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A Sweet Surprise

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Despite the fact that most newlyweds schedule the toasts around the same time that they cut the cake, the reality is that dry wines like champagne don’t pair well with sugary foods. Why not treat your guests to a truly memorable dessert wine instead? These sweet treats may seem relatively pricey, but most people only have one small glass, they lend instant sophistication to your big day and the proper pairing can turn a standard cake into something truly spectacular.

Here are seven that will make your cake taste like a slice of heaven.

German Auslese Riesling

Bright, clean and showcasing flavors of citrus, pear and honey, this more affordable late-harvest alternative to Ice Wine would suit any classic white wedding cake, especially those with lemon or lime accents, says John Kennedy, owner of Great Wine Buys in Portland, Ore.

Moscato d’Asti

If you want something light and gently effervescent, try this refreshing Muscat-based sparkler from Italy’s Piedmont region, suggests Christopher Chan, executive director of the Oregon and Seattle Wine Awards. With flavors of honeysuckle and stone fruits, it’s a perfect match for white cake that plays up spring/summer berries or white chocolate, adds Kennedy.

Sauternes, Barsac and Cadillac

These decadent French dessert wines from Bordeaux are packed with sweet flavors of honey, apricot, peach and pineapple, says Chan, and would pair perfectly with a summery citrus or tropical fruit-infused yellow cake.

Ruby Port

Hailing from Portugal’s Douro Valley, this ripe berry-flavored fortified red wine is a lovely foil for any dark chocolate cake. However, with its aggressive sweetness and 20-percent alcohol content, it packs a pretty big punch, says Kennedy. If your budget allows, impress your guests by serving Vintage Port instead. Numerous years of bottle-aging mellow the flavor to perfection.

Tawny Port

Voluptuous flavors of brown sugar, toffee, caramel and orange peel make this crowd-pleaser an ideal addition to fall or winter weddings, says Chan. He suggests offering it alongside carrot cake or a pastry featuring caramel frosting or mocha flavors, while Kennedy recommends teaming it with most types of (not too dark) chocolate cake that also boast hazelnuts or walnuts, or with a trend-of-the-moment pecan pie.

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