Sweet as Can Be: The Best Dessert Wines

End your meal with a sweet treat

There are so many decisions involved with a Christmas dinner-- and it seems there’s little agreement. Mashed potatoes or roasted? Should you prepare a prime rib or baked ham? Do you watch Elf or The Christmas Story after dinner?

But when you pull out a bottle of sweet wine for after-dinner drinks, we’re pretty sure that no one will have an objection. Below are some ideas for sweet holiday wines that everyone can agree on. And remember, sweet wines are very concentrated, so you only need to serve a small amount (usually about 2 ounces). That means just a half bottle of sweet wine will serve 6.

DASHE CELLARS Late Harvest Zinfandel 2009 (Dry Creek Valley, California) $24 for the 375 milliliter half bottle

In this dessert wine, zinfandel gets to show off its jammy spiciness. The wine has a lovely balance of acidity and sweetness, with hints of black raspberries, lavender and cocoa.
Pair with: Chocolate pecan pie

EOS ESTATE “Tears of Dew” 2010 (Paso Robles, California) $22 for the 375 milliliter half bottle

Though it’s made with the moscato grape — muscat blanc to be exact — this is a late harvest wine, so the flavors are concentrated and intense. We love the explosion of peach and lychee flavors with notes of white flowers.
Pair with: Ginger cake or cookies and caramel desserts

JACKSON-TRIGGS Proprietors' Grand Reserve Cabernet Franc Icewine 2008 (Niagara, Canada) $60 for the 375 milliliter half bottle

Cabernet franc grapes that have frozen on the vine are pressed to make this wine that has intense sweetness and fresh acidity. This juicy number from Canada sings with rhubarb, raspberry and strawberry flavors.
Pair with: Dark chocolate or blue cheese

KLEIN CONSTANTIA Vin de Constance 2006 (Cape Coastal, South Africa) $45 for the 500 milliliter bottle

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Royalty like Napoleon and George IV were mad about this sweet wine made from South African white muscat grapes. It’s a deep gold hue with flavors of honey and citrus, and has bright freshness.
Pair with: Fruitcake, pumpkin pie, pecan pie