Dessert Wine What Experience

Dessert Wine: Why It’s Different From Other Wines and How to Pair It

In the minds of many, the word “dessert wine” conjures up images of syrupy concoctions that leave a bitter taste in the mouth. For after all, in today’s health-conscious age of low-sugar wines, keto diets, and carb-free living, who wants to drink a cloyinglysweet wine that may send your insulin levels skyrocketing and leave a sticky feeling on your tongue for hours after you’ve finished your glass? (It’s possible that there are a handful of you out there.) While the increasing popularity of dry wines (that is, wines that are not sweet) might appear to spell the end of sweet wines, this is not necessarily the case.

To that end, please allow us to provide you with some background information about dessert wine and how it differs from other types of wines.

What IsDessert Wine?

Dessert wine may be defined as any wine that is consumed during or after dessert in its broadest meaning. Dessert wine, to be more exact, is often sweet, has a distinct taste, and has a higher alcohol concentration. For example, Port, Madeira, Sherry, and late-harvest wines are all examples of late-harvest wines. Traditionnal dessert wines having an alcohol content of more than 15 percent by volume (ABV). Nonetheless, low-alcoholdessert wines with less than 10% alcohol by volume (ABV) are available, such Muscadet, Moscato d’Asti, and Brachetto d’Acqui.

  • In other words, the amount of sugar that is left over after the fermentation process has taken place.
  • A variety of methods were used by winemakers to create essert wines.
  • It might be created from late-harvest grapes that have been allowed to raisinate and increase in sugar content as a result of being kept on the vine for a longer period of time.
  • Alternatively, it may be sweetened by fortification, resulting in the production of fortified wines.
  • While most dessert wines are on the sweeter side, there is a wide range of styles available under the category of dessert wines.

To be clear, dessert wines are not merely sweet, one-trick ponies, as you may have previously believed. They are deserving of a lot more recognition than that.

What to Look for inDessert Wine

Dessert wines, as previously said, are available in a variety of sweetness levels and are available in both red and white wines. Enjoying these mouthwatering sippers with dessert or as dessert in and of itself is recommended. Furthermore, it’s important to note that dessert wines are designed to be served in little wine glasses, similar to the way you’d sip on a snifter of whiskey or bourbon. (Although we must admit that we are great supporters of single-serve wine bottles that eliminate the need for a glass entirely.) If you desire a sweet dessert wine, you will get a sweet dessert wine.

Keep an eye out for the following descriptors:

Different Types ofDessert Winesand Food Pairings

While there are a plethora of wines that may be enjoyed with dessert, the ones that are featured below are the best examples of the genre. In order to avoid any unpleasant aftertaste when matching wine with sweet dessert, it’s recommended to pick a wine that is sweeter than the dessert itself. According to our enthralling guide on acidity in wine, sugar increases acidity, which is why dry wines taste harsh and sharp when served with sweet meals. With that in mind, here are many varieties of dessert wines, as well as delectable food combinations, that may enhance the flavor and overall experience of your dessert.


Despite the fact that it is best known as a sweet red wine, this fortified wine from Portugal is available in a variety of flavors ranging from deep reds to dry white and dry rosé varieties. Chocolate cake, chocolate truffles, and salted caramel desserts are all wonderful pairings for the sweetly complex redtawny port and ruby port. Serve the white or roséport wines with stone fruit, strawberry angel food cake, or lemon meringue pie to complement the flavors of the wine.


Madeirais is a fortified wine produced in Portugal’s Madeirais region, and it is renowned for its nutty, brown sugar, and burned caramel flavors. This amber-hued wine may be enjoyed on its own after a dinner, or paired with sweets like as astoffeepudding, tiramisu, or spicy treats such as chocolate truffles coated with cayenne pepper.


Known for its honeyed aromas of apricot, peach, butterscotch, and caramel, this cherished (and frequently expensive)sweet wine from France’s Sauternais area inBordeaux is much sought after. Sauternesis one of the “noble rot wines,” which include TokajiAszu wine from Hungary and SpätleseRieslings from Germany. It is prepared from grapes that have been damaged by the botrytis cinereafungus. (This fungus, which sounds disgusting, increases the sweetness of grapes while also imparting a honeyed flavor and aromatic quality.) Served with fresh and dried fruit, as well as heavier sweets such as crème brulee, cheesecake, and custards, Sauternes is a fantastic dessert option.


This fortified wine comes from the country of Spain. Sherry is often served as an aperitif before a meal; however, why not try it after a hearty dinner when you’re looking to wind down?

Fruit sweets like Pedro Ximénez are great accompaniments to crème brulee, vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate anything, or just enjoyed on their own as an after dinner treat.


This delicious sparkling wine from Germany is available in a variety of sweetness levels. Its inherent acidity helps to cut through the sweetness of the dish, making it a wonderful companion to a cheese course or cheesecake after dinner. Serve a sweeter Spätlese with citrus-based sweets such as lemon pound cake or lemon cream pie if you have a sweeter Spätlese on hand. Pear tarts and sorbet are also delicious desserts that go together like peanut butter and jelly.


