How Is Dessert Wine Served

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

The moment has come for you to put your newly acquired knowledge of dessert wine to use in some real-life scenarios. The tastes and attributes of dessert wines are as diverse as those of any other type of wine. Despite the fact that there are several “rules” associated with the consumption of wine, the basic line is that you are free to set your own. If you want to drink a bottle of dry sparkling Brutordeliciously crisp rosé with those funfetti cupcakes that you just brought out of the oven, by all means, give it a go.

Who knows what the future holds for us.

What makes wine so special is that it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways and can make everything else in life a little bit easier to swallow.

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

On the other hand, if you don’t want a full-on sugar explosion on your tongue, look for wines that have only a hint of sweetness to them instead. Consider the following adjectives when composing your essay:


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.

How to serve fortified and sweet wines

Although we are all familiar with the many types of white, red, rosé, and sparkling wines, we are less familiar with sweet and fortified wines. It’s easy to ignore these unparalleled, flavor-packed classics – because that’s exactly what they are – simply because we’re not sure how, when, or with what to serve them. As a result, we turned to the professionals for practical advice as well as some intriguing culinary combinations. The discovery of other worlds beyond the exquisite but cliched Port-Stilton and Sauternes-foie gras pairings of old .

Nobly sweet wines

Winemaker Heidi Schröck from Rust in Austria’s Burgenland area prefers to serve her wines between 12°C and 14°C. She makes a nobly sweet Ruster Ausbruch as well as auslese, beerenauslese (BA), and trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) wines. She like ‘unexpected and innovative flavor combinations,’ and she makes this evident on her packaging and labelling. she says, but she also offers pairing prosciutto with spätlese or aged Gouda with BA, chili-cheese sausages with Ausbruch, or a lamb tagine with Ausbruch if you’re looking for something different.

  • Chef Aline Baly of Château Coutet in the Bordeaux region has mastered the art of presenting sweet wines with each meal at her establishment.
  • So don’t limit yourself to an aperitif or a dessert wine when it comes to these powerful, golden wines.
  • “A colder temperature when wines are served with a hot entrée or a sweet dessert,” she says, referring to the recommended serving temperature of 9°C to 10°C.
  • It is possible to serve middle-aged wines a couple of degrees warmer in order to enable the warm baking spices to manifest themselves.

‘These wines have a lot of character,’ Baly explains. “The idea that you can keep a bottle open for more than a week is something that many people are unaware of.” ‘ Schröck concurs, saying that Auslesen can endure for up to ten days and intense Ausbruch can last for up to three weeks. .

Matching Sauternes and Barsac with food

Only vintage Ports, according to Anthony Symington, brand manager for Symington Family Estates (which produces the Port labels Graham’s, Warre’s, Dow’s, and Cockburn’s), should be decanted before serving. He distinguishes between the ‘robust, youthful aromas of red fruits’ of bottle-aged ruby and reserve Ports and the ‘greater complexity, nut and raisin characteristics’ of barrel-aged tawny Ports. He also makes a distinction between the ‘robust, youthful aromas of red fruits’ of bottle-aged ruby and reserve Ports.

A bottle that has been opened for three to four weeks will last you three to four weeks.

A 10-year-old tawny port, on the other hand, is a good match for foie gras, according to the expert: ‘The acidity cuts through the richness and the sweetness compliments it well.’ Tawny may be stored in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.

In addition, fresh fruit is an excellent accompaniment.’ Vintage is the only type you have to consume quickly, as it fades after three days of purchase.

Creamsweet Sherry

Tim Holt, the area director for Bodegas Barbadillo in the United Kingdom, lifts the lid on sweet Sherry types such as sweet oloroso and tooth-breakingly sweet Pedro Ximénez, or PX, and even brings back the much-maligned cream Sherry from the dead in this article. He recommends serving cream and oloroso cold in a tulip-shaped wine glass, although any wine glass would do for the occasion. When it comes to PX, he recommends the following: ‘Pour it over vanilla ice cream or try it in a tumbler glass over crushed ice.’ It works really well in this manner.’ PX is very wonderful when served with Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream.

Hot Mexican habanero and Sichuan foods are also recommended: ‘Because of the high sugar content, it has a balsamic effect, which makes it ideal for these highly hot recipes.’ You’ll know what to do with all of that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving.

