Are you the case study for the dessert stomach? You eat dinner as the socially acceptable prerequisite for eating dessert.

Personally, I’m a fan of desserts featuring fruit. I love the fresh, clean, palette cleansing sensation of rich berries in a flaky pastry, or atop some creamy, cold vanilla ice cream.

My favorite is when these berry desserts serve as a vehicle for the rich, spicy notes of a bold cabernet. I’m going to share a simple step-by-step recipe that will make sweet use of your favorite vino in red wine berry compote. In this recipe, fruit sugars, alcohol sugars, and just plain old sugar caramelize lightly in a fruit sauce bursting with complex notes of berry, vanilla and the unique profile of a wine of your choosing.

Prep time: 25 minutes

Servings: 4-6 servings

Difficulty: Easy


  • 1 cup of fresh blackberries
  • 2 pints of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 cups of fresh blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of pure cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir
  • 1 tablespoon of water

1.     Heat a small or medium saucepan to medium-high heat.

2.     Pour in blackberries with 1 tablespoon of water. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally to heat blackberries evenly.

3.     Add blueberries and sliced strawberries. Stir thoroughly to mix fruit. Cover, and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. The juices from the fruit will begin to form a liquid mixture as the fruit softens.

4.     Once the fruit is slightly soft, add 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved completely. A strong smell as the water cooks out the vinegar will greet you.

5.     The berries should be soft enough to mash up a little now. Using a fork or wooden cooking spoon, mash some of the blackberries and blueberries. This will help thicken the consistency and release some of the flavors and sugars.

6.     Add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract and stir thoroughly.

7.     Finally, at the end, add your 3 tablespoons of a spicy, bold cabernet or sweet, dry pinot noir. Let it simmer for another 2-3 minutes, and then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.

Enjoy in a pastry shell, over some pound cake, or in a bowl of French vanilla ice cream.