Indulge in Elegance: The Best Wines to Pair with Cheesecake

There are few desserts more satisfying than a slice of cheesecake. For me, it ranks right up there with a tiramisu or Eton mess. These are desserts that just burst with flavor.

What makes cheesecake so appealing is its versatility: you can serve it at any meal or occasion and you don’t need to worry about pairing it with anything else on the menu. With all of these options for pairing cheesecake, why should you even be worried about wine?

Well, there are many different types of wines out there that work with different meals or occasions. There are also many different types of cheesecakes that could require an equally diverse range of pairings. As you might expect, some will work better than others. So it is worth knowing what works.

Pairing with New York Style Cheesecake

So you’ve decided to pair with cheesecake. When you’re in the mood for something sweet, there’s no better way to end dinner than with a slice of New York Style Cheesecake or its pumpkin-flavored counterpart. To match this dessert’s creamy texture and rich flavor, look for a wine that is light and sweet on its own. I recommend Moscato or white wine with some added sweetness (like Riesling).

Pairing wines with cheesecake can be tricky because the flavors are so strong. If you’d like something stronger but still sweet, try sparkling wines such as Cava or Prosecco.

Want a safe bet? Go with Moscato

If you’re looking for a wine that will pair well with cheesecake, Moscato is your best bet. This sweet and fruity wine is perfect for casual occasions, dessert (yes, even cheesecake), and summertime. Wine experts often recommend Moscato as an introductory option for new drinkers because it’s less dry than other wines and has lower alcohol content than many of its counterparts.

If you’re not sure which type of grape variety to try next or are just looking for something refreshing on a hot day, this delicious drink is the solution!

Think about the pairing. What is the dominant flavor?

When you think of pairing wine with cheesecake, what comes to mind? Something sweet and fruity, perhaps? A dessert wine? If so, then the Moscato d’asti is the wine for you. This delightful Italian white from Piedmont is a sweet and dry white that can be found in many grocery stores.

The Moscato d’asti pairs well not only with cheesecake but also with other desserts such as tiramisu or ice cream. The Moscato d’asti is an excellent choice for wine and cheesecake pairings because of its sweet flavor and light body. This makes it a good option for people who aren’t huge fans of red wines or those who prefer lighter-bodied whites.

Pairing with Pumpkin Cheesecake

The best wines to pair with pumpkin cheesecake are the same as those that go well with apple pie. That means you should reach for a crisp cabernet franc, like the 2017 Château des Tours from Bordeaux. You could also try a glass of rosé from Provence (think Côtes de Provence).

Pairing with no-bake cheesecake

No-bake cheesecake is a light and creamy dessert that can stand up to rich wines like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah. A sweet Riesling would also be an excellent pairing as it has enough acidity to balance the richness of the cheesecake.

If you want your wine to stand out, try pairing it with a bold red like Malbec or Pinot Noir. This will give you the best chance of finding a wine that complements your dessert without overpowering it.

Classic Wine & Cheesecake Pairings

Wine and cheesecake are a classic pairing. This delicious dessert, with its high-fat content, is always best when paired with a light and fruity wine. A heavy red wine will overwhelm the flavor of the pie, while white wine may not provide enough flavor. When you’re pairing cheesecake and wine together, it’s important to select one that complements both flavors but doesn’t overpower the dish.

Here are my recommendations for wines with cheesecake:

White Wine Pairings

A great option for pairing with cheesecake. White zinfandel or Moscato will complement the creamy texture of the dessert and its tart flavors. A crisp, dry Riesling or Gewürztraminer will also go well with the dessert, as these wines have flavors that are similar to those of cheesecake.

For a sweeter white wine, try a Sauternes or sweet Muscat. These wines pair especially well with fruit-flavored cheesecakes.

Best Moscato D’Asti

Paolo Saracco Moscato d’Asti DOCG

This excellent wine from Paolo Saracco offers excellent value. Well worth a try.
Critic tasting note: (2021 vintage) “This lovely, sweet sparkler opens with heady aromas of yellow stone fruit, spring blossoms and wild aromatic herbs. The savory palate delivers ripe apricot, creamy yellow peach, rosemary and sage. Crisp acidity not only keeps it focused and tangy, but seamlessly balances the sweetness so it’s never cloying but always bright and racy. A refined, foaming mousse provides lots of finesse. Kerin O’Keefe” – 95/100Wine Enthusiast