See also:  What Kind Of Wine Glass For Dessert Wine

While sweet oloroso may be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months, PX does not require refrigeration and is so sweet that it can be stored for “up to a year at a time.”

Sherry and chocolate pairing ideas

Because even ‘dry’ Madeira has a rounded sweetness to it, Chris Blandy of Blandy’s Madeira recommends serving it at 12°C, while medium-rich and rich types (such as Bual and Malmsey) should be served at 15°C-16°C, according to Blandy’s Madeira. There is no need to decant any of the wines, and a tulip-shaped Port glass or a slim white wine glass is recommended. The good news is that ‘Madeira is almost indestructible,’ according to Blandy, who recommends just putting a cork back in, standing the bottle straight, and storing it in a cold, dark cabinet.

In Blandy’s opinion, “Comté with Sercial, roast chicken with Verdelho, foie gras with Bual” are all excellent pairings.

But who’s to say that Christmas cake, Lebkuchen, or mince pies won’t work just as well, if not better than this?

Leftover lusciousness: use every drop

The chef at Quinta do Noval in the Douro Valley transforms leftover late bottled vintage or vintage Port into a delicious, sweet sauce for pancakes, which he serves with fresh fruit. ‘A hefty pat of butter, two teaspoons of brown sugar, and a full glass of Port are required for four persons.’ In a saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar until it is boiling, then stir in the Port and serve. Never stop stirring with a wooden spoon, no matter how tired you are. Allow the alcohol to evaporate for approximately four minutes, or until the sauce thickens.


This is filled with a digestive biscuit crumbled on top of some sultanas, 30ml of Sherry, and a layer of fresh custard on top of that.

Once the double cream has set, apply another layer on top.

What can I do with leftover wine? Ask Decanter

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.

  1. When a cold spell hits, the grapes begin to shrivel and freeze.
  2. 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.
  3. Ice wine is a very sweet, extremely fruity, but also rather acidic wine that is perfect for pairing.
  4. Ice wine is also one of the few wines that may be served with a chocolate dessert, which is rare in the wine world.
  5. 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.

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.

Serving Dessert Wines

Food and wine have been paired for centuries, most likely because people believe some combinations just taste better when they are together than when served alone. Traditional rules of pairing are not often followed for modern meals, partially because people have found they prefer to rely on their individual tastes to decide which combinations taste the best.Dessert wines, however, are almost always served with fruit or bakery sweets, although they are sometimes enjoyed alone after the meal. True appreciation of that type of wine, though, begins with knowing what sets them apart from other types.Although many vintners will disagree, the creation of a fine vintage does not necessarily begin in the vineyard. Granted, there are a few varieties that are known for being especially sweet, but many of them require additional flavorings to stave off blandness. The sweetness of grapes can even be enhanced by harvesting them later or by exposing them to more sunlight, both of which can be difficult to control.As a result, many dessert wines are not a result of the grape growing process, but of the amount of sugar added before or after fermentation. In Germany, for example, sugar is increased by adding grape juice after fermentation, which has the side effect of lowering the alcohol content. Other techniques for increasing sweetness include using grapes that have a specific type of mold on them, freezing out some of the water, or drying the grapes before fermentation.Wines and spirits are classified according to the variety of grapes included, alcohol content, color and flavor, and the classifications vary. In the UK, for example, dessert wines are any sweet wine that is consumed with a meal, while the United States applies that name to any wine that has more than 14% alcohol.Although the definition may vary by country and vineyard, everyone agrees that they are the sweetest of all wines. Typically, they are not fortified and they have a higher sugar and alcohol content than other types of wines.There are those who will argue that wines should be selected according to the meal being served, while others feel the selection should be based entirely on what tastes good. Regardless of which side is taken, there is a universal agreement that sweetness is a taste reserved for dessert, whether served with actual food or enjoyed alone. Of course, the best way to decide which dessert wines to serve, and whether to serve it with an actual dessert, is to taste several and figure out what suits your palate.