Another rot wine of distinction, the tongue-twisting Gewürztraminer is a sweet, fragrant wine from the Alsace region of France that has a pleasant sweetness to it. With its lovely floral and lychee overtones, this exquisite white wine pairs perfectly with any dessert that has lychee, pear, or peach as one of the major components, such as ice cream.


In addition to being known as Muscat Blanc in its native country of Italy, Moscato is an extremely popular white wine that has built a name for itself owing to the three F’s that best characterize its character: fizzy, fruity, and flowery. This dessert wine is perfect for enjoying on a spring day or a late summer evening. It is also incredibly flexible. You might serve it with poached pears, grilled peaches, fruit tarts, nutty treats such as biscotti, or whatever else you choose.

Ice Wine

Ice wine, also known as Eiswein in German, is a particular sort of wine that is made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. Due to the frigid environment required for the production of this dessert wine, it can only be produced in Germany and Canada. (It’s also one of the reasons why it’s a somewhat expensive wine.) Consider matching the red grape type with chocolate desserts and the white grape variety with blue cheeses and cheesecake if you have the choice between the two.

It’s Time for Dessert in a Glass

Following your education on dessert wines, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to use in a variety of real-world scenarios. Dessert wines, like any other type of wine, are characterized by a wide range of tastes and characteristics. Despite the fact that there are several “rules” associated with wine consumption, the basic line is that you are free to set your own guidelines. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a bottle of dry sparkling Brut or wonderfully crisp rosé to accompany those funfetti cupcakes you just brought out of the oven.

Who knows what will happen?

That’s the beauty of wine: no matter how you enjoy it, it is one of life’s joys that makes everything else a little bit easier to swallow.

The Ultimate Guide To Dessert Wines + Infographic!

“I prefer any sort of wine, but it needs to be dry,” says the author of the book. The popularity of dry wines has soared in recent years, maybe as a reaction to the era of White Zinfandel and Blue Nun that characterized the wine business in the past. Dessert wines, which are some of the most historically significant, complex, and long-lived wines on the planet, are hardly on the radar of most wine enthusiasts because of the passionate aversion to sweet wines that exists. Dessert wines, on the other hand, should not be overlooked; they should be utilized to enrich the post-dinner experience.

The process of utilizing the wine to enhance the dessert and vice versa can result in some truly amazing combinations of flavors.

These wines range from less sweet to more sweet, from light to super-boozy, and from best when consumed young to best when matured for decades. As a result, we’ve compiled the best guide to dessert wines that will satisfy each palate and any occasion.

Fortified Wines

Fortified wines, one of the most historically significant categories of wine, are produced by adding grape spirit (brandy) to a wine during or after fermentation, depending on whether the winemaker wishes the finished wine to be dry or sweet. Fortified wines are produced in two ways: during fermentation or after fermentation. Wine that has been fortified before fermentation has ended will be sweet because there will still be sugar in the wine itself, but a wine that has been fortified after fermentation will be dry because there will be no sugar in the wine itself.

Wine drinkers — mostly the English – learned to like the style, and the technique became established.


Sherry is one of the world’s coolest and most flexible dessert wines, yet it is typically avoided by wine enthusiasts because it might be scary to drink. The reason for this is that sherry, which is produced in a variety of various styles in the hot, southern Spanish area of Jerez, has a variety of personalities rather than a single one. There are three types of grapes that may be used to make Sherry: Palomino Fino, which accounts for the vast bulk of the country’s Sherry production, Pedro Ximénez (often known as “PX”), and Moscatel.

However, despite the fact that there are several Sherry classifications, the most straightforward method is to divide them into two categories: dry versus sweet, and oxidative against non-oxidative.

They should be enjoyed young and should not be stored for long periods of time.

In the middle there’s dry, semi-oxidative/semi-biological Sherry, such as Amontillado and Palo Cortado, which exhibit traits of both types while also having the capacity to mature.

Finally, there are the sweet, oxidative varieties such as Cream, Moscatel, and Pedro Ximénez, all of which have tremendous sweetness, fig-like tastes, and, in the case of Pedro Ximénez, the ability to age if properly produced.


Port, like Sherry, is available in a range of style categories, but unlike Sherry, Port is always sweet and is primarily made from red wine grapes. Port is primarily prepared using the indigenous grape Touriga Nacional, which is grown on terraced vineyards in Portugal’s Douro River Valley, as well as other local supporting grapes. Even though traditionally, Port was vinified in the Douro Valley and then matured downriver in the legendary Port houses of Vila Nova de Gaia, across the river from Porto, many smaller wineries are now opting to age their Port in the same location where it was originally vinified: the Douro Valley.

These include Late-Bottled Vintage (LBV) Ports and Vintage Ports, while LBV Ports and Vintage Ports have far greater concentration and complexity, and will benefit tremendously from bottle aging.

Colheita Tawny is the vintage form of this kind of Port wine, although while the wine may have been matured for a lengthy period of time at the winery, it will not benefit from additional bottle aging in most cases.


