommend: White Chocolate Mousse with Mixed Berries, Grilled Eggplant with Blue Cheese & Herbs, and Sweet & Sour Meatballs.
This wine is also from France and leaves a lot of sugar behind after fermentation (which means it’s really sweet!). Maury is similar to Banyuls in that it pairs extremely well with fruits and chocolate. (Can you see the dessert wine pattern? Don’t worry, we’ll have a post all about dessert wines coming soon!) For this delicious wine we think you should pair it with recipes like our Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread, Chocolate-Beet Snack Cake, and Berry and Ricotta Tart.
We’ll have more installments in this Circle B Ranch wine series coming out soon!