The complete guide to fine dessert wines

The huge world of wine might be difficult to navigate if you have a sweet craving, and this is especially true. After all, well-known and’serious’ wines are generally dry, and they tend to generate a far greater buzz than sweet wines, which are sometimes seen as a beginner wine drinker’s preferred beverage. However, this is a seriously incorrect point of view. Sweet wine was formerly the most popular and sought-after kind of wine in the world, and the world’s first officially recognized wine area – Tokaji in eastern Hungary, which specializes in sweet whites – was established in 1737, making it the world’s oldest.

Here’s all you need to know about the process.

What makes a wine sweet?

Sweet wines are sometimes lumped together under the umbrella term “dessert wine,” and while there is no universally accepted definition of what defines a dessert wine, it typically boils down to sugar content. Sweet wines have a detectable amount of residual sugar, whereas dry wines do not. Grapes contain natural sugars known as fructose and glucose, which are found in small amounts. While making wine from grapes, yeast consumes the sugar, resulting in the production of alcohol. If you let the yeast to consume all of the sugar in the wine, you will end up with a dry wine.

In order to create a structured sweetness, sweet wines should be prepared from grapes that have a strong acid content.

How is sweetness in wine measured?

Typically, dry wines are fermented at up to three grams of sugar per litre, and sweet wines can have up to seven grams of sugar per 100 milliliters (mL). Very sweet wines can contain up to 13 grams of sugar per 100 milliliters of wine. Dessert wines get their name because they contain 10.8g of sugar per 100ml of Coca-Cola, which is why they are called dessert wines. On the wine dryness (or sweetness) scale, level 1 represents a dry wine, level 2 represents an off-dry wine, level 3 represents a semi-sweet wine, level 4 represents a sweet wine, and level 5 represents a very sweet wine.

What are the different types of sweet wine?

Hundreds of various varieties of dessert wines are available on the international market, but the most popular are as follows: Moscato Most Moscato wine refers to a type of sparkling wine known as Moscato d’Asti, which is made from a grape variety grown in the Piedmont area of Italy and is sweet and mildly effervescent. Although it is produced in a variety of countries, it is mostly cultivated and harvested in Spain, France, Portugal, and Greece. It’s light and refreshing, loaded with a combination of fruit flavors such as pineapple, lime, pear, and orange, yet it may taste a little like apple or grape juice in rare situations.

  • It is widely regarded as the “King of Dessert Wines.” Using a fungus known as noble rot to ferment the grapes, the wine develops a mild nuttiness that is complemented by notes of honey, peaches, and apricots.
  • Riesling Riesling is a white wine produced in the Rhineland area of Germany.
  • The soil in which Riesling is grown has a significant impact on its flavor profile, considerably more so than with other varieties of wine.
  • The Riesling grape, like other dessert wines, is harvested late in the season, when the fruit has had enough time to develop its maximum sweetness before being picked.
  • In Hungary and Slovakia, rigorous laws allow only a handful of varietals to be used in the production of this wine, which is highly sugary and bursting with aromas of caramel and honey as it matures in the bottle.
  • Icewine (also known as Eiswein) is a type of wine made from ice.
  • A wine that requires a high level of specialized knowledge and complexity to create, it reveals intensely concentrated, rich fruit flavors that are counterbalanced by a crisp elegance and rocky minerality.

While Canada produces some of the greatest, you may also get excellent choices from Switzerland, Oregon, and Germany, to name a few places.

What about sweet red wines?

Sweet wines are often associated with white varietals, but there are plenty of red options available as well. Vintage port, of course, is the most well-known of them all. Wine manufactured largely in Portugal’s Duoro Valley from a variety of varietals that provide rich, powerful fruit flavors and an aromatic sweetness that can have an alcohol content as high as 20 percent. In addition to effervescent reds like Lambrusco and sparkling Shiraz like Brachetto d’Aqui, sweet reds like Schiava, Black Muscat and Dornfelder are available in medium-bodied varieties like Schiava, Black Muscat and Dornfelder.

See also:  What Dessert Goes With Wine

How long can sweet wines age?

The term “sweet wine” is usually linked with white varietals, although there are plenty of red options available as well. Vintage port is, without a doubt, the most well-known of them all. Wine manufactured predominantly in Portugal’s Duoro Valley from a variety of varietals that provide huge, powerful fruit flavors and an aromatic sweetness that may have an ABV as high as 20 percent and delivers a high alcohol content In addition to effervescent reds like Lambrusco and sparkling Shiraz like Brachetto d’Aqui, sweet reds like Schiava, Black Muscat and Dornfelder are available in medium-bodied varieties like Schiava, Black Muscat, and Dornfelder.

