Ice cream with wine? You bet — and scotch, too

I’ve always argued that wine goes with pretty much everything. Crisp champagne with deep-fried chicken. Fruity pinot noir if you put ketchup on your burger, spicy zinfandel if you prefer mustard. Sweet, powerful red port with fudge brownies. You get the picture.

I do the wine recommendations for Linda Gassenheimer’s Food News & Views on Miami public radio station WLRN-91.3 FM, and she is always trying to stump me. On a recent week, when her guest was an ice cream expert, she thought she had me. I could just see her rubbing her hands: “Fred’ll never find a wine match for ice cream.”

Not so fast, Linda. I’ve done some serious homework, and there are all kinds of wonderful wine-with-ice-cream pairings. Here are some examples:

• Peach ice cream with 2006 Far Niente “Dolce” Dessert Wine, Napa Valley (80 percent semillon, 20 percent sauvignon blanc): golden amber hue, with intensely sweet flavors of oranges, honey, vanilla and pears. It’s $64 per half bottle.

• Rum raisin ice cream with Nonvintage Gonzalez Byass Pedro Ximenez “Dulce” Sherry, Andalusia, Spain: viscous, intensely sweet, with burnt sugar aromas and flavors of dried fruit, the wine tastes just like the raisins in the ice cream. In Spain, they pour it over the ice cream like chocolate sauce. It’s $18 per bottle.

• Strawberry ice cream with the 2011 Banfi “Rosa Regale” Brachetto d’Acqui red wine from Italy: soft and fizzy and sweet, with strawberry flavors of its own; $20.

• Double-chocolate ice cream with Nonvintage Cockburn’s Special Reserve Port, Portugal: powerful, fortified with grape brandy and very sweet, with black cherry and black plum flavors; a fabulous match for just $15.

• Orange gelato with the 2011 Paul Jaboulet Aine Muscat de Beaumes de Venise dessert wine: golden orange color, intensely sweet, with aromas and flavors of oranges, honey and cloves; $27.

• Lime sorbet with Nonvintage Domaine Ste. Michelle Extra Dry Sparkling Wine, Columbia Valley, Wash.: lightly sweet wine with golden delicious apple flavors. Chill the wine, put it in a blender with the sorbet and make yourself a smoothie. Top with ripe strawberry slices and mint leaves. It’s $11.

And just to show Linda I can do this with one hand tied behind my back:

• Coconut ice cream with Ty Ku Coconut Nigori Sake: the sake is sweet and silky, cloudy with rice and infused with coconut. Sweet with sweet, coconut with coconut. It’s $20.

• Reese’s Pieces Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Rogue Ales’ Chocolate Stout, Oregon: nearly black with a tall, tan head, the beer is infused with chocolate during the brewing process. Pour the stout, plop in two scoops of the ice cream and you have a dry and lightly alcoholic float; $6 per 22-ounce bottle.

And finally, scotch: Scoop a big bowl of vanilla bean ice cream and top it with a jigger of scotch — cheap scotch will do fine here — and a teaspoon of finely ground, dark-roasted espresso coffee beans. Counter-intuitive but delicious.

Fred Tasker writes about wine for the McClatchy News Service. He can be reached at

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