Pacific Rim
December 13, 2020 | Pacific Rim

Dessert Wine and Cheese Pairings

Is there anything more satisfying (and comforting) than wine and cheese? No? Ok, now that we are all on the same page, let’s talk about some exceptional dessert wine and cheese pairings. As we always say, the best pairing is the one that you enjoy most! But if you want to explore new flavors and combinations, and find a combo that enhances the tastes, textures, and “wow” factor of each element, read on.

Various dessert wine and cheese pairings

Classic dessert wines include Port, Sherry, and Madeira. We are also including some other sweet whites and reds. So, get out the cheeseboard and glasses, and prepare to find your new favorites.

Dessert Wines and Cheeses

Port: With Port, fermentation is stopped so there is more residual sugar. Strong fruit notes.


Try: Blue cheeses.

More Nibbles: Raw or candied walnuts or pecans.

Sherry: Another fortified wine, Sherry leans from slightly sweet to very sweet.

Try: Manchego, Cabrales, Mahon, Serra de Estrella, Amontillado (if these are too hard to find, try a nice Camembert, Parmigiano Reggiano, or blue cheese).

More Nibbles: Again, nuts offer a great contrast to the sweet wine and salty cheese.

Madeira: More acidic than Sherry with a slightly nutty flavor.

Try: Blue cheeses, gruyere.

More Nibbles: Dark chocolate, nuts, or even better, dark chocolate-covered nuts.

Moscato: Light bodied and off-dry, Moscato is becoming a household favorite.

Try: Pepperjack, brie, muenster.

More Nibbles: Cured meats (e.g. prosciutto) and nuts.

Riesling: Similar to Moscato, Riesling is sweet and off-dry. Fruity and light.

Try: Strong and/or salty cheeses like blue cheese, aged gouda, and feta.

More Nibbles: Spicy foods (e.g. Thai appetizers), dried fruits, nuts.

Sparkling Wines/Champagne: Bubbly and delicious!

Try: Fatty cheeses, like brie and camembert.

More Nibbles: Crudites and breadsticks with olive tapenade.

Merlot: Chocolatey and smooth, Merlot is an interesting choice for a dessert wine - and we love it.

Try: Gouda, gruyere, jarlsberg, or gorgonzola.

More Nibbles: Mini meatballs.

Syrah/Shiraz: Intense and full of personality. Syrah is typically lighter, while Shiraz is bold and rich.

Try: Sharp cheddar, gouda, parmesan.

More Nibbles: Black olives, smoked meat bites.

Which dessert wines and cheeses make your must-have or must-try list?


Time Posted: Dec 13, 2020 at 12:51 PM
Pacific Rim
December 3, 2020 | Pacific Rim

Why Dessert Wine Pairing Is Different

Dry wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Pinot Noir, have exploded in popularity in recent years as people seek to cut out extraneous sugar. But… sometimes, you need a little sweet wine treat. This is where dessert wine comes in! Meant to be enjoyed in small glasses and savored slowly, these options can be the perfect after-dinner indulgence. What should you know about dessert wine pairing before your next dinner party, romantic dinner, or “you” time?

A dessert wine pairing

Dessert Wine Pairing: Why It's Different

Dessert wine pairing is different because the wine itself is very different. It is meant to be enjoyed in small servings, and as we’ll discuss, it is sweeter than other wines due to the variations in the fermentation process. Because it is a “dessert” wine, it is understandable that you want to serve dessert with it! Sweet on sweet can be tricky, so it is important to balance flavors. 

Types of Dessert Wine 

First, what is a “sweet wine” or “dessert wine”? Well, if winemakers are creating dessert wine, they stop the fermentation process before the yeast transforms all the sugars into alcohol. They can do this by super-cooling the wine or by adding the appropriate amount of brandy. What you end up with is a rich, sweet wine replete with wonderful, natural sugars.

When people think of dessert wine, they typically think of port and sherry. Correct! These are two types of dessert wine - but there are more to explore:

  • Sparkling (e.g. Moscato, some Riesling, Rose, some Gewurztraminer)
  • Lightly Sweet (some Gewurztraminer, some Riesling, Chenin Blanc)
  • Richly Sweet (e.g. some Riesling, some Gewurztraminer, Sauternais, Ice Wine)
  • Sweet Red (e.g. Zinfandel, Mourvedre, Malbec, Petite Sirah, and some Bordeaux-style red blends)
  • Fortified (e.g. Port, Sherry)

Now, any of these types of dessert wines can make a great dessert in and of itself, particularly if it’s a good, rich port or sherry. But what if you want to serve up a little something extra?

Your Dessert Wine Pairing Guide

The key to great dessert wine pairing is to ensure that the wines you serve compliment the dishes without overpowering them. For example, a hearty, rich Merlot with a delicate tart is not optimal because the substantive wine takes over. You won’t appreciate the elegant, airy dessert, and the wine, too, can suffer because it may seem like just too much. 

