How to Pair Wine With Cookies

Sweetness loves company


Man, with this winter being but a tease, I am doubtful that we’ll have enough time for all the required cookie baking of the season. The smell of freshly baked cookies, no the smell of a house full of freshly baked cookies, is one of winter’s small treasures. You know, you come in from the cold after you’ve been sledding or shoveling, and all you want is…what is that smell?

Holy deliciousness Batman, that’s freshly baked cookie! If you have a fire going you’re two for two. Now all you need is some sweet wine and your sweetie and you can curl up for a grand slam afternoon! Seriously folks, this is what makes life special. This is a whole article of smiles, so check out some of my favorite cookies and the wines that love them!

Photo courtesy KaiChanVong via Flickr/CC

Port and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Port is probably the best known dessert wine with its deep fruit and hints of chocolate and spice. At 20% alcohol, it’s perfect for warming you up after a long day outdoors.

It takes a pretty assertive cookie to stand up to the richness of Port, and for this pairing I’m thinking of a nice Late Bottled Vintage Port which has lots of youthful fruit in a rather edgy style. The oatmeal in these cookies helps round out the edges while the raisins serve as a flavor bridge between the port and cookie. And as for the white chocolate, well it certainly helps draw the fruit out of the wine and is so delicious that I figure why not just go for it!

Try Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Vintage Port


White Chocolate-Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Tokaji and Peanut Butter Cookies

Tokaji is one of my favorite dessert wines. The flavors tend to the orange and apricot marmalade end of the spectrum with nice earthy spice notes and pretty wicked acidity. At first it was tough to figure out what to pair a good Tokaji with, but then it hit me: try peanut butter cookies!

Most peanut butter cookies are rather simple, they taste like peanut butter and roastedness. This recipe features the addition of butterscotch bits, which happens to work with my favorite Tokaji wines since they tend to have a little oxidative edge. Another flavor bridge! Besides, peanut butter and Tokaji are two of my favorite things and I will not be denied!

Try: Royal Tokaji Wine Company 5 Puttonyos


Peanut Butter Cookies with Butterscotch Bits

Banyuls and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Believe it or not, this is a classic pairing. Okay, so not exactly this pairing, but if you do any research about Banyuls that includes drinking some, you’ll find out that this sweet wine, made from Grenache in the south west of France, is a chocolate lover’s dream. Let me rephrase that, it is chocolate’s dream!

I don’t know exactly why it works so well, but Banyuls seems to be a natural match for chocolate, yielding a pairing that is balanced and that lets the fruit and the wine compliment the richness of the chocolate without either obscuring any detail of the other. A match made in heaven, and since I’m choosing, heaven is made of large, thick, chewy, gooey chocolate chip cookies!

Try: Domaine de la Vieille Banyuls


Thick, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sauternes and Coconut Macadamia Cookies

Sauternes and Barsac tends to be a rather elegant wine, rich with apricot and tropical fruit and accent notes of honey, coconut, vanilla and spice. That sounds delicious, and also sounds like it might be difficult to pair with cookies. But it isn’t at all, you just need to think outside of the box a little.

This recipe features many of the flavors you might find in Sauternes, and the white chocolate adds a velvety richness that helps marry the wine to the cookie. I like the oats in here as well, adding a bit of density and heft to the cookie. The only thing that could make this pairing better is if you drizzled some salted caramel over these cookies. Time to get baking!

Try: Chateau Doisy-Vedrines Barsac


Coconut-Macadamia Nut Cookies

Moscato and Shortbread Cookies

Moscato is one hot wine these days, and while you might serve it chilled, that doesn’t mean you should cross it off your winter consumption list. In fact, good Italian Moscato is always a make-me-happy wine, and in the winter time simple treats like sugar cookies and shortbread cookies can make for a lovely dessert or enchanting snack while the fire is blazing.

Of course, if you want to jazz things up a bit you can get fancy with your spices, like someone has done with these delicious Orange Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies. Delicately but decisively flavored, these cookies mirror some of the subtle flavors that you might find in Moscato, making for an ideal complementary pairing.

Try: Bera Moscato d’Asti


Orange Hazelnut Shortbread Cookies

PX sherry and Gingerbread Cookies

PX, or Pedro Ximenez Sherry, is the pinnacle of sweet sherry. Deep and thick, these are wines that truly coat the palate with intense flavors of dried fruit, caramel and chocolate. There’s not much that you can put up against a PX and expect to survive. What you need is some spice!

Gingerbread cookies are often thought of as a nice base for tiny houses and jolly fellows whose arms are particularly tasty. The truth is, a good Ginger Snap will slap the happy right out of you if you’re not careful. These spicy cookies need a dance partner, and opulent, prodigious PX Sherry is the perfect match to parry Ginger Snap’s spicy advances.

