This Sweet wines of the month sends you a new pair of sweet wines, featuring mostly white but also rosé, red, or sparkling.
Sweet wine is often defined as wine with over 20 g/L of residual sugar. From German Riesling to Italian Moscato wine to Hungarian Tokaji Aszu, sweet wines are crafted and consumed all over the world. Because our bodies crave sugar naturally, sweet white wine is one of the first styles wine novices tend to gravitate to, but there are a vast range of styles and plenty of sweet wine types that impress and tantalize wine connoisseurs as well.
Read our wine blog for some of the most popular styles, and what food to pair them with.
From Bordeaux’s renowned Sauternes to Moscato wine made in Southern Italy, sweet wines are made and enjoyed all over the world. White, red, and rosé, here are some of the most beloved sweet wine types and the regions they tend to come from:
Produced in Southern Italy, Moscato is made from the Muscat grape. A sweet, fruity wine with floral aroma of honeysuckle and orange blossom, Moscato may be still, frizzante, or sparkling. Moscato is also produced in a range of hues from white to red.
White Zinfandel is a sweet rosé wine made with red Zinfandel grapes. Like other rosé wines, White Zinfandel is produced by allowing grape juice a limited amount of skin contact time — red grape skins offer the white juice some color and tannic quality, resulting in a pink final product. The first rosé made from Zinfandel grapes is attributed to California's El Pinal Winery in 1869.
Germany’s most-grown white wine grape is Riesling, which creates wine exhibiting the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. Sweet Rieslings typically offer heady aromas with notes of citrus and orchard fruit. Often, subtle petrol character can add a delightful counterpoint to the wine’s honey notes.
Port is a Portuguese fortified wine, which means distilled grape spirit is added to the wine mid-fermentation. The result is a beverage that’s higher in alcohol and residual sugar content than normal. Ruby Port is deep red in color, often fruit-forward, with a lush viscosity. When aged in barrels, however, port will gradually oxidize. The result is Tawny Port, which is lighter in color, featuring nutty character and notes of caramel. Because of their richness and sweetness, Ruby and Tawny Port are typically drunk after dinner as dessert wines.
France’s Sauternais region in Bordeaux is revered for producing a sweet white wine called Sauternes. Sauternes is made from grapes that have been affected with noble rot, also known as botrytis cinerea. Noble rot is a grey fungus cultivated by vintners on certain white grape varietals (in the case of Sauternes, the wine grapes Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, and Muscadelle) in order to concentrate the fruit’s sugars and flavors. The result is a golden- to copper-colored wine that boasts notes of peaches, honey, and nuts and lands squarely on the sweet end of the wine sweetness chart.