What’s the best way to serve sweet wine?

Because sweet wines – particularly very sweet types – are typically drank slowly, the conventional 175ml serving size is not appropriate for them. Many sweet wines are available in half-bottle sizes, which are appropriate for their intense flavor. Nonetheless, a conventional wine glass should be used to serve these wines, especially because doing so allows for the swirling and smelling that is such an important part of the enjoyment of these wines. They should be served slightly cold to moderate the sense of sweetness while without interfering with the delicate flavors that are characteristic of this kind of wine.

WineLoversPage – Straight talk in plain English about fine wine

Dessert wine: How cold?It doesn’t take most of us long to learn the basic rule of wine-serving temperature: Red wines at room temperature. White wines cold. (The nuances and exceptions can come later.)But what about dessert wines?These sweet, strong after-dinner goodies don’t seem to fit neatly into either category.Rather than merely follow the conventional wisdom, I thought it might be more fun totestit.With a half-bottle of Quady “Essensia” California Orange Muscat ready for tasting (as promised in Monday’s “Muscat Ramble”), I set the scene by popping the bottle into the refrigerator in the morning. A half-hour before serving time, I moved it to the freezer for a short final chill.I started taking notes immediately, while the wine was still cold enough to frost the glass, and continued jotting down my impressions over the course of the evening as it warmed to room temperature.At its coldest, the wine seemed surprisingly light-bodied, almost thin, and the flavor – dominated by orange-peel – came across as rather one-dimensional. It “opened up” as it warmed, though, and after about an hour, when the glass was still quite cool to the touch but no longer ice-cold, its texture seemed thicker, almost velvety, and the orange peel had added attractive notes of mint and spice with a pleasantly bitter finish. Toward the end of the evening when it had come all the way up to room temperature, it was still tasty but seemed almost syrupy.The wine struck the best balance, it seemed to me, when it reached the middle of the coolness range – which, not coincidentally, approximates the natural temperature of caves and underground cellars, around 55F or 13C. In this instance, the conventional wisdom seemed justified, and I wouldn’t hesitate to advise drinking any quality dessert wine, from Muscat to Sauternes to Vintage Port, at a similar point.There’s no need for obsessive precision, though.Put your dessert wine in the refrigerator for an hour before serving, or maybe 20 minutes in the freezer (don’t forget it’s there!) until the bottle is perceptibly cool to the touch but not icy, and you’ll be fine. If you err on the cold side, no problem, just give the wine a few moments to warm in the glass.Your assignment for further study, if you choose to take it, is to try a similar experiment the next time you open a red wine, or a white.Challenge the conventional wisdom by tasting a red wine cold and a white at room temperature, and draw your own conclusions.Paying attention to the standard advice is always good. Checking it out for yourself can be even better.

Quady 2000 “Essensia” California Orange Muscat ($11.49/375 ml)This is a clear, bright golden-bronze wine with ripe, appealing aromas of orange peel and delicate spice, adding a pleasant minty nuance in the background. Very sweet and fairly full-bodied, light acidity and a pleasant bitter note in the finish add a bit of complexity to sweet-orange flavors. (Jan. 29, 2003)FOOD MATCH:Best served by itself after dinner, although I could imagine it with creme brulee or a dessert flavored with orange liqueur. For some dessert ideas, see Quady’s desserts page,.VALUE:Very good value by the relatively pricey standard of quality dessert wines.WHEN TO DRINK:I like sweet Muscat young and fresh, but its 15 percent alcohol would help preserve the wine should you choose to cellar it. Expect it to change after a few years, but it might be interesting to see what happens.WEB LINK:You’ll find the winery’s Essensia fact sheet here:.

CorrectionIn an act of exceptional carelessness in Wednesday’s Wine Advisor, discussing the vinous Super Bowl bet between the governors of California and Florida, I inadvertently wrote that ” Californialaw makes it a felony for anyone but a licensed distributor to ship wine (or any other alcoholic beverage) into the Sunshine State.”As I hope the context made clear, that should have read ” Floridalaw.” Thanks to all who sent kind and gentle notes pointing out the error.AdministriviaTo subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail [email protected], including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. Tocontact me, please send E-mail [email protected] the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.Friday, Jan. 31, 2003Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.Subscribe to the 30 Second Wine Advisor Wine Advisor archives

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.

