Let’s be honest, cookies are synonymous with Christmas. This was apparent the first time we iced sugar cookies and put them on a plate, waiting for Santa Clause to devour them. As we got older, we were most likely gifted a tin of stale shortbread cookies at some point, and now you may bake cookies with your family or friends around the holidays, or at the very least buy them at a bakery and have them splayed out on a table. As you reach for your Christmas cookie, you may think how nice it would be to dunk it in a cold glass of milk. You would be right. However, have you ever thought instead to enjoy your cookie with a glass of dessert wine? Let me tell you why you should with two cookie and dessert wine pairing examples that include Vin Santo and late bottled vintage port.
What is Vin Santo?
First, let’s talk about what Vin Santo is. Vin Santo or “holy wine” is an Italian dessert wine where the grapes tend to be either Trebianno or Malvasia (both white grapes.) It is made in the style of straw wines, which means the grapes are dried out on straw mats in a warm area. The longer the grapes take to dry out, the sweeter the wine becomes. Lastly, the wine tends to be aged in small oak barrels for at least 3-5 years. Aging the dessert wine in oak is what contributes to its slightly spicy tasting notes. Some other tasting notes you may get are caramel, roasted walnut, honey and dried apricot.
Gingersnaps paired with Vin Santo
When it comes to pairing dessert wine with desserts, you always want the wine to be sweeter than the dessert itself, otherwise, the dessert will taste bitter. If you want to see this sommelier cringe, then drink a glass of chardonnay with your vanilla cake. Unless you are blasted, there should be no reason to do this. But I digress. Gingersnaps are great cookies to pair with dessert wine because they are not overly sweet. The spicy flavor that comes from the ginger is balanced with the sweet molasses, so the Vin Santo isn’t overpowered. Vin santo is also a high acid dessert wine, thus cleansing your palate every time you take a bite of the sugary cookie.
First off, what is Port?
Port is a fortified Portuguese dessert wine that comes from the Douruo Valley of Northern Portugal, typically made as a sweet red wine, although examples of white port do exist. There are many different styles such as ruby, tawny and vintage port. For this pairing, I’ll be talking about late vintage port, a sweet style that is moderate in acidity with tasting notes of dark chocolate, black cherry, currant, dried raisins, and prunes.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies with Late Bottled Vintage Port
First off, if you have never heard of or tried a chocolate crinkle cookie, you need to get on that ASAP! Chocolate crinkles are essentially if a brownie and a cookie had a baby. They are soft and fudgy on the inside with crackly crispy edges. These cookies pair perfectly with the late bottled vintage port because that chocolatey flavor is brought out even more by the chocolate notes that the wine mirrors. Lastly, the cherry notes in the wine as well as the raisin and dried prune notes, complement the richness of the dark chocolate in the cookie by lending an extra flavor profile.