If Madeira were to be found in Westeros, it would unquestionably be among the Iron Islands, as it, too, adheres to the motto “What is dead may never die,” which means “What is dead may never die.” As a result of the fact that it has already been practically destroyed, this zombie wine from the warm island of the same name off the Moroccan coast (although it is nominally a Portuguese territory) is the most ageable of all wines.

See also:  How To Serve Raspberry Dessert Wine

The vinification process producing Madeira requires frequent heating and purposeful oxidation, two phenomena that are normally associated with the spoilage of fine wine.

It fluctuates in sweetness from drier to sweeter (in order of grape variety), and a bottle called Rainwater is often a mix with a medium level of sweetness.

Madeiras are responsible for many of the world’s oldest bottles of wine remaining in existence; they may endure for millennia and can be left open and out of the fridge for virtually an endless period of time.


Even though Marsala is commonly thought of as a basic cooking wine, it really has a lengthy history and is considered one of the world’s “big three” fortified dessert wines, alongside Sherry, Port, and Madeira, among other things. Marsala is the name of the region in which this fortified wine is produced, which is located around the city of Marsala in the northwestern corner of the island of Sicily and is known for its production of fortified wines. In most cases, it is created from white grapes, however red and ruby variants are available.

Depending on when the wine is fortified during fermentation and whether or not a cooked grape must called mosto cotto is added, the style of Marsala can range from dry to sweet.

This oxidative aging is responsible for the amber colour of Marsala, as well as the rich tastes of nutty, caramel-like, honeyed, and dried fruit.

If you want the best, expect to pay more (read: if it’s less than $10, you probably won’t want to drink it!). Look for bottles branded semi-secco or dolce to assure that you’re getting a sweeter variety.

Rutherglen Muscat

The region of Rutherglen Muscat is steeped in history, with many of the region’s producers hailing from the fourth or fifth generation of winemaking. While ultra-sweet, fortified wine may not be the first thing that comes to mind when picturing the landscape of Australian wine, Rutherglen Muscat has a long and rich history. In this hot area of Victoria, some three hours northeast of Melbourne, the reddish-skinned white grape (yes, really!) Muscat Rouge à Petits Grains is allowed to ripen on the vine for the majority of the harvest season, allowing the grape to develop sugar.

The result is a deep dark wine with robust flavors of raisin and prune, burned caramel, coffee, roasted almonds, and other fruits.


Banyuls is a dessert wine that is a match made in heaven for those who are die-hard, no-excuse red wine enthusiasts out there. Produced mostly from Grenache grapes in France’s southernmost wine appellation, Banyuls is evocative of young Ruby Port, but with a fuller-bodied red wine flavor. It is produced in France’s southernmost wine appellation, Banyuls, which is quite near to the Spanish border. Banyuls is a fruit-driven wine, despite the fact that it has been matured in barrel. It has strong aromas and flavors of cooked red berries, prunes, and spice, as well as a pronounced tannic structure.

Late-harvested/Noble rot wines

Quite simply, late-harvested wines are those produced from grapes that have been allowed to ripen on the vine until later in the harvest season, allowing them to become extremely ripe and to accumulate significant amounts of sugar. A kind of late-harvest wine, noble rot or botrytized wines are produced when healthy grapes are attacked by a fungus called Botrytis cinerea, which punctures grape skins and causes them to dry, concentrating flavors, sugar and acidity. Botrytis frequently incorporates its own distinct tastes, such as ginger, citrus essence, and honey, into the final product.


In spite of the fact that Riesling is often associated with low-cost, sweet wines, the grape is actually one of the most versatile in the world, capable of producing bone-dry, enamel-stripping wines, lusciously-sweet, high-quality, super-expensive wines, and everything in between. Riesling is planted in many parts of the world, but it is particularly well-suited for making sweet wines in Germany, where the legal quality hierarchy for wines, known as the Pradikat system, is actually based on the quantity of sugar present in each grape at harvest.

Fully botrytized wines (Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese) have a lusciously sweet, orange blossom-like, honeyed richness.

In addition to making excellent ice wine Riesling, Austria also uses the Pradikat technique to produce Riesling, and Canada is also generating great ice wine Riesling.

In general, all of these Rieslings have a low alcohol content, with the sweetest wines having an alcohol percentage in the single digits and an age in the double digits for the sweetest wines.


However, regardless of whether you agree or disagree, it is undeniable that Sauternes is one of the world’s most prized and expensive sweet wines, and that it is one of the world’s most expensive sweet wines. It is the gold standard when it comes to botrytis-affected wines, and it is created from the easily-attacked Sémillon grape, as well as Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle, and it is the most expensive. In this region of Bordeaux, winemakers visit across vineyards on a number of different occasions, collecting only noble rot-affected grapes as the fungus grows.

Dried fruit, saffron, honey, orange, golden apple, crème brulee, and many more flavors develop in the bottle and in the glass over time, maturing for years and years after the vintage is harvested.