Acidity is essential in creating a superb dessert wine because it stops all of that sweetness from becoming too cloying and adds depth, vibrancy, and a sense of “lift” to the experience of drinking it!.

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!


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. If you’re looking for a delicious after-dinner treat, pair your port with a cheese plate.


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.

Try pairing a Madeira (though perhaps not a 200-year-old vintage!) with Sticky Toffee Pudding or Hazelnut Cookies for dessert.

A Personal Guide to the Amazing World of Dessert Wines

Originally from an island four hundred kilometers off the coast of North Africa, Madeira is a fortified wine that bears its name after the region where it was developed. Ships sailing to the New World and the East Indies stopped at Madeira from the fifteenth through the seventeenth century, according to historians. To make the earliest Madeiras, winemakers needed a wine that could withstand transportation: brandy was frequently added to the barrels to keep them from deteriorating while in transit.

As a result, similar natural effects are replicated at the winery today; for example, in the highest-quality Madeira, the wines are aged in oak barrels exposed to direct sunlight, where they gradually develop as a result of the island’s warm and humid environment; 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!

With Sticky Toffee Pudding or Hazelnut Cookies, try a Madeira (though perhaps not a 200-year-old one!

How are Dessert Wines produced?

In order to be considered a dessert wine, it should have high quantities of both alcohol and sugar. However, due to the fact that all wines are made through fermentation, they must be exchanged. However, this does not rule out the possibility of taking action to remedy the situation. There are numerous methods for increasing the amount of sugar in the wine by the time it is ready to be drank. One method of increasing sugar levels is to harvest the grapes as late as feasible in the growing season.

It is also possible to raise the sweetness and alcohol levels by adding sugar either before or after the fermenting process.

Dessert wines are wines that are served at the end of a meal.

data-recalc-dims=”1″ data-lazy-srcset=” ssl=1 300w, ssl=1 1024w, ssl=1 768w, ssl=1 1052w” data-lazy-sizes=” ssl=1 300w, ssl=1 1024w, ssl=1 768w, ssl=1 1052w” data-recalc-d (max-width: 425px) 100vw, 425px” data-lazy-src=” is-pending-load=1 038;ssl=1″ srcset=”data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAP/yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7″ data-lazy-src=” is-pending-load=1 038;ssl=” is-pending-load=” There are many different types of dessert wines available, ranging from sweet whites to fortified reds.

Dessert wine selection is an important talent to have, so continue reading for the finest ideas on selecting excellent dessert wines!

Fortified wines such as Commandaria wine, sherry, Madeira, port, and other fortified wines are made using the same procedure as they are fortified wines.

If the vineyard is in a frigid environment, the grapes are freezing out, which eliminates all, or almost all, of the water in the grapes.

That is the same procedure that is used to make ice wine. If the temperature is warm, winemakers utilize air drying to accomplish the same outcome; if the climate is moist, they rely on fungal infection to achieve the same purpose – to eliminate all of the water and concentrate all of the sugar.

Styles of Dessert Wines

Dessert wines are classified into five categories:

Sparkling Dessert Wine

Demi-Sec, Amabile, Semi Secco, Doux, Dolce / Dulce, and Moelleux are some of the most popular sparkling dessert wines, with Demi-Sec being the most popular.

Lightly Sweet Dessert Wine

Demi-Sec, Amabile, Semi Secco, Doux, Dolce / Dulce, and Moelleux are some of the most popular sparkling dessert wines on the market.

Richly Sweet Dessert Wine

They are prepared solely from the highest-quality grapes and have a shelf life of 50 years or more. For example, the Hungarian Tokaji, the French Sauternes, the South African Constantia, and others are among the greatest wines available.

Sweet Red Wine

The majority of sweet red wines are produced in Italy and are typically derived from obscure grape varietals. Lambrusco, Brachetto d’Acqui, Schiava, Recioto Della Valpolicella, and Freisa are some of the top wines produced in the region.

