A dessert wine is a sweet wine that you can either enjoy while having a dessert or drink it instead of having a dessert. It is meant to be enjoyed in small glasses and the main difference between a dessert wine and some of its less sweet counterparts is its richness and intensity which makes drinking it an unforgettable experience.
Sparkling Dessert Wine
The high acidity present in most types of sparkling wines combined with the bubbly sensation is what makes this wine taste less sweeter than it actually is. If you get a chance to taste more of the different varieties, you will find out that certain grape varieties smell and taste sweeter than others. When shopping for a sparkling dessert wine, here are a few terms you should keep your eyes on:
- Amabile (slightly sweet in Italian)
- Semi Secco (off-dry in Italian)
- Demi-Sec (off-dry in French)
- Doux (sweet in French)
- Moelleux (sweet for some French wines)
Lightly Sweet Dessert Wine
Every wine that belongs to this category is refreshingly sweet and is the perfect company in long, hot days. They are great to pair with spicy foods, such as Indian and Asian cuisine. They are loaded with fruit flavours and make an excellent combination with vanilla and fruit-based desserts. Lightly sweet dessert wine is meant to be enjoyed fresh.
Richly Sweet Dessert Wine
Produced in a light style from the highest quality grapes and most richly sweet dessert wines can age over 50 years. This is because their sweetness and acidity preserve their fresh flavour. Some of these wines even have a historical importance like for example, Hungarian Tokaji (toe-kye) which was appreciated by the Tzars of Russia; the South African ‘Constantina’ was loved by the Dutch and English people and the Frech ‘Sauternes’ was the favourite of Americans in the early 1800’s.
Sweet Red Wine
Although the majority of sweet reds found on the market are designed for cheap commercial production, there are still some well-made historically sweet red wines that are definitely worth trying. Most of these awesome sweet reds are produced in Italy using esoteric grapes.
- Lambrusco – The region produces a refreshing wine that can be both sweet and dry in style. The sparkling wine usually features blueberry and raspberry flavours.
- Brachetto d’Acqui – It can be either a red or a rose bubbly wine produced with Brachetto grapes which are famous for their floral and strawberry aromas.
- Shiava – A rare wine variety from Alto-Adige that has a sweet smell of raspberry combined with cotton candy and it gives a refreshing touch to the mouth.
Fortified wines (when grape brandy is added to a wine) can either be dry or sweet and their alcohol content tends to be higher, about 17% to 20%. In addition, after being opened, fortified dessert wines have a longer shelf life.