Who would have imagined that Hungary would produce one of the world’s most celebrated sweet wines? Tokaji (not to be confused with its locality, Tokaj) is a wine created from the Furmint grape, which is strong in acidity and highly vulnerable to botrytis. It is most known for itsaszversion, which is prepared from late-harvested, shriveled, botrytis-affected grapes gathered in containers known asputtony. In addition to being very sweet, these barrel-aged Tokaji Asz wines are low in alcohol, have a thick mouthfee, and are frequently heavily honeyed.

It is arguably the sweetest wine on the planet, is extremely uncommon, may mature for more than a century, and is normally sold by the teaspoonful in small quantities.

Late-harvest Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc, cultivated in its various Loire Valley appellations, is another of those grapes that everyone knows, yet whether it’s dry or sweet, light or full-bodied, still or sparkling, it’s always extremely Chenin Blanc. Despite being the most well-known Chenin appellation in the Loire Valley, Vouvray can range from dry to sweet in a single location; the designations demi-sec, moelleux, and liquereux will indicate the presence of residual sugar. Sweet Chenin Blanc, on the other hand, achieves its apex in the Coteaux du Layon area of France, where grapes are harvested late in the season in many passes through the vineyard.

With the addition of the subregions of Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume, the wines acquire notes of golden apple, honey, wool, and orange blossom that are highly sought after.

Dried Grape Wines

Chenin Blanc, cultivated in its numerous Loire Valley appellations, is another of those grapes that everyone knows, yet whether it’s dry or sweet, light or full-bodied, still or sparkling, it’s always extremely Chenin-esque. Despite being the most well-known Chenin appellation in the Loire Valley, Vouvray may range from dry to sweet in a single location; the designations demi-sec, moelleux, and liquereuxall indicate the presence of residual sugar. But it is in the Coteaux du Layon area where sweet Chenin Blanc finds its zenith, when grapes are harvested late in the season after passing through several passes through the vineyard.

With the addition of the subregions of Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume, the wines develop notes of golden apple, honey, wool, and orange blossom that distinguish them from the others.

The quantity of sugar in these wines allows them to continue to develop with time, becoming smokier and more fascinating as time goes by.

Vin Santo del Chianti

The wine known as “holy wine” may be found in numerous parts of Italy (as well as a Greek variation), but this particular variety from the heart of Tuscany is the most well-known. In addition to being fermented in small oak or (traditionally) chestnut barrels, Vin Santo del Chianti undergoes extensive barrel aging: between three and eight years, depending on the variety of grapes used and the amount of barrel aging. The wine is amber in color and made from Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia grapes that are hung in whole bunches from rafters.

Do you want to try the most classic combination with Vin Santo?

Recioto della Valpolicella

Its sweet red wine, Recioto della Valpolicella, is in line with the legendary red wines of this region in the Veneto. It is created from dried Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes, and it is produced in the same manner as the region’s famous red wines. Traditionally, grapes are dried on straw mats or in lofts called fruttai, which guarantee that air flows through the grapes during the drying process, preventing mold from forming on the grapes themselves. Recioto producers will normally allow the wine to ripen until the alcohol concentration reaches around 14 percent alcohol by volume, after which they will cool the wine to halt fermentation and leave residual sugar in the wine.

Fun fact: According to folklore, the world-renowned Amarone Della Valpolicella was born after a Recioto grower made the mistake of allowing his wine to ripen to dryness!

Understanding Sweet Wines: How to Become a Dessert Wine Aficionado

Wining and dining is synonymous with affluent prosperity. Because of its strong link to religion, mythology, and tales, it has risen to the top of the list of the most popular alcoholic beverages of all time. Although it represents whole areas and territories, it is also closely connected to each and every individual on the planet, participating in the triumphs and misfortunes of every human being. We adore wine; we talk about it, we drink it, and we toast with it, and as a result, we value every glass of wine that we consume in celebration of life that we consume.

Sweet wines are a sort of wine that allows us to delve into the realm of sweetness and wine delicacies to a greater extent than any other.

All about Sweet Wines

A section dedicated to dessert wines exists despite the fact that there are many different classifications. Dessert wines are those that have a high sugar content and are commonly eaten after a meal. In addition, they are famous for the fact that they often contain a high concentration of alcohol. There are also alternative options available that do not include a significant percentage of ethanol. The sugar content of wine can range from 50 grams per liter of liquid to more than 400 grams per liter of liquid, depending on the variety.

Dessert wines can be produced with the use of alcoholic fortification, in which case they are classified as fortified wines, and as a result, not everyone is able to distinguish between the two types of wine.

We’ve collected a brief list of wines that you might wish to keep on hand if you’re planning to provide them as an after-dinner beverage for your guests’ convenience.


It is known as Passito, a wine created from dehydrated grapes that has a high alcohol concentration and has captured the hearts of thousands of palates throughout history, and it is today considered to be one of the most highly sought-after wines in the world. When the first Greek immigrants arrived in Sicily, they brought the vines and winemaking skills that are used to produce Passito with them. Passito wine is a naturally sweet wine that, as a result of the fermentation process, develops particular qualities that distinguish it from other wines of the same style.

  • A number of factors contribute to its sluggish fermentation process, including a high concentration of residual sugars
  • The amount of time it spends maturing in barrels (between 3 and 4 years in barrels)
  • And its high residual sugar content. This product has a high quantity of ethanol.
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This technique produces a passito wine with an alcohol concentration ranging from 14 percent to 18 percent, resulting in a full-bodied beverage that contains a significant amount of alcohol.

Botrytized Wines

Botrytis-infected grapes are used to make sweet wines, which are referred to as noble rot sweet wines or botrytis sweet wines, depending on how severe the botrytis infection was. No one knows where or when these wines first appeared or how long they have been produced using this approach, which makes it difficult to determine their origins or longevity. These wines have been there since the mid-16th century in Hungary’s Tokaji area, according to historical sources. These three places have historically produced some of the world’s greatest sweet botrytis wines, and they continue to do so today.

This notion has been carried over to the New World, where we may find instances of these wines in nations such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States, to name a few examples.

Late-Harvest Grapes

Because they are powerfully flavored and aromatic wines, they should be served extremely cold, between 6 and 8 degrees Celsius. For whatever reason, white grapes are used to manufacture the vast majority of these wines, however red grapes can be used in certain instances. Although the fragrances differ according on the grape variety utilized, they are often flowery and fruity in nature. They are thicker than other white wines and have a particular taste character that distinguishes them. Knowing that due of the high sugar content in late-harvest wines, they may be stored for an extended amount of time is important before purchasing them.

Ice Wine

Incredibly refreshing and defying all traditional criteria and procedures, ice wine is a wine that should not be missed. Despite its low price, it is not a wine to be taken lightly. When it comes to wine, the vineyard is where the magic happens, and this is even more true in the case of ice wine, which is produced in small batches. When grapes are picked under certain climatic circumstances that do not occur every year, they are transformed into ice wine, which is then manufactured under tight quality control standards to preserve its freshness.

This product has piqued the curiosity of a large number of consumers.

To say that ice wines are sweet wines would be an understatement; they may even be termed miraculous due to the fact that they are created in such severe conditions that it would look impossible to manufacture them on purpose on the surface.

Fortified Sweet Wine

In the first place, these wines are fantastic selections when it comes to combining with chocolate. In contrast, cigar fans believe that their combination is a powerful elixir that can be enjoyed by everybody. The reality is that they are both powerful and contain a high proportion of alcohol, regardless of whether they are dry or sweet. If we were to try to define fortified wines, we might say that they are those that have had wine alcohol added to them. By using this method, you may effectively halt fermentation.

Wine will be created that will be either more or less sweet depending on when the winemaker decides to proceed with the procedure and when the grapes are harvested.

If the wine is created near the conclusion of the fermentation process, on the other hand, it will be drier in taste.

How to Pair Sweet Wine and When to Drink It?

This group of wines is, first and foremost, ideal alternatives for matching with chocolate. In contrast, cigar fans believe that their combination is a powerful elixir that can be enjoyed by everyone. The reality is that they are both powerful and contain a high quantity of alcohol, regardless of whether they are dry or sweet in flavor. We may define fortified wines as those that have had wine alcohol added to them if we want to give them a specific description. By using this method, you may put an end to fermentation.

Wine will be created that will be either more or less sweet depending on when the winemaker decides to proceed with the procedure and how long the process is allowed to continue.

If the wine is created near the conclusion of the fermentation process, on the other hand, it will be drier in flavor.

Dessert Wine Decoder (Infographic)

In the first place, these wines are fantastic alternatives when it comes to serving with chocolate. In contrast, cigar fans believe that their combination is a powerful elixir. The reality is that they are both powerful and contain a high proportion of alcohol, whether they are dry or sweet. We may define fortified wines as those that have had wine alcohol added to them if we strive to give them a formal description. By using this method, you may effectively stop the fermentation process. As a result of fortification, a wine with high amounts of alcohol (usually approximately 20 percent by volume) as well as varied proportions of residual sugar is produced.

If the wine is topped off quickly after fermentation has commenced, a significant amount of sugar will remain in the wine. If the wine is created near the conclusion of the fermentation process, on the other hand, it will be drier. Both white and red variations of these wines are available.

What is dessert wine?

Dessert wines are distinguished by the time of the meal during which they are most appropriate for consumption. While the majority of dessert wines are sweet (as you’ll see in the section below), there are also some traditional dessert wines that are prepared in a dry (rather than sweet) manner. By categorizing and classifying dessert wines based on their winemaking methods, you’ll be able to taste wines that are comparable in flavor and aroma, even if they come from various geographical locations.

The different styles of dessert wine

Even though late harvest wines come in a variety of styles, the basic principle of allowing the grapes to dry out and become sweeter is what distinguishes this category from others. The late harvest style can be achieved with nearly any variety, from Chardonnay to Zinfandel, but you’ll discover that there are a few types that are more commonly used in this style than others. There are numerous winemaking procedures that may be used to produce diverse tasting wines in the late harvest style category.