Fortified Wine

Their alcohol content is often more than 17 percent, and they have a lengthy shelf life. Port (including RubyCrusted Port, Tawny Port, VintageLBV Port, and Vin Doux Naturel), Madeira (including Verdelho, Malmsey, Bual, and Sercial), and Sherry (including Pedro Ximénez, Moscatel, Cream Sherry, Oloroso, and Amontillado) are some of the most notable fortified wines that also happen to fall into the dessert wine category.

Serving Dessert Wines

The basic guideline is that the wine should not be sweeter than the dessert that it is served with, unless otherwise specified. Consider, for example, that a perfectly ripe peach is the optimum food pairing for most dessert wines, according to several sommeliers. Desserts with toffee or chocolate bases are best served without alcohol unless otherwise specified. However, if your visitors insist on drinking wine, you should choose a fortified wine or even a red dessert wine such as Recioto Della Valpolicella to satisfy their desires.

  1. Dessert wine and a piece of cake ” In both cases, the data-medium-file attribute is set to 1 and the data-large-file attribute is set to 1.
  2. In the case of the chocolate toffee cake seen above, fortified wine, such as the Port presented, would be appropriate.
  3. Baked goods and sweet dessert wines are frequently a delicious pairing.
  4. To really appreciate why they go together, dunk the bitter biscuit into the wine.

The majority of dessert wines are even suitable for serving chilled. Red dessert wines, on the other hand, are an exception to this rule, since they must be served at room temperature or somewhat cooler than the normal ambient temperature.

Should you refrigerate dessert wine?

Asked in the following category: General The most recent update was on the 5th of June, 2020. Dessert wines, especially white dessert wines, should be served chilled but not ice cold, else the nuances of the wine would be lost. 2. Icewines should be treated in the same way as white dessert wines should be treated generally speaking. Portwines are typically served at room temperature, unless otherwise specified. Wines that are kept in warmish air mature too rapidly and don’t last as long as they should.

  1. When white wine, rose wine, sparkling wine, and dessert wine are stored in the refrigerator, the flavor and scent are lost, but the taste is increased when they are cooled in the refrigerator for several hours.
  2. White dessert wines are often served slightly chilled, however they might be served excessively cold if not served properly.
  3. People frequently wonder if dessert wine should be refrigerated once it has been opened.
  4. When it comes to dessert wines, the shelf life varies depending on how they are handled, although an opened bottle is normally only good for a few days when it is re-corked and chilled immediately after opening.
  5. Dessert Wine should be consumed between 2–7 days of purchase.

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

In the lack of alternative methods, producers of dessert wines are forced to create their own sugar in the vineyard. Some grape varietals, such as Muscat, Ortega, and Huxelrebe, yield significantly more sugar than others due to their genetic makeup. Environmental factors have a significant impact on eventual sugar levels; the vigneron may assist by leaving the grapes on the vine until they are fully ripe, as well as by green harvesting and trimming to expose the young grapes to the sun, among other practices.

While the vigneron has little control over the sun, a sunny year helps to keep sugar levels under control.

However, the vast majority of Muscats from antiquity, including the famed Constantia of South Africa, were very certainly created in this manner.


Sugar must be produced on the vineyard since there are no other options available to sweet wine producers. The sugar content of some grape varietals is significantly higher than that of others. Muscat, Ortega, and Huxelrebe are examples of such grapes. Environmental factors have a significant impact on eventual sugar levels; the vigneron may assist by leaving the grapes on the vine until they are fully ripe, as well as by green harvesting and trimming to expose the young grapes to the sun, among other methods.

While the vigneron has little control over the sun, a sunny year helps to keep sugar levels in check, especially in the winter.

However, the vast majority of Muscats from antiquity, including the famed Constantia of South Africa, were very certainly created in this manner as well.

  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 A core of dried fruit is found in these high-alcohol, age-worthy red wines. 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 flavor. Characteristics

  • Walnut, almond, hazelnut, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and honey are some of the flavors available.

Walnut, almond, hazelnut, caramel, toffee, vanilla, and honey are some of the flavors you’ll find in this recipe.

  • Spices
  • Honey
  • Botrytis
  • Apricot
  • Stonefruit
  • Peach
  • Jam
  • Marmalade


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *