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Dessert Wines: Sweet, Fizzy and Red

Last night, for a birthday dinner for a friend, I was asked to bring some Champagne to go with the dessert course. Now, for any wine pairing with a dessert, you must know the simple rule that the wine should always be sweeter than the food. If you get it wrong, it makes both the wine and the dessert taste bad. The most common example of this understandable error is at weddings, when dry Champagne is served with wedding cake. No wedding that I have ever attended when this faulty pairing has occurred has ever resulted in a successful marriage. It is why, at my wedding, we avoided cake altogether.

Anyway, there were no nuptials last night, just dinner. But I made sure the wines were sweet enough nonetheless. I was lucky enough to be in the vicinity of the great Laurel Heights wine store Wine Impression (3461 California St., 415-221-9463), where I stumbled upon two of my favorite sweet wines.



Delightfully, both are sweet and red. One is Brachetto d'Acqui from northern Italy, the other is Bugey Cerdon, a sweet red from France. Both are light and fizzy with notes of strawberry, blood orange and red apples. An added bonus is that they are both beneath 8 percent in alcohol (lower than some beers), which makes them innocuous sippers after a wine-soaked meal.