  1. Noble Rot is a term used to describe a type of decay that is noble in nature.
  2. Grapes that have been dried Dried grape wines may be made in a variety of ways and with a variety of styles.
  3. Ice Wine is a type of wine that is served chilled.
  4. This is responsible for the sweetness in wines.
  5. Learn about wine with the Wine 101 Course ($29 value).
  6. Read on to find out more


When making dessert wine, fortification is one of the techniques that is used, which involves the addition of spirits to the wine. The alcohol used are generally grape brandy, which has a clear, neutral flavor. You’ll see that the addition amounts of spirits range from a few percentage points to almost 30 percent of the whole mix. Not only does this increase the alcohol content of the wine, but it also prevents the wine from fermenting, allowing the natural sugars in the wine to be preserved.

TIP:If a dessert wine has an alcohol content of 16 percent or above, it is likely to be a fortified wine.

Essentially, the only difference between the two methods is that wines that are maintained until fermentation is complete will be dry. Sherry is a famous example of a dry fortified wine with a high alcohol content.


Even while oxidation is typically associated with faults in dry table wines, it may be a spectacular quality in sweet dessert wines. It is important to note that the oxidation is done on purpose in order to modify the flavor of the wine. Oxidized dessert wines are often stored for a lengthy period of time in oak barrels, during which time they soften, lose their fruitiness, and develop a rich nutty character. RECOMMENDATION:Wines that are labeled with a number of years (for example, 10 years) or with an extremely old vintage date are often created in an oxidative manner.


Making sparkling wine necessitates the use of a second fermentation process that allows the wine to spontaneously become carbonated. While many of us associate sparkling wine with dry Brut-level bubbly wines, there are a variety of additional kinds to choose from. Those who have spent time seeking for these sweeter wines may note that certain fragrant grape varietals (such as Moscato and Riesling) are chosen for dessert-style sparkling wine.

See some examples

In the next article, you’ll learn more about several well-known dessert wines.

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If you were to ask a group of individuals to name the nation that is most famous for dessert wines, my estimate is that the vast majority would say France — and if pressed to name a specific wine, sauternes. However, the reality is that almost every country that produces wine also produces sweet wines. The range is astounding, ranging from the light, frothy, low-alcohol sparkling wines of Piedmont in northwest Italy (asti and, more interestingly, moscato d’asti) to the fabled’stickies’ of Australia’s Rutherglen area, which taste like liquid treacle toffee and are produced in small quantities.

  • However, there are additional red variants available, the most notable of which being port.
  • Vitis vinifera is susceptible to botrytis in locations with a lot of wetness, such as Bordeaux and the Neusiedlersee region of Austria.
  • In the presence of this fungus, which often appears when foggy mornings are followed by bright afternoons, shrivelled grapes are transformed into deliciously sweet raisins.
  • Rustenberg Straw Wine is available at Waitrose (Canada has become a great source of these ice wines).
  • Others, such as Banyuls, Maury, and other French vins doux naturels, are fortified with alcohol, such as port and sweet sherry, and matured in oak barrels, resulting in less juice being lost in the process than others.
  • “Late harvest,” “tardive harvest,” “tardive vendange,” “dolce,” “dulce,” and “doux” are all terms used to describe sweetness.
  • The presence of alcohol and the color of the liquor are also strong indicators.

In contrast, deeper-colored amber and reddish-bronze wines, such as moscatels and vin santo, are richer and more warming in their flavor and aroma.

The lighter wines should be served very cold, while the darker wines should be served somewhat warmer.

Portugal has five things to try: Adega de Peges is a tavern in the heart of the city.

The Wine Society sells a 750ml bottle for £9.95.

2014 This rich, peach- and pineapple-scented dessert wine from New South Wales’ Hunter Valley is Australia’s version on the classic French dessert wine, sauternes.

Tanners Wine Merchants has a 375ml bottle for £11.90.

2005 This Cretan red wine has been matured in barrels for 11 years and is wickedly sweet, treacly, and raisiny in flavor.

Perfect for serving with a cheeseboard or chocolate.

Hungary: Tokaji 5 Puttonyos Asz 2013 (Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos Asz 2013) Known as the “Wine of Kings” in Hungary, Tokaji, also known as tokay, is one of the world’s most recognized dessert wines.

Majestic Wines sells a 500ml bottle for £29.99.

Although Britain is a relative newcomer to the world of sweet wine-making, this light, peachy white demonstrates that this country is a serious contender in the category.

It’s especially good with a custard tart. Waitrose Cellar sells a 375ml bottle for £19.99. This article appeared in Issue 7 of National Geographic Traveller Food magazine. Follow us on social media to stay up to date. Twitter|Facebook|Instagram

A Beginner’s Guide To Dessert Wine

Non-fortification procedures include the addition of sugar to the wine or the naturally occurring concentration of sugars in the grapes before they are picked, among other possibilities. Unfortified wines are available in a variety of varieties, the most prevalent and widely consumed of which being ice wines and botrytis cinerea wine. Ice Wine is a type of wine that is served chilled. History of Ice Wine – Ice wine (or Eiswein, as it is known in Germany and Austria) is typically produced in wine-producing regions that are subjected to predictable cold periods.

