Monthly Archives: December 2023

Yes, We Make Amazing Dessert Wines!

Are you intimidated by dessert wine? Read on as we answer some of our most frequently asked questions on both fortified and dessert wines!

What does late harvest mean?

Late harvest wines require a long, dry summer and fall where the grapes are left on the vine to ripen longer without rotting. This allows them to naturally develop a higher sugar level. The grapes are essentially allowed to turn into raisins on the vine.

How is Port different from regular wine?

Port is a fortified wine— meaning that it has been “fortified” with a spirit. We use brandy to fortify our Port during fermentation. This increases the alcohol content of the wine, but also halts the fermentation process— leaving behind greater amounts of residual sugar, which is what makes it sweet.

What’s so special about our Port?

Our current Tawny Port is the last project our founder David worked on himself before his passing in 2006. We’ve been making Port since the mid 1990s! In 2002, the European Union Protected Designation of Origin guidelines prevented wineries from labeling Port produced outside of Portugal. Since we’ve been making Port for so long we are allowed to continue to label our Port as Port instead of Port-style or fortified wine.

Do I have to pair my dessert wine with dessert?

No! While some sommeliers find dessert wines to best be paired with dessert, pairing sweet wines with smoky and spicy foods can actually create a wonderful contrast. They even make a fun aperitif before dinner!

We recommend serving the Late Harvest Pinot Gris and Tawny Port with rich, earthy cheeses such as blue cheese, gouda, Camembert, Stilton, and Fourme d’Ambert. The Tawny Port pairs particularly well with spicy Asian or Indian cuisine, countering the heat and complementing the complex flavors. The Late Harvest Pinot Gris pairs well with foie gras or duck confit. Experiment with mushroom or nut based dishes— making interesting vegetarian and vegan meal pairings!

For those of you who enjoy sweet pairings, we recommend pairing the Late Harvest Pinot Gris with peach cobbler, crème brûlée, or vanilla based dishes. The Tawny Port pairs beautifully with dark chocolate, figs, truffles, or a chocolate torte. The more decadent the better!

For a mix of pairings, try serving dessert wine with charcuterie. Nuts, dried fruit, rich cheeses, and spicy salami will all add interesting compliments and contrasts to explore.

The beautiful part of wine pairing is experimenting. Serve what you like!

How do I serve dessert wine?

Dessert wine is best served in small pours, usually 1-3 oz, as its richness and higher alcohol content can be overwhelming on the palette. We recommend serving Port either at room or cellar temp, and the Late Harvest Pinot Gris at cellar temp or chilled.

How long do they last?

The Ruby & Tawny Ports ideally will last for months after being opened, although we suggest consuming within 4-6 weeks. The Late Harvest Pinot Gris will generally last 3-5 days after opening. We recommend storing both in a cool, dark place before and after opening.

Does Laurel Ridge have other dessert wines?

Yes! Try them all on our featured dessert flight this December! Book a tasting below.

Reserve a Dessert Flight Here


Find our Tawny Port here.

Find our Late Harvest Pinot Gris here.

Ruby Port coming soon!