Dessert wine and ice cream, a grown up treat

Our mantra for this recommended pairing: You must keep an open mind.

It’s supposed to be summer, right? And during summer shouldn’t we all give ourselves a little treat every now and then?

We think so.

After reading the June 10 food page, we started thinking about ice cream and wine and how we could marry the two.

Over the years of tasting many glasses of dessert wine — from bone dry to sugar encrusted — there were occasions when it was suggested to pour the sweetest or the most fruit-forward over ice cream.

It’s a great idea, but there’s one rule that should never be broken when considering ice cream and dessert wine: The wine you pour over the ice cream should be as sweet as, or sweeter than, the ice cream.

In the late 1980s, Joann Bentryn of the famous Bainbridge Island Vineyards and Winery strawberry wine, suggested pouring their delightful dessert wine over ice cream.

The fruit-forward flavor of the strawberries is a great topping to a creamy vanilla ice cream.

A few years later, winemakers started adding chocolate to their dessert wines — combining wine and chocolate in a bottle.  Deco, a port-like wine, also has chocolate in it. These too encourage pouring the wine over a good vanilla ice cream.

(To clarify, when describing flavors in wine, experts may say it tastes like raspberries or chocolate, but it doesn’t mean they actually exist in wine. That’s the beauty of a grape, it’s a mimic.)

Chocolate in wine might not hit the mark for everyone’s sweet tooth. Luckily for the non-chocolate lovers out there, there’s plenty of pure berry dessert wines — like the Bentryn’s strawberry wine — to choose from.

Randall Graham has a Bonny Doon raspberry dessert wine and Samson Estates Winery has a selection of berry wines like its Blu, a wine made from Northwest blueberries. They also have a selection of other dessert wines that they recommend pouring over ice cream.

These wines are made without grapes, which means the tannic acid found in grape skins is also absent. Without the tannic acid, the wines should be had sooner rather than later — so don’t wait for that special occasion.

The sweetest wine on the planet is from a grape called Pedro Ximenez. PX is a very sweet fortified style of wine from Jerez, Spain. Most sherry houses make a PX, as it is known. Its caramel, nutty flavors make this match delightfully perfect for a creamy scoop of vanilla — or a scoop of chocolate if you’re longing for that chocolate infusion.

So the next time you want to give yourself a summer treat, consider a grown-up version of ice cream with a dessert wine topping.


Brynn and Mary

One thought on “Dessert wine and ice cream, a grown up treat

  1. Those sound delicious! Also wanted to put a plug in for other alcoholic and ice cream pairings.

    A former editor once introduced me to the concept of a nip of whiskey or scotch with vanilla ice cream.

    Some beers and ice creams go well together. Der Blokken serves a porter and vanilla ice cream float, and Viking Feast has also created a few beer-infused concoctions that went beyond the stout/porter chocolate combination.

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