  • When a cold spell hits, the grapes begin to shrivel and freeze.
  • Ice wine is particularly popular in Canada and Germany, however it is also produced in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and New Zealand, among other places.
  • Ice wine is a very sweet, extremely fruity, but also rather acidic wine that is perfect for pairing.
  • Ice wine is also one of the few wines that may be served with a chocolate dessert, which is rare in the wine world.
  • Botrytis cinerea wine (also known as “Noble Rot” wine) was named after a fungus that kills grapes under particular climatic circumstances, which may surprise some people.
See also:  What Is The Difference Between A Port Wine And A Dessert Wine

Dessert Wine – Wine International Association WIA

The dessert wine, also known as pudding wine in the United Kingdom, is a sweet wine that is traditionally served with a sweet dessert. A dessert wine cannot be defined in a straightforward manner. In the United Kingdom, a dessert wine is defined as any sweet wine that is consumed with a meal, as opposed to white fortified wines (such as fino and amontillado sherry) that are consumed before the meal and red fortified wines (such as port and Madeira) that are consumed after the meal. In this way, most fortified wines are distinguished from dessert wines, but some of the milder fortified white wines, such as Pedro Ximenez sherry and Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, are recognized as honorary dessert wines in some circles.

This classification dates back to a time when the United States wine industry exclusively produced dessert wines by fortification; however, such a classification is out of date since that modern yeast and viticulture can make dry wines with alcohol levels more than 15% without fortification (and German dessert wines can contain half that amount of alcohol).

Natural Sweetness

The dessert wine, also known as pudding wine in the United Kingdom, is a sweet wine that is generally served with a sweet dessert. Defining a dessert wine is more difficult than it appears. When it comes to dessert wines in the United Kingdom, any sweet wine consumed with a meal is regarded to be a dessert wine, as opposed to white fortified wines (fino and amontillado sherry) used before a meal or red fortified wines (port and Madeira) consumed after a meal. In this way, most fortified wines are distinguished from dessert wines, but some of the milder fortified white wines, such as Pedro Ximenez sherry and Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, are recognized as honorary dessert wines because of their low alcohol content.

Since the US wine industry used to solely make dessert wines by fortification, this classification has become out of date.


Generally speaking, the wine should be sweeter than the meal it is served with—a perfectly ripe peach has been regarded as the ideal companion for many dessert wines, but it makes sense to avoid drinking wine altogether with many chocolate and toffee-based dishes. Vin doux naturel Muscats and red dessert wines such as Recioto della Valpolicella and fortified wines such as the vin doux naturel Muscat are the ideal complements for these difficult-to-pair treats. Alternatively, the wine alone can serve as a dessert, although bakery sweets can also be a suitable complement, particularly when they include a hint of bitterness, such as biscuits dipped in Vin Santo (Santo wine).

Red dessert wines should be served at room temperature or slightly cooled to enhance their flavor.

  1. Dessert wines that are rich and warming
  2. Dessert wines that are caramelized and sticky
  3. Dessert wines that are lush and balanced

High-alcohol, age-worthy red wines with a dried fruit core are a specialty of the region. These fortified wines, the most well-known of which is Port, are evocative of a rich fruit compote with a hint of chocolate and prune flavoring. Characteristics Butterscotch and nuts, with a tinge of heat, make up this dessert. Characteristics Long-lived wines that have a good balance of flavor and acidity. Characteristics Source:Wikipedia

Dessert Wines 101

RJS Craft Winemaking | November 23, 2017 | RJS Craft Winemaking As you prepare for all of the sweet treats, after dinner desserts, and celebrations that will be taking place this holiday season, we wanted to provide you with a crash course in dessert wines 101 to not only help you understand wines better – but also to provide you with some tips for serving and enjoying these rich, decadent beverages. What are Dessert Wines and How Do They Work? In the context of wine genres, a dessert wine is characterized as being sweet and lush, with flavors that are intense and concentrated.

Dessert wines, such as Port and Vins Doux Naturels, can also be fortified wines, as can be found in some dessert wines. Dessert wines are the most popular type of wine.

For your convenience, we’ve included some more information on them: Vidal, Riesling, and Cabernet Franc are examples of ice wines. Ice wines are made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine, resulting in a sweet and refreshing taste. Sugars and other dissolved substances do not freeze, but water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a lesser volume of more concentrated, extremely sweet, viscous wine than would otherwise be produced from the grapes.

  1. Having experienced three consecutive days of temperatures below -10 degrees, the grapes are ready for harvest.
  2. Germany and Canada are the two countries that manufacture the most Ice Wines.
  3. The Nobel Prize for Rot: ‘Nobel rot,’ also known as Botrytis, is a form of fungus that shrivels and decays wine grapes that can arise in the course of ice winemaking on extremely rare instances.
  4. It has two effects on wine: it increases the sweetness level while also increasing the flavor richness.
  5. Temperature for service: 6 to 9 degrees The following foods go well together: blue cheese with dried apricots, crème brûlée, and apple strudel.
  6. Cru is a specialty.
  7. Sherry, Port, and Madeira are examples of fortified wines.