Caudrina Romano Dogliotti ‘La Caudrina’
Critic tasting note: (2016 vintage) “The nose is fruity , gourmand, fine and quite elegant . It reveals notes of candied green lemon , candied mandarin and small notes of white fruits/ apple associated with a discreet hint of flowers as well as an imperceptible hint of white ppeper . The palate is fruity , well-balanced , supple and offers fat, a nice volume, a slight acidity as well as a beautiful mineral frame. In the mouth this wine expresses notes of candied white peach , cr ystallized mandarin and small notes of candied lemon associated with a subtle hint of flowers , pineapple as well as an imperceptible hint of orange blossom (in the background). Good length .” – 90 – 91/100VertdeVin
La Spinetta Bricco Quaglia

Critic tasting note: (2008 vintage) “This Moscato d’Asti offers beautiful aromatic intensity to match its luminous golden color. The wine is fresh and zippy in the mouth but then that natural sweetness takes over and caresses the palate. This is an excellent example of Piedmont’s favorite sparkling dessert wine.” – 88/100Wine Enthusiast

Best Riesling

Georg Albrecht Schneider Niersteiner Riesling Kabinett 2017

This Kabinett is a fresh, crisp wine with lingering sweetness balanced by tart lemon-lime acidity. Delicate wisps of smoke and earth lend touches of complexity throughout, adding dimensions to its fruity character.

Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese

Spätlese Riesling is richer and more intense in flavor than Kabinett. It comes with a lively minerality that perfectly balances the bright white peach and lemon fruit you’ll find here. Worth seeking out.

Ransom Sunnyside Vineyard Riesling (Willamette Valley of Oregon)

From the vineyard themselves, “This single vineyard, old vine bottling from the South Salem Hills is a classic, terroir-revealing Riesling. Opening with fresh fruit aromas of key lime and pineapple, the palate offers vivid acidity and flavors of Meyer lemon zest and candied ginger wrapped around a mineral vein. The wine finishes fresh and bright, with a beguiling note of honeysuckle blossom. A delight to drink now, but also exceedingly age-worthy.” 

Best Sauternes

2014 Chateau Suduiraut

Producer tasting notes: “Château Suduiraut 2014 has a deep golden yellow colour and is still restrained in its expression. The first nose reveals oaked notes of toasted hazelnut, followed by white flowers, spices such as ginger and white pepper, and finally very ripe yellow fruit. The wine is full in the attack and continues in rich and fresh form on the palate. Aromas of yellow peach, roasted pineapple, ginger and preserved lemons mingle in a long, unctuous whole. The finish is absolutely delicious, lingering for a long time with honey and spiced notes.” – Chateau Suduiraut

2017 Chateau Rieussec

Producer tasting notes: “Beautiful pale gold colour. The initial nose offers remarkable depth. Aeration reveals the complexity of truly great years. All the characteristics are present: freshness, precision, and purity. On the palate, the wine presents an impressive combination of power and finesse. The finish is tremendously long and harmonious. As is often the case in exceptional vintages, the sweetness is masked by the wine’s balance. A magnificent Rieussec that is already sublime and will still be so in ten and many more years’ time.” – Chateau Rieussec

2019 Chateau Coutet

A less expensive Sauternes than the others but no less a wine for it.  

Expert tasting note: “A rich, golden, sweet wine with ripe stone fruit and Smokey, sulphurous notes on the nose. On the palate concentrated, ripe apricot fruit is lovely & juicy. The wine is full-bodied & has a superb rich texture. Alcohol is in balance & despite the fresh acidity the wine finishes sweet.” – 6/20 DCAMW

Best Muscat

Donnafugata Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria (Sicily, Italy)

Critic tasting note: (2020 vintage) “Powerful bright amber, slightly reddish nuances. Intense and inviting nose with orange zest and bergamot notes, lots of dried apricot, and some fig. On the palate, great play between sweetness and fresh acidity, notes of apricot, orange blossom and figs, long and clear finish.” – 94/100Falstaff

Jorge Ordonez & Co. No. 2 Victoria Moscatel (Malaga, Spain)

Critic tasting note: (2016 vintage) “A mixed tropical-fruit aroma is pure and clean on the nose. On the palate, this Moscatel is smooth and creamy, but with fine acidity to balance. Mango, honey and pineapple flavors slide away with grace on a lush yet nicely balanced finish. Drink through 2025. Michael Schachner” – 93/100Wine Enthusiast

A.R. Valdespino Toneles Moscatel Sherry (Andalucia, Spain)

This is a top-end wine by all reviews, but you will pay a hefty price for it.  More than $500 a bottle!

