Dessert Wine / Off the Vine

Perfect Pairing – Red Velvet Cake and Port

Momma Brenda's red velvet cake.

Momma Brenda’s red velvet cake.

Like many, I sat down Sunday with family and indulged on food that is not normally on the menu. It was delicious of course, but the best part is I can relive the highlight with you.

I am not a dessert person. Its just not important to me, but it was a holiday, so why not.

As with most wine lovers, anything we eat there is this ongoing internal debate of  “what wine should I have with this meal.”

While cutting  into the homemade red velvet cake the dessert wine won. I’m sure running through your head is “sweet cake and sweet wine, is too much sweet,”  BUT it isn’t. The duo, was magic colliding in my mouth. I wish I could say its an over exaggeration, but its NOT!

I opened a Milat  Wine Co, Zivio 2007, Napa Valley Dessert Wine that I picked up during crush season.


The Zivio is made in the port vintage style of Spain and Portugal, with 95% Zinfandel grape. A vintage style port traditionally spends 2 years in wood(oak barrels) then aged in the bottle.

Zivio was aged in 100% French oak barrels for 24 months.

The difference between Port/Sherry and other dessert wines is that its fortified with brandy, increasing the alcohol level.

The Pairing:port in glass zivia

You don’t need much of a pour to pair this wine. Immediately you smell the brandy with slight hit of berry. At first taste there is a slight sweetness, but nothing of the sweetness of Stella Rosa or Moscato. As it goes down you can feel the warmth coat the throat.

Taking a bit of the cake and a sip of the wine, the palate changes. Where there was  slight sweetness, it is intensified like magic in your mouth creating a balanced sweetness from both wine and cake.

Port  is not just for dessert. It can be sipped alone after dinner, with a cigars and even in hot tea. Next time your thinking of dessert and wine, pull up a glass of  Zivio and experience the magic!

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