In spite of the high brix, this results in an alcohol level of around 18 percent.

There are three different styles: Ruby, Vintage, and Tawny.

Red berries, raisins, chocolate, and spices make up the majority of the flavor profile.

Special Crafting Tip: You may also add Brandy to your handmade dessert wine before bottling to further customize it!

Serving Dessert Wines According to the Rules of Thumb Is it better to have it chilled or room temperature?

Red wines should be served at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Simple dessert combinations, such as Port with warm chocolate torte or Ice Wine with handmade vanilla ice cream, are the most successful, according to the experts.

Aside from that, these wines pair well with saltier dishes (think blue cheese!).

One common misperception regarding dessert wines is that they must be paired with a sweet dish.

While there are some incredible dessert combinations to go with these wines, the wine itself is also a fantastic treat on its own. Consider serving a handcrafted, luscious dessert wine as part of your holiday meal dessert this year to mix things up a bit.

How Sweet It Is: A Guide to Dessert Wine

An absolutely beautiful way to conclude a dinner. Because dessert wines are such a broad category, it is likely that you haven’t yet discovered the kind that suits your tastes and preferences. Sipping a dessert wine while enjoying a creamy flan, a slice of dark chocolate cake, or a cheese board is a fantastic way to end a dinner in the evening. Alternatively, skip dessert altogether and close the dinner on a sweet note with glasses of sauternes, ice wine, or port instead.

Dessert Wine Basics

It should come as no surprise that all dessert wines begin with grapes that have a high concentration of natural sugar. When that natural sugar is transformed into alcohol during the fermentation process, the wine is referred to be “dry.” Wines that have had all of the natural sugar fermented out of them are referred to as “sweet.” In the case of dessert wines, winemakers halt the fermentation process early in order to preserve the natural sweetness. Depending on the grape variety, dessert wines can range from a little hint of sweetness to a full-on sugar-bomb in terms of sweetness.

Sparkling Dessert Wine

If you’re looking for something light, sweet, and delicate, sparkling dessert wines are the way to go. The bubbles in these wines, which are light, effervescent, and often low in alcohol, make them joyful and enjoyable to drink at any time of day. Look for sweet sparkling wines derived from grapes such as muscat, brachetto, riesling, or torrontes. When served with fresh fruit desserts such as an Orange and Yogurt Tart or a simple Fruit Platter with Whipped Ricotta, these wines are perfect for brunch.

Concentrated, Rich Dessert Wine

There are a few of different techniques for creating these exceptionally rich wines. Prior to crushing the grapes, procedures are performed to concentrate the sugar content of the grapes using any of the several ways. One method is to create a late-harvest wine, which involves keeping the grapes on the vine for as long as possible into the growing season in order to get maximum sugar levels, sometimes even until the first frost has arrived (known as ice wine). It is also possible to make wine using the passito process, in which grapes are dried on straw mats, resulting in delicious raisins that are then fermented into wine.

Toutes of these exquisite dessert wines have an opulent, thick texture with complex aromas of honey, marmalade, and spices to complement them.

Dried Dates and Blue Cheese or Blue Cheese Gougeres with Caramel and Salt are two traditional pairings that you should try out.

Fortified wines are typically between 18 and 20 percent alcohol by volume, making them ideal for keeping warm throughout the harsh winter months.


Ruby port, which has more dark, rich fruit to it and is a popular combination with chocolate truffles, whereas tawny port, which has more butterscotch, caramel, and nutty overtones, is a more recent addition to the family of port varieties. Try pairing a tawny port with a cheese plate for an after-dinner feast that will be remembered!


Sherry is a fortified wine produced in the Spanish region of Andaluca, on the country’s southern coast. The first crucial thing to know about sherry is that it ranges from bone-dry and delicate to crazily rich and syrupy, depending on the variety. For dessert, search for sherries in the following three types: cream, moscatel, and Pedro Ximenez. While dry varieties like as fino and Amontillado are popular as aperitifs and are making a reappearance on bar menus as the foundation for cocktails, dessert sherries should be sweet (PX).

PX sherry may be served over ice cream, and cream style sherries pair well with custard-based sweets such as flan or crème caramel, which are both popular in Spain.


Madeira is a fortified wine that was called for the island where it was produced, which is approximately four hundred kilometers off the coast of North Africa. From the fifteenth through the seventeenth century, the island of Madeira served as a port of call for ships sailing to the New World and the East Indian Ocean. The early Madeiras were produced as a wine that could withstand travel: brandy was frequently added to the barrels to keep the wine from deteriorating during the journey. The tremendous heat from travelling around the equator, along with the continual movement of the ships, resulted in the wine becoming organically concentrated and oxidized.

The fact that Madeira has previously been effectively “cooked” means that it is famed for never spoiling: there is Madeira from the late 18th century that is still wonderfully palatable today.

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