According to wine experts and critics, the A.R. Valdespino Toneles Moscatel Sherry is an outstanding dessert wine with a deep amber color and intense raisins, figs, and caramel aroma. The palate is sweet and velvety, with notes of dried fruits, honey, and spices. The wine has a long, lingering finish that leaves a pleasant aftertaste.

Red Wine Pairings

If you prefer red wine, try serving it with a semi-sweet chocolate chip cheesecake or a raspberry cheesecake. Red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot will complement the chocolate and fruit flavors in these desserts.

Cabernet franc is a great wine to pair with cheesecake. It’s light-bodied, meaning it won’t overpower the dessert’s creamy texture or sweet flavors. Cabernet franc also has a lot of flavor, so you can feel comfortable having more than one glass of this red wine for dinner and dessert. The best part? It’s easy to find and affordable.

Best Cabernet Sauvignon

Substance ‘Cs’ Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

From the winery itself, “Classic Cabernet Sauvignon. Currant, blackberry, cigar box with touches of chocolate, cedar, and pencil lead. Full flavored & just so damn good. I should raise the price!”

Château Lynch-BagesPauillac (Grand Cru Classé) 2016

It exhibits a deep red color with notes of dark fruit, cassis, blackcurrants, and a distinctive hint of mint. On the palate, it is full in body with ripe tannins and cassis throughout. The finish is long.

Flat Top Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a rich, full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. It is distinctly dark fruit on the palate with cocoa and vanilla notes. It has gentle spices like nutmeg and cassis. The finish is smooth, long, and velvety.

Best Merlot

Mayacamas Mt. Veeder Napa Valley Merlot 2019

This mountainside Napa red, from the historic estate Mayacamas, has 5% cabernet franc in the blend that seems to lift the herbal notes on the nose. Bright blueberry fruit is balanced by savoury mushroom and pencil-lead flavors that are brilliantly held by the acidity and fine firm tannins that will allow this to age.

Arietta 2019 Merlot “Hudson” Carneros Napa

The 2019 Merlot Hudson Vineyard is full of dark fruit, chocolate, and other savory notes that add complexity to the wine. The wine has a fruity bouquet, with aromas of fresh blueberries and raspberries mixed with vanilla and oak.

Château Lyonnat Emotion, Lussac Saint-Emilion, 2016

The wine’s deep and intense ruby color is accented by a powerful nose with aromas of black fruits, blackcurrant, and darker berries. Notes of toasty oak lend complexity to an already complex bouquet. 

The wine’s aroma and flavor are bold, yet elegant. The woodsy scent of truffles lingers on the palate after each sip is swallowed.

Sparkling Options

If you’re serving a plain cheesecake without any additional toppings, consider pairing it with sparkling wine. This will add some sweetness to the dish, which can help balance out its tartness. For example, a sparkling white wine like prosecco is a great choice. It has a nice balance of sweetness and acidity, which will complement the cheese in the dessert.

You can also try Champagne or rosé if you prefer something bolder and more assertive; however, these wines aren’t as good at balancing out cheesecake’s flavors.

If you prefer sparkling wine, I’d suggest Prosecco. Here are some of the best:

Best Prosecco

Bottega ‘Gold’ Prosecco Brut

Critic tasting note: “Packaged in what looks like a solid gold bottle, this easy sparkler offers fresh acidity and clean fruit aromas. The gold packaging gives this particular bottle a sassy, luxurious competitive edge.” – 85/100Wine Enthusiast

Bisol Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore di Cartizze DOCG

Award tasting note: (2021 vintage) “Melon and pear drop foaming creation with a sweet edge and citrus balance.” – SilverInternational Wine Challenge

Masottina Prosecco di Treviso Brut

Prosecco isn’t generally expensive anyway but this one provides even more value. An absolute bargain given the quality of the wine on offer.

Award tasting note: “Clean, fresh, floral notes with lovely lime and citrus flavours on the palate. – Panel Chair: Clive Barlow MW , Co-Chair: Oz Clarke” – BronzeInternational Wine Challenge

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how to pair wine with cheesecake. Cheesecakes are a classic dessert that can be paired with different types of wine. From white to red, sweet to dry, there is something for everyone. My recommendation is Moscato because it is very complementary and easy to drink.

I would usually recommend a recipe at this point that you can try yourself. However, this is one case where I am going to recommend you go out and treat yourself at The Cheesecake Factory. I am in not affiliated with them but the sheer choice and quality on offer is outstanding. I go there once in a while just for the cheesecake.

If you enjoyed this post, please take a look at my post on the Best Wine for Pumpkin Pie and Best Wine with Chocolate.