This is the second of two parts discussing dessert wines ? ports, sherries, sauternes, ice wine and the rest. Part I, which looked at dessert wine in general, is here.
Can you pair dessert wines with food? Yes, but it ?s generally not worth the trouble. They stand on their own. Also, don ?t be discouraged by the prices, which are high. A dessert wine serving is half or less than that of a dinner wine, and one or two glasses is more than sufficient.
One other note: Dessert wine labels are confusing, not just because there are so many different kinds, but because we don ?t deal with them very much. Don ?t be afraid to ask for help. Sherries and ports, for example, are labeled according to quality and style, a complex process that is more than most of us need to know. It ?s helpful to know that an LBV port is different and less expensive (and sometimes a better value) than a vintage port, but it ?s not crucial.
Finally, these wines are only a tiny sample of what ?s out there. As always, look, taste, and see try different things. And then pour yourself a glass, sit back, and enjoy. A fire place is optional, but it certainly doesn ?t hurt: