While pairing wine with something as sweet as our dates is a little out of the ordinary, there is a way to crack the code and make it work. Ideally, sweet foods should be paired with a wine that is slightly sweeter, but matching textures can work as well. Also, there are plenty of ways to enjoy dates as a component of a dish as opposed to on their own, so that qualifies as well. Let’s look at some possibilities, and have some fun trying them out!
Medjool dates on their own are rightly called ‘nature’s candy’: sweet, gooey and decadent, they don’t need much embellishment to realize their perfection. Here are some of our favorite pairings, straight up and simple:
Lustau Pedro Ximenez Jerez (Sherry)
Sherry is a much overlooked fortified wine from the south of Spain. Even though you know it as a sweet drink, it has many styles and levels of sweetness. The Pedro Ximenez (pronounce the ‘X’ as an ‘H’) grape is a component of most sherry’s, but on its own it is a real standout that has a lot of similarities to Medjool dates. Its predominant flavor profile is of dried fruit, fruitcake, prunes, figs and raisins, so you can understand how we would come to this conclusion. While sweetness levels vary, the Lustau version is quite sweet, and should be enjoyed at dessert. Chill to around 50-55˚F, and add some blue cheese to the plate and you’ve got a sure winner!
Sonoma Pinot Noir
Dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon: these decadent morsels cover the gamut of flavor sensations – sweet, savory, salty and tangy, so it necessitates a wine that can handle a lot of different angles. We love this particular pairing with La Crèma Pinot Noir from Sonoma in California – the wine itself is dry, but there’s something about pinot noir that really captures the essence of just about every kind of food you can throw at it. Best of all – it’s widely available, so you won’t have to look too far. It’s highly textured and rich, just like the dates and the other elements of this yummy appetizer. In fact, you’ll find that many pinot noirs are described as having notes of bacon and dried fruit, so there’s the parallel you need to draw that line. Our favorite from La Crema is the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, but anything you can get of theirs will do nicely!
Sparkling Wine or Champagne
Bubby is a no-brainer too, but look for something with a little bit of residual sugar to offset the richness of the dates. Veer away from Brut and instead look for a bubbly that is labelled ‘extra dry’ or ‘demi sec’. Our favorites include Schramsberg Cremant Demi-Sec, a creamy sparkling wine made in Napa Valley, or if you can’t find that in your local store (they do deliver though!), try for Mumm Cuvee Napa’s ‘Cuvee M’ or Mumm Champagne ‘Le Demi Sec’.
So if you’re wondering how you wine lovers can work Naked Dates into your soiree, we hope we’ve given you some food for thought! We consulted sommelier Astrid Young for the tips, and we can’t wait to hear how you enjoyed trying them out!
Learn More About Naked Dates
If you would like to learn more about our organic Medjool dates, browse our site or drop us a line today. If you’re in the Yuma area, make a point of dropping by. Our farm store is the only place to buy specialty products like date soap, date soda and date beer! Until then, stay healthy and eat more dates!