Crème Brûlée pairs best with sweet dessert style wines such as Sauternes, Tawny Port, Banyuls and Late Harvest Riesling.
Crème Brûlée is a French dessert that is served in an individual ramekin. Inside you find a creamy custard that has a caramel-based flavour. Meanwhile, the surface of the Crème Brûlée is sprinkled with sugar and scorched with a torch before serving, creating a caramelized layer that adds texture and impregnates the custard below with even more flavour.
The best part of Crème Brûlée is smashing through that caramelized layer of sugar with a tiny spoon and being greeted with the creamy custard below. As you indulge in the caramelized layer, bits of sugar get stuck in your teeth and slowly bleeds its delicious burnt sugar flavours into the dessert or whatever wine you are drinking, as the sugars melt away in your mouth.
While it can be enjoyed independently, pairing Crème Brûlée with the right wine can take the experience to a whole new level.
Sauternes is a sweet white wine that is made from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes. Its intense sweetness and fruity flavours make it a perfect match for the rich and creamy flavours of Crème Brûlée. The wine’s honeyed notes complement the caramelized sugar on top of the dessert, creating a deliciously decadent pairing.
Sauternes is expensive. However, a small amount of Sauternes goes a long way . Imagine sweet notes of honey, peach, caramel, dried fruit, pineapple, toast, vanilla and tropical fruit coating your tongue with the wine’s viscous texture. Now imagine those flavours combined with the caramel and burnt sugar flavours of Crème Brûlée. Totally worth it!
Tawny Port & Crème Brûlée Pairing
Tawny port is a fortified wine with notes of brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, nuts, dried figs, chocolate and black cherries. The wine’s brown sugar and caramel notes make it a perfect match for the caramelized sugar on top of Crème Brûlée. Meanwhile, you have notes of nuts, vanilla, chocolate and black cherries to make this pairing even more indulgent.
Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise
Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise is a sweet and fortified wine with flavours of apricot, honey, peach, almond, vanilla and spice. Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise’s floral and fruity aromas and flavours make it a perfect match for the creamy flavours of Crème Brûlée. The wine’s acidity cuts through the dessert’s richness, while its sweetness complements the caramelized sugar on top.
The proper way to pronounce this wine is ‘moosKAHT duh bohm du vuhNEES.’ However, at the table, when you enjoy it with Crème Brûlée, you’ll probably want to call it ‘Muscat da bomb’.
Banyuls & Crème Brûlée Pairing
Banyuls is a chewy and velvety dessert wine that tastes of caramel, cherry, nuts, coffee, toast and raisin. The wine’s notes of chocolate, caramel, and coffee complement the rich flavours of Crème Brûlée, while its sweetness balances hold up to the sugary flavours of Crème Brûlée.
Banyuls is of very high quality and not all that expensive, making it an excellent wine pairing with Crème Brûlée if you are on a budget. Bottle sizes tend to be 500ml, but like everything listed here, a little goes a long way as Banyuls is high in alcohol and full-bodied in flavour.
Late Harvest Riesling & Crème Brûlée Pairing
Late harvest Riesling is another sweet white wine that pairs well with Crème Brûlée. The wine’s acidity cuts through the richness of the dessert, while its honeyed flavours and aromas complement the caramelized sugar on top.
Late Harvest Riesling is easily obtainable in North America, but you’ll also find stellar examples of dessert-styled Riesling in Germany, Austria and Australia. Expect sweet flavours of honey, ginger, mineral, apricot, pineapple, rose petals and flowers.