Fruitcake and Wine – The Pairing Challenge


Here in Seattle, the weather is still cold. This morning it was 45 when I woke up, and if we are lucky, it might get to 67.  It’s JULY!  However,  it feels more like December.  This weekend my husband and some friends and I had a fun winter type challenge, we needed to find the perfect wine pairing for a winter favorite- Fruitcake

Could it be done?

Is there a perfect wine pairing for everything?  It’s a challenge we have happily accepted!

We love throwing themed parties.  While everyone has their Fourth Of July themed parties, WE had a crazy wine paring party with fruitcake and wine!

The Fruitcake!

We were sent a variety of treats from Collin Street Bakery to find the perfect wine pairing for the wines that The California Wine Club sent us for our challenge.

Here’s the thing; I had never tasted fruitcake before, and I had NO idea what I was in for when I accepted this challenge. This was a wacky food challenge and while I am so thankful for the opportunity. This one was HARD!

Which wine would you have picked?

Fruitcake is a weird food to try to describe.  It wasn’t as sweet as I thought it would be. But it was sticky and soft, a weird texture but it grows on you.  I like the nutty balance with the jellied fruit.  I’d never tasted fruitcake before because it has strange reputation. It’s good though!

Collin Street Bakery has been making these fruitcakes for 122 years! They have perfected the art of fruitcake. Collin Street Bakery is just 50 miles south of Dallas, Texas and they know a lot about mail order food delivery because they have been sending cakes around the world for clients like John Ringling and his traveling circus troupe!

We all loved the chocolate dipped fruitcake the best!

These tiny cakes are packaged well for perfect gift giving! So when we received our package, I was delighted to find the cakes were still perfectly moist and fresh. We received the traditional fruitcake circle and chocolate coated fruitcakes.  I really liked the chocolate coated cakes the best.  But with the wine, each had a different flavor.

Finding the perfect pair

This challenge wasn’t easy. As I learned on my first bite, fruitcakes are naturally very sweet, and we had both chocolate covered, and the pecan topped fruitcakes to sample.  Not all of the wines made the best impression with the sweetness of the cakes. But we did our best to discover the best ones. And the more wine we drank, the easier it got!

Both of these wines paired very well with fruitcake.

The California Wine Club’s selections for the challenge

Here are the wines we sampled:

Margerum Wine Company  Amaro –  An Italian herbal liqueur.  It’s an excellent dessert wine.  But it is very bitter.

Conway Family Wines 2013 Deep Sea Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir – This one has notes of strawberry, smoke and cherry.  This was this was good with fruit cake, it brought out the smokey notes!

Prospect 772 Stepping Stones 2015 Santa Barbara County Grenache Blanc- This wine includes notes of grapefruit and old fashion orange marmalade. It’s also zesty with herbal notes of anise and tarragon.

Artem Wine Company 2017 Old Wagon Road Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton Sauvignon Blanc This was one of the favorites of the night. Paired with the fruitcake, th pineapple and stone fruit notes came shining through. My friend Aaron loved the hints of jalapeño that gave him the spice he was looking for. This is a crisp and clean wine.  It was perfect well-chilled!

Meyer Family Vineyards 2015 McLean Creek Road Vineyard Okanagan Valley Gewürztraminer This wasn’t what we expected! I love sweet wines. And I’ve had a few Gewürztraminers that were over the top sweet.  But this one is dry, and almost spicy.  After drinking this one, we were all talking about adding chili spice to the fruit cake.  It launched a great conversation about which fruits were good with spice.

VinRoc Wine Caves 2013 Atlas Peak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon This is a serious wine!  This wine has a subtle taste of currant fruit with elements of cocoa, black olives, espresso, tobacco and rooty spice, but this isn’t a light wine.  This is for the main show.

The California Wine Club chose all of these wines for this pairing.   While all of the wines were fantastic, not all of them were a good match with the sweetness of the fruitcakes.

Here were our winners!

The Artem Sauvignon Blanc and the Meyer Gewurtztraminer were the best pairings with both the chocolate covered fruit cake and the pecan topped fruitcake.

wine pair, fruitcake challenge,
The best pairs.

The Sauvignon blanc actually brought out the nutty taste of the cakes.  The wine has a light citrusy flavor, which is a perfect summer wine and when paired with the fruitcake, we loved the lighter taste.  Some of the other wines were great, but didn’t share the spotlight well with the fruitcake.

None of my friends had ever had fruitcake before, so this was a fun challenge for us.  We were surprised that it was actually nuttier than fruity, which went well with the wine.

The Gewurztraminer wasn’t as sweet as some I’ve had, which was perfect for this tasting. We noticed that brought out the sweetness of the fruitcake.

“It’s like a nutty cake pop!”

The cake’s nutty texture had a nice crunch and was a delicate balance with the sweetness of the wines and fruit. Moreover, it even made the Gewurztraminer have a zesty taste.  Which then made us think of how good the fruitcake would be with a little topping of chili spice.  YUMMY!

This was a fun challenge!

We all realized that fruitcake had gotten a bad reputation and perhaps we all judged it by the look and not the flavor or even the wine pairings!



  1. What a fun experiment! I’ve got to try that chocolate covered fruit cake. Thank you for sharing.

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