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Destination I Do
Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wedding Cake Wines

Words by Autumn Millhouse
Photo Courtesy of Carneros Inn, Napa Valley

Got cake? The traditional cake cutting and toast is meant to signify that this party (or reception) is ready to get started. DJ pump the music, groomsmen get on the dance floor and refill your glass before you kick of those heels to do the electric slide.

However, before you do the funky chicken consider learning a little more about cake and wine pairing. This will allow you to be more confident with your purchasing decisions and look like a wine rock star.


Note: The goal of cake and wine pairing (As with any wine and food pairing) is striking a balance between the best of both flavors. We want the natural characteristics of both to counterbalance and complement each other. A perfectly paired wine will render the cake more pleasurable, and vice versa.

Wedding Cake Pairing Tips

Chocolate and champagne or sparkling wines are a no-no together. For a rich chocolate cake, consider a red wine or a port. Cabernet sauvignon pairs perfectly with chocolate and makes for an equally uplifting toast. One of my favorite cabs at the moment is Vineyard 29.

Brut sparkling wine or champagne does not pair well with sweet cakes. The toastyness of the brut turns tart-tasting when sipped with sweet foods. It’s better to have a touch of sweetness in your bubbles to balance the sweetened flavor of the cake.

Purchasing bubbles for the celebrated cake toast doesn’t have to be expensive. Go direct to a local winery that produces sparkling wine or champagne and ask for a discount on case purchases. Consider American sparkling wines (California and Oregon produce some reputable sparkling wine) or Italy’s sparkling wine known as Prosecco for an affordable yet luscious alternative.

The best bubble recommendations to pair with a wedding cake, or any decadent dessert, are a Demi-Sec, Blanc de Blanc, Blanc de Noir or a Rose. My personal favorite that has you thinking of berries and cream is Mumm Cuvee Red. 96 percent of this sparkling wine is a pinot noir grape and boasts a deep red color and fruit forward flavors of black berry and cherry. This sparkling, and all of the above varietals go seamlessly with fruit filled, vanilla or citrus infused wedding cakes.


For more on Autumn Millhouse and her book Romantic Napa Valley, An Insider’s Guide for Couples, click here.


Autumn Millhouse is an award-winning travel writer who specializes in wine, food and romantic getaways. She is also an international trekker who has wined and dined across the globe from Barcelona to Beijing . A self-proclaimed “hopeless-romantic” and author of Romantic Napa Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples, Autumn also has a bi-monthly column called "Love Vines" published in Napa Valley Life Magazine. She resides in Napa Valley where she cultivates her wine and food relationships with top chefs, winemakers and a slew of other foodies. Besides, sniffing, swirling and sipping wine daily, Autumn is currently working on her next travel book Romantic Sonoma Valley: An Insider’s Guide for Couples.

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