What is Sweet Wine? All the DELICIOUS Details: Wine Guide

Have you ever had a sweet wine? If not, you’re missing out! Sweet wines like fortified Madeira used to be the most popular wines in the world.

Sweet wines are some of the most delicious beverages on the planet. But what is sweet wine exactly?

In this blog post, we will discuss what makes a wine sweet and some of the most popular sweet wines in the world.

We will also provide tips on how to select and enjoy a sweet wine.

What Is Sweet Wine?

what is sweet wine
Sweet wines have a much higher sugar content than table wines, and are often served as dessert wines.

Sweet wine is a type of wine that has high levels of sugar. The sugar content is not all fermented, leaving a syrupy, thick wine. The sweetest wines are dessert wines.

Sweet wines can be still, semi-sweet, or sparkling. They can also be white, red, or rose. Sweet wines are usually served as dessert wines, although they can also be enjoyed with fruit or cheese.

Sweet wines can be fortified, like Port, or created by rare and specialized fermentation processes, as is the case with ice wine, or Eiswein.

Read More: Dry vs Sweet Wine comparison and guide. Learn more about dry and sweet wines PLUS how to choose the right wine for your taste.

How Is Sweet Wine Made?

Sweet wines are made using a process called mutage, in which sugar is added to grape must (crushed grapes) before fermentation begins.

This sugar can come from fructose, glucose, or sucrose, and it acts as a food source for the yeast, allowing the fermentation process to continue without consuming all the sugar.

The resulting wine will be sweet, with a higher alcohol content than dry wines.

Read More: How to Remove Alcohol From Wine. Wondering if you can remove alcohol from wine for serving or cooking? Find out in this quick guide!

Different Styles of Sweet Wine

dessert wine
There are 3 types of sweet wines, and all are fantastic with dessert or alone.

There are several different styles of sweet wine, including dessert wines, fortified wines, and ice wines.

Read More: What is Still Wine? We answer this question and discuss everything you need to know about this common table wine!

Dessert Wines

Dessert wines are a type of wine that is sweet and often served with dessert. These wines can be made from a variety of grapes, including Moscato, Riesling, and Chenin Blanc.

Dessert wines are typically higher in sugar than other wines, and they may also have higher alcohol content.

When choosing a dessert wine, it is important to consider both the sweetness and the body of the wine.

For example, a lighter wine like Moscato will pair well with a light dessert like angel food cake, while a richer wine like Riesling will be a better match for a heavier dessert like apple pie.

No matter what your preference, there is sure to be a dessert wine that is perfect for you.

Read More: Riesling vs Moscato. Not sure which wine suits your palate? Find out in this complete comparison of Riesling and Moscato wines!

Fortified Wines

Fortified wines have spirits added like rum, brandy, or cognac added during or after the final fermentation. This stabilizes the wine and increases the shelf life of the bottle.

Fortified wines have additional flavor, thanks to the spirits, and can also be much sweeter.

The alcohol content is significantly higher than table wines or even regular sweet wines.

Port and sherry are two types of fortified wines that are very popular. While both are made using a similar process, there are some key differences between them.

Port is typically sweet and rich, with flavors that range from berries to dark fruits and caramel. Sherry tends to have a drier, more crisp taste.

Read More: Wine Grapes vs Table Grapes. Learn all about these types of grapes and how they’re used in wine-making!

Ice Wines

An ice wine, also known as an ice cider, is a unique type of wine that is made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine.

The resulting juice is intense and concentrated, packed with sweetness, color, and flavor.

Ice wines can be used to make flavorful and bold desserts or enjoyed on their own as a refreshing after-dinner treat.

In addition to being delicious, ice wines are also prized for their exclusivity.

Since ice wine grapes are left on the vine until they’re frozen solid, the risk of total harvest loss is great and the yield per acre is tiny.

For these reasons, traditionally made ice wine is an exclusive treat with a price tag that keeps it out of reach for most wine drinkers.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, don’t miss your chance to savor this delectable wine.

Read our related article on How to Serve Ice Wine for serving and pairing tips!

How To Choose and Enjoy Sweet Wine

Sweet Wine
Sweet wines have varying levels of sweetness from semi-sweet to dessert sweet.

When it comes to selecting and enjoying a sweet wine, there are several key factors to keep in mind.

First, your choice of varietal will play an important role.

Some grapes, such as Riesling or Chenin Blanc, tend to be naturally sweeter and may offer a more straightforward approach to sugar content.

However, other grapes make superb sweet wines when fermented with the appropriate level of sugar, such as Muscat Blanc or Grenache d’Alsace.

Another key consideration when selecting a sweet wine is aging.

Many sweet wines are often best enjoyed young for their fresh fruit flavors and high acidity, although some wines can develop nuances through gradual exposure to oxygen over time.

Finally, pay attention to texture and structure when tasting different wines.

This can make all the difference between an exceptionally sweet beverage and one that tastes somewhat cloying or heavy-handed.

For these reasons and more, choosing and enjoying a sweet wine can be both a delicious adventure and a rewarding learning experience.

Read More: Is Grenache Sweet? If you’re new to grenache, you may wonder about its flavor profile. We answer this question and MORE in our guide!

3 Best Sweet Wines Of 2022

Wine lovers rejoice! The year 2022 is shaping up to be a great year for sweet wines.

Here are 3 of the best sweet wines that are sure to please your palate:

1. Chateau d’Yquem: This legendary wine is produced in the Sauternes region of France and is renowned for its honeyed sweetness and complex flavor profile.

2. Vouvray Moelleux: This sweet wine from the Loire Valley is made from Chenin Blanc grapes and is known for its delicate sweetness and refreshing acidity.

3. Tokaji Aszu: This Hungarian dessert wine is made from Furmint grapes and is prized for its rich sweetness and unique flavor profile.

These are just three of the many amazing sweet wines that will be available in 2022 and are surely worth adding to your collection.

We hope you’re inspired to explore the world of sweet wine! You’re sure to find something that you’ll love.

Wrap Up

Many of the world’s most esteemed wines are sweet.

From the botrytized dessert wines of Sauternes to the luscious late-harvest Rieslings of Germany, sweet wine can be complex, well balanced, and incredibly delicious.

So if you’re looking to branch out beyond your usual dry wines, don’t be afraid to give sweet wine a try. You might just find your new favorite bottle.

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