Try: Toro Albala Don PX Gran Reserva Montilla Moriles (yes, I know it’s not technically Sherry, but it is great PX!)


Ginger Snaps

Vin Santo and Almond Biscotti

Now this is a classic. I don’t care where you’re getting your Santo: Tuscany, Santorini, Trentino, it’s all good! Just keep in mind that dipping your cookie in really good Vin Santo might not be the best use for it, but it will taste delicious.

These Orange-Infused Cherry Almond Biscotti are the perfect way to soak up simpler Vin Santo, just keep in mind that you are drinking dessert WINE, so don’t get carried away with the dipping. If you do, you’ll end with no more biscotti and a sugar high destined to crash like the Sands on the Las Vegas strip, and we all know how that turned out!

Try: San Felice Vin Santo


Orange-Infused Cherry Almond Biscotti

Want to Learn More?

Try out some savory meal pairing ideas in Pairing Syrah from Around the World!

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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: lise2g
    Hand of Snooth
    416222 17

    You should try cool climate Syrah with Ginger Spice Cookies. We held a Food Pairing Challenge last weekend for some Wine Club members, and Cheryl K. brought these cookies which tasted *fabulous* with our Syrah. The combination of the spices in the Cookies and the spices in the wine was really great. This dish was the runner-up Syrah Pairing (the overall winner was a Duck Rillette with Smoked Duck Leg, but since this was made by someone who happens to be a chef, it wasn't a truly fair contest).

    Mar 02, 2012 at 3:07 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,749

    Thanks for the suggestion! The duck pairing sounds divine, and I love me my gingersnaps so I'll make sure to try them with some Syrah soon!

    Mar 02, 2012 at 3:12 PM

  • Snooth User: Pansyford
    987539 35

    I recently made a flan that I served with an amazing Marsala from Sicily. The caramel in the flan really complemented the rich caramel flavors in the marsala wine. I recommend a high end marsala like the Marco di Bartoli that we had. I realize that flan is not a cookie, but a recipe with caramel bits instead of chocolate chips, for example, might be a delightful combination!

    Mar 02, 2012 at 3:14 PM

  • I see my favourite Gerwurtraminer paired with lovely chocolate laced macaroons (yum! ) yet sadly no recipe :(
    Now don't get me wrong, I am an equal opportunity cookie monster but truth be told coconut macaroons are likely my favourite (well in the top 3 ... or 5 -- dang! I just like cookies :)

    Many thanks for all of the brilliant pairings - I am certain that the field work was terribly bothersome...

    Mar 02, 2012 at 3:45 PM

  • I love fresh ground cardamom in Shortbread cookies and then making a traditional vanilla glaze and drizzling it over them. Ummmm!

    Mar 02, 2012 at 5:16 PM

  • I discovered vin santo and biscotti in Italy and fell in love! While everyone else was having panna cotta, I was indulging in my new favorite dessert. Now and then I'll treat myself and be transported back to my memorable vacation in Italy!

    Mar 02, 2012 at 8:42 PM

  • Snooth User: atonalprime
    Hand of Snooth
    157790 1,416

    This is a great article to have handy -- would be especially interesting to pair with specific Girlscout cookies, as it is prime season right now.

    Mar 02, 2012 at 10:14 PM

  • Snooth User: winetastinginLA
    Hand of Snooth
    498900 29

    There is a company called Cookies and Cork that have turned this wien/cookie pairing into a business. I prefer to dunk my cookies in milk.

    Mar 02, 2012 at 10:30 PM

  • Snooth User: winetastinginLA
    Hand of Snooth
    498900 29

    There is a company called Cookies and Cork that have turned this wien/cookie pairing into a business. I prefer to dunk my cookies in milk.

    Mar 02, 2012 at 10:30 PM

  • Snooth User: 64wine
    879222 83

    With a little Chardonnay left from dinner I picked up a limon shortbread girl scout cookie, an unexpected WOW

    Mar 03, 2012 at 11:50 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,749

    Thanks everybody for the great comments! I was thinking of doing the Girl Scout Cookie pairing thing, but I would have to get my hands on some of them first! What on earth pairs with Somoas!?!

    Mar 04, 2012 at 10:35 AM

  • Very interesting note, most illustrating, my few experiences with cookies and drinks, were chocolate chips and Merlot or Syrah, and after coffee cookies with Port, also I tried fruitcake with Late Harvest wines, but your information, in certain way completes the scene.

    Mar 07, 2012 at 7:05 PM

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