Most of the popular wines are bitter in taste, or dry, and are not very pleasant to drink for a beginner. That may not be everyone’s cup of tea…umm, glass of wine. It would be surprising to know that the most sought after wines in the world used to be sweet wines. Also famous wine regions, like Barolo, used to produce wines on the sweeter side. Sweet wines are available for beginners and serious wine connoisseurs alike.
Are you new to the world of wine? Here’s a beginners guide on learning about What Does Wine Taste Like!
What is Sweet Wine?
As with most cases regarding wine, there are thumb rules. But they don’t apply across the board hard and fast. Dry wine is generally considered to have at least 14% alcohol by volume. If the wine contains less than 10% alcohol by volume, it is considered to be a sweet wine.
Also, the residual sugar is also a factor in the sweetness of the wine. Dry wines generally have 0-3 grams of residual sugar per liter, after fermentation. Sometimes this can go up to 10 grams residual sugar per liter. If the wine has residual sugar in more quantity than that, it is considered to be a sweet wine.
From these thumb rules, we can see that various factors influencing the sweetness of the wine. The factors may vary from natural acid in the grapes used to make the wine to winemaker technique. Sweet wines are best made from grapes with high acid content. Sweet wines are generally thicker than other kinds of wine.
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Popular Types of Sweet Wines
Having its origins in Piedmont in Italy, Moscato is made from Muscat grape. The high sugar content in the Muscat grape produces a very sweet and easy to drink wine. Moscato wine has a slight fizz. Traditionally treated as a dessert wine, Moscato has the flavors of peach, nectarine, and orange which makes it very pleasant to drink.
Most popular Moscato wine brands are Klein Constantia, Saracco, Bartenura, Skinnygirl.
Origins of port wine is from Duro Valley in northern Portugal. It is a fortified wine, typically red, and is produced from distilled grape spirits. Even though a hundred varieties of grapes are sanctioned to produce port wine, the most desirable variety is Touriga Nacional. There are very many varieties of port wines available in the market.
Most popular port wine brands are Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca, Croft, Warre, Graham, Niepoort Colheita.
This variant is a dry, yet sweet, pink-colored white wine which was invented because of a stuck fermentation process. A fortuitous accident indeed! White Zinfandel is made from Zinfandel wine grape.
Sutter Home White Zinfandel is the market leader for White Zinfandel wines. Other popular brands are Low Hanging Fruit, Double Dog Dare, Canyon Oaks, Barefoot Cellar.
Riesling grapes are more commonly used to make sweet wines, although dry wines also can be produced. This wine is originated from the Rhine region, Germany. Sweet Riesling wines are white and have high natural acidity. Riesling wines have flavors such as lime, pineapple, peach, nectarine, and apple. It also has strong aromas of honey, honeycomb, beeswax, petrol, ginger.
Most popular Riesling sweet wines are Paradise Peak, Pacific Rim, Dr Loosen, Blue Vin.
Ice wine is produced from grapes frozen on the vine itself. Since the frozen grapes have very low water content, only the juice of grape remains. This results in a very sweet wine. Even though it is used as a dessert wine, the difficult production process makes ice wine rare and expensive. Ice Wine is mainly produced in Canada along with Germany.
The main ice wine brands are Inniskillin, Jackson-Triggs, Nigl Gruner Veltliner, Casa Larga, Hunt county, Weingut Markus.
Interested in Ice Wine? Check this article out where we go more in depth on the topic.
Sauternes is a French sweet wine originating from the Sautemais region in Bordeaux. It is made from Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes. The grapes which have undergone noble rot is used to make this variety of wine. It has a characteristic golden yellow tinge. Sauternes is a very rare and expensive variety of sweet wine.
The most popular Sauternes brands are d’Arche, Bastor Lamontagne, Coutet, Climens, Caillou.
Tokaji is the name for wines which are produced in the Tokaj wine region in Hungary or its neighbouring Slovakia. Majority of the wine produced from the Tokaj region are sweet wines. Tokaji sweet wines are also made from the grapes affected by Noble rot. There are six grape varieties which are approved for the production of Tokaji wines. A cool fact is that Tokaji wine finds mention in Hungarian national anthem.
The most popular Tokaji wine brands are Royal Tokaji, Beres, Dobogo, Disznoko.
Whether to be used as a dessert wine or for an unassuming cheerful evening, sweet wines are perfect companions. Sweet wines generally lack the sophistication around dry wines. This calls for use in a very casual and relaxed manner. Sweet wine can also be used to introduce wine to a friend or spouse who is not completely sold on wine. Whatever be the scenario, sweet wines are perfect for a relaxed, fun and unassuming fun.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out our main page Wine On My Time. Also if you like this article, be sure to leave a comment below and check these articles out while you’re at it on Beginner Wines You Need To Try and What is Fortified Wine.
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