Red Wine Poached Cherries

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This compote makes an easy but elegant dessert sauce to top ice-cream, cheesecake or drizzle over a Pavlova. Honey sweetened mascarpone cream would also be divine and I promise not to tell anyone if you enhance your morning yogurt with these boozy cherries.

I used Mt. Lehman winery’s Reserve Merlot and owner and wine-maker Vern suggested using their Three Amigos which has black cherry nuances.


1 ½ cup red wine

¼ cup golden brown or white sugar

1 Tbsp.vanilla bean paste 

1 cinnamon stick 

About 24 cherries, (300 gms or so) pitted and halved 

Optional add-ins are strips of orange zest, cardamom pods or black peppercorns, tied in cheesecloth and removed after cooking.  


Bring wine and brown sugar to a boil, add the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean paste and optional add-ins, if using.     

Continue cooking at a boil for 5-7 minutes, until mixture reduces and becomes slightly syrupy.  Reduce heat to simmer and add cherries.

Cook for another 5 minutes until cherries are softened. 

Cool and refrigerate leftovers, if there are any!