Best dessert wines for the holidays in 2023

Sunday, December 17th, 2023

best dessert wines for 2023 holidays

–Sweet, sticky dessert wines can make a great accompaniment to holiday dessert selections. After tasting several local dessert wines, these are our top recommendations.

Serve them after your holiday meal with a dessert or as dessert. They also pair wonderfully with cheeses. These wines make perfect holiday gifts from Paso Robles. Enjoy!

Top local dessert wine recommendations

Barr Estate 2013 Grande Finale – $30
This is a port-style blend of Torriga Nacional and Souzao. It has a full mouth feel, but with a light finish. Enjoy by itself or with chocolate, fresh berries, or ice cream. 19% alcohol. It earned a Double Gold and Best of Class fortified dessert wine at the 2022 Central Coast Wine Competition.

Halter Ranch 2021 El Pecado – $60
This wine showcases aromas of berry compote combined with hazelnut, molasses, mocha, and roasted coffee. It is a decadent dessert blend of 78% tannat and 22% grenache. The entry is sweet, soft, and rich, bursting with red fruit. The rich mid palate complemented by the residual natural sugars, creates an intense mouthfeel. The finish is soft yet structured. Pair with chocolate or coffee.

Midnight Cellars ‘Hanna & Joe’s’ Gemini Port – $68
bet dessert wine for 2023 holidaysThe dessert wine has aromas and flavors of dark cherries and chocolate with a hint of oak. It is 25% zinfandel, 25% petite sirah, 25% malbec, and 25% merlot. 14.5% alcohol. It was one of our favorites.

Paris Valley Road Estate Winery 2020 Fleur D-Orange – $40
This orange muscat wine is an experience from the moment you open the bottle to the last sip. The scent of orange zest and apricot fills you with excitement and anticipation for the sweet, candied orange flavors with a surprisingly acidic finish. 14.5% alcohol. No need to pair this dessert wine, sip, savor and enjoy!

Paso Port Wine Company Noel Port – $50 
This special Christmas blend has hint of sweetness on the nose and full fruity flavors on the tongue. No food is needed to enjoy this port. Best enjoyed on a cold night with friends and family. 19% alcohol.

Paso Port Wine Company Tawny Port – $52 
The brandy flavor blends seamlessly into hints of roasted hazelnut, caramel and orange peel. The smooth, silky textured wine hairs well with chocolate caramel tarts, rum cake and plum sauce. Aged for over 10 years. 20% alcohol. It earned a gold medal at the Central Coast Wine Competition.

Sculpterra J. Jagger Primitivo Port – $40
best dessert wine for 2023 holidaysThis port-style wine is packed with aromas of ripe fig, rich chocolate raspberry truffle, and toasted jam. This wine’s bouquet displays hints of caramel apple, licorice, and candied cherries, followed with a tender, sweet, and balanced finish. It was one of our favorites.

Vista Del Rey 2018 Barbera Dessert Wine — $30
Winemaker Dave King took a little barbera and made a dessert wine in a port style. The result is a superb and sticky dessert wine. It tastes like dark berries, dark chocolate, and spices. It is 19 percent alcohol and comes in a 375ml bottle. This was one of our favorites.


More local wine recommendations


Publisher’s note: For the 10th year in a row we thought it would be fun to recommend local wines for the holidays. Once again, we received an amazing amount of participation from our local wineries. Over the last two weeks, we received more than 150 entries. Fortunately, there were many solid, well-made wines to recommend. We have created several lists of top local wines into categories. The recommended wines above are in alphabetical order.

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