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Wines for Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, & More

Written by Madeline Puckette

Pie and wine.

Could it be the fastest way to get a hangover? Possibly. Still, you’re only human. It’s your errant human nature that leads to the occasional, insatiable craving. Be it pie and wine or worse: that pink cheetah print jumper you have in your closet.

So, if you’re going in deep, you might as well do it right.

To that effect, here is an ill-advised, yet delightful journey to find the best possible pie and wine pairings. Prepare to make enemies with your dentist.

Pie and Wine Pairings Done Right

Apple pie and Wine Pairing with Sicilian Dessert Wine illustration by Wine Folly

Apple Pie and Dry Marsala

Commonly used in cooking and the creation of rich, caramelized sauces, dry Marsala makes an excellent pairing with apple pie, bringing flavors of foraged nuts, vanilla, and citrus rind to America’s favorite pie. Of course, if you’re a wine geek, you know that Marsala isn’t the only dessert wine from Sicily! The high-brow alternative would be something like Marco de Bartoli’s “Vecchio Samperi,” which is this whacky, crazy-delicious, un-fortified un-Marsala that’s 100% Grillo. Mic drop.


Pumpkin Pie and Wine Pairing with 20-year tawny Port illustration by Wine Folly

Pumpkin Pie and 20-Year Tawny Port

When it comes to pumpkin pie pairings, after-dinner coffee is no match for a quality port. This pie begs for more sweetness. Enter Tawny Port. More aged and oxidative than its ruby cousins, the dried orange, fig, toffee, and spices found in 20-year Tawny is something that will make your friend’s experimental vegan pumpkin pie palatable. (The keyword here is “palatable.”)


Pecan Pie and Wine Pairing with Gamay Noir Illustration by Wine Folly

Pecan Pie and Gamay

Pairing pecan pie with wine can be bittersweet—literally. High tannin in the nuts combined with sugary, caramelized crust: it’s a real challenge. If you must have wine, the fruity, juicy, spicy Gamay or regional Beaujolais Cru (also made with Gamay) is the quintessential autumnal pairing… on paper. That said, coffee or bourbon might win the taste-off. Wait, do they have “taste-offs” yet? Hey Food Network, I have a pitch!


Pear Cranberry Pie Tart Crumble and Wine Pairing with Moscato d'Asti Illustration by Wine Folly

Pear-Cranberry Pie and Moscato d’Asti

Why is pear-cranberry pie not more popular over the holidays? Who do we need to talk to to make this a thing? Anyway, for this awesome, under loved fall pie, grab a glass of Moscato d’Asti. This isn’t just any old Moscato, it’s the Original Gangsta Moscato all the way in from Piedmont, Italy. The wine is bursting with stone fruit and Asian pear flavors, and is shockingly low-alcohol (only 5.5% ABV!). Let’s make this a thing, shall we?


Sweet Potato Pie and Wine Pairing with Alsace Pinot Gris Illustration by Wine Folly

Sweet Potato Pie and Alsatian-Style Pinot Gris

More textured and airy than the ubiquitous pumpkin pie equivalent, this Southern holiday staple requires something a little different. Alsatian-style Pinot Gris is richer and sweeter than the other two styles of Pinot Gris/Grigio and it gives this vegetal pie the right dollop of honeycomb, sweetness, peach, and almond to wash it down right.


Cheesecake and Wine Pairing with Riesling Ice Wine Illustration by Wine Folly

Classic Cheesecake and Riesling Ice Wine

Ah, ice wine. One of nature’s sweetest mistakes. Just the thing for everyone’s favorite custard: the classic cheesecake. Sure, you could top your cheesecake off the chart with fresh fruit. But why do that when you could drink your fruit in a glass?


Chocolate Cheesecake and Wine Pairing with Recioto della Valpolicella illustration by Wine Folly

Chocolate Cheesecake and Recioto della Valpolicella

Recioto (“reh-chee-oh-toe”) features the same grapes as Amarone and uses the same process. Fermentation is halted before completion to leave residual sugar in the wine. The result? A surprisingly tannic sweet red wine that drinks like liquid chocolate cherries. Honestly, you may not even need dessert with wine this good…


Last Word

Good luck with that hangover. Also, if you’ve tasted a dessert and wine pairing that’s to die for, we’re ready to leave this mortal coil. Tell us about it in the comments to below!

Written byMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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