Here are some of our suggestions:

  • Very Sweet Desserts: If you’re enjoying a pecan pie, cheesecake, creme brulee, chocolate cake, or other decadent dessert, try a wine that will stand up to these sweet treats. You’ll need an aged madeira or port to hit all the right notes.
  • Sweet Desserts: Those chocolate chip or sugar cookies are calling to you. Chocolate chip and Cabernet Sauvignon and sugar cookies and Chardonnay are matches made in dessert heaven!
  • Sweet/Savory: What pairs perfectly with pumpkin pie? To compliment the savory hints, try a lightly sweet wine like Riesling. 
  • Sweet/Spicy: You’ve baked up a batch of gingerbread cookies, and the scent of cinnamon is making your mouth water. Choose a sweeter wine with some hint of spice to maximize impact! Riesling is a great choice here. For desserts with molasses, try a nice Pinot Noir.
  • Fresh Fruit/Fruit Pies: If your dessert features stone fruits (e.g. peach, nectarines, apricots), try slightly sweet whites; if you’re going with dark fruits (e.g. cherries, plums, blackberries), go with a sweet red.

We have found that the best way to discover your favorite dessert wine pairing is to experiment! What’s your favorite combination? Does Sherry or Port overpower your delicate torts? Why not try a Chardonnay? Does Riesling get lost in creme brulee? You may need to up the sweetness factor. In any case, it comes down to your palette. 

Our advice: plan your own dessert wine pairing taste test, and see what you and your friends/family discover!


Time Posted: Dec 3, 2020 at 12:20 PM
Pacific Rim
December 1, 2020 | Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim Holiday Gift Guide: The Entertainer Gift Guide

We have another special gift guide for you just in time for holiday shopping! Finish your shopping and wrapping in a breeze with The Entertainer Gift Guide!

The Entertainer Gifts

1. Personalized Wood & Marble Cheese Board from Mark & Graham
2. French Kitchen Marble Wine Cooler from Crate&Barrel
3. Santal 26 Classic Candle by Le Labo
4. Dining in Cookbook by Alison Roman
5. Edge White Wine Glass by Crate&Barrel
6. 2017 Solstice Vineyard Riesling by Pacific Rim & Co.

Time Posted: Dec 1, 2020 at 1:21 PM
Pacific Rim
December 1, 2020 | Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim Holiday Gift Guide: The Wine Lover

We are proud to introduce our first Holiday Gift Guide! 2020 has been a doozy, but we know that this season will bring the magic we’ve been needing. To keep holiday stress at bay, we’ve crafted two gift guides to help you shop for your loved ones. The first is “The Wine Lover Gift Guide”!

Holiday Gifts

1. 2015 Thick Skinned Red Mountain by Pacific Rim & Co (Receive a Gift Box with the purchase of Thick Skinned Red Mountain wine!)
2. Monogrammed Wine Glasses by Nordstrom
3. Electric Wine Opener and Preserver by Rabbit
4. Hope You Brought Wine Doormat by Threshold
5. Plymouth Cheese Trio by Plymouth Artisan Cheese
6. Wine Food by Dana Frank & Andrea Slonecke


Time Posted: Dec 1, 2020 at 1:06 PM
Pacific Rim
November 27, 2020 | Pacific Rim

Which Reds Have the Least Amount of Tannins?

We all know what a tannin is, right? Okay, real talk, for those of us who have heard the word but still aren’t exactly sure what it refers to… here is a quick wine science lesson (fun)! A tannin is a naturally occurring micronutrient called polyphenol. It is found in plants, seeds, leaves, wood, bark, and fruit skins. Polyphenols are macromolecules made of phenols: complex bonds of oxygen and hydrogen molecules. The word “tannin” is from the ancient Latin word for tanner. Tanner refers to tanning hides with tree bark. Simple, right? Science aside, here are some things to keep in mind about tannins. 

A bottle of low tannin red wine from Rainstrom Wines

At this point, you may have a few questions. 

What do tannins taste like?

Tannins can make a wine taste bitter, astringent and complex. For many that’s just not a taste they’re comfortable with or enjoy. 

Why do people avoid tannins and look for low tannin red wine?

Some people experience a drying sensation in their mouths from drinking wine high in tannins. Some people will even suffer an allergic reaction from high tannin wine that might include a headache or migraine. That said, if you are not someone who is intolerant to tannins, they are not bad for your health. In fact, they actually serve as an antioxidant. 

Are there a lot of tannins in pinot noir?

Pinot noir is actually one of the most popular red wines because it is a low tannin red wine. Pinot noir is fruit-forward and pairs well with many dishes. Its low tannin levels make it easy to drink and enjoy. Rainstorm makes a gorgeous organic pinot noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon. Be sure to pick up a bottle of Rainstorm (or several) if it’s a low tannin red wine you’re after. 


Time Posted: Nov 27, 2020 at 6:57 AM


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