Sweet wines come in a broad spectrum of styles such as sweet sparkling wines, late harvest and botrytis wines, ice wines, oxidative sweet styles of Sherry, and several sweet fortified styles of Port.
Whatever the style, the bottom line is that the wine MUST be sweeter than the dessert, otherwise the wine will be completely overpowered by the sweetness in the dessert and the wine in turn will taste tart and dull.
Pairing Indian desserts can be particularly challenging as most are pure sugar fests. Finding a wine that can muster up the sweetness to complement the Indian dish can be a task in itself.
Here are a few pairing suggestions that will work well.
Tokaji Aszu 5 or 6 puttonyos with Gulab Jamun
With a residual sweetness of upto 250gms/l and a high natural acidity, this dessert wine is a great match for the unctuous gulab jamun syrup.
French Sauternes with Gajar Halwa
The botrytis flavours of honey, apricots and cinnamon in the Sauternes will enhance the sweet and sugary gaajar halwa with aplomb.
German Late Harvest or Trockenbeerenauslese with Rice Pudding / Kheer or Shahi Tukda
Late Harvest Riesling for the moderately sweet rice pudding; and the intense, refreshing German (TBA) Trockenbeerenauslese for the cloying sweetness of the Shahi Tukda.
Austrian or Canadian Ice Wine with Jalebis
Jalebis have a zingy acidity in its bite which will pair beautifully with the mouth-watering acidity of ice wines.
Australian Liqueur Muscat - Gujja with Khoya filling
The caramel, nutty and brown sugar flavours in both these choices will complement the khoya filling ensuring a sublime experience.
10 year old Tawny Port with steamed Modak or Karanji
Deep notes of caramel, vanilla, nuts and raisins in 10 year old Tawny Port will seamlessly blend with the Modak or Karanji filling on the palate.