5 Types of Dessert Wine
Switch up the hefty dessert with something that will make your tastebuds glitter instead. Learn about the five primary varieties of dessert wines, ranging from the delightfully effervescent Moscato d’Asti to the dark and gloomy vintage Port of the world. Dessert wines are supposed to be sipped from tiny glasses and cherished in the same way that a fine Scotch is. Sparkling, light sweet, rich sweet, sweet red and fortified are the five varieties of dessert wines that may be found on the market.
Types of Dessert Wines
- Sweet Red Wine
- Fortified Wine
- Sparkling Dessert Wine
- Lightly Sweet Dessert Wine
- Richly Sweet Dessert Wine
A Guide to Dessert Wines
Sweet wine is made from grapes that are exceptionally sweet! In order to produce sweet wine, the fermentation process must be stopped before the yeast has converted all of the grape sugars to alcohol. To stop fermentations, numerous techniques are available, including super-cooling the wine or adding brandy to the mixture. The end product is a full-bodied wine that has been naturally sweetened with grape sugars. Despite the fact that there are hundreds of different varieties of dessert wines available on the market, the majority of them fall into five broad categories.
Take a look at all five kinds for a comprehensive look at dessert wines.
Sparkling Dessert Wine
Because of the carbonation and strong acidity in sparkling wine, it appears to be less sweet than it actually is! Certain grape types have a more pleasant aroma than others. This deceives our brain into believing that they taste sweeter as well! Consider the difference in sweetness between a Demi-Sec Moscato (or “Semi Secco”) and a Demi-Sec Champagne, despite the fact that they may contain the same quantity of sugar. Pay attention to the following terms on the label of sweet dessert wines, sparkling wines, and other sparkling beverages: Purchase the book and receive the course!
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- Demi-Sec* (which translates as “off-dry” in French)
- Amabile (which translates as “slightly sweet” in Italian)
- Semi Secco* (also known as “off-dry” in Italian)
- Doux (which means “sweet” in French)
- ‘Dolce / Dulce’ means “sweet” in both Italian and Spanish. Moelleux (French meaning “sweet”) refers to a sweet wine.
*Not to be confused with the terms “sec” or “secco,” which are used to describe dryness in both French and Italian.
Lightly-Sweet Dessert Wine
Lightly sweet wines have a delightful sweetness to them, making them ideal for a hot afternoon. Many of these sweet wines go well with spicy dishes such as Indian or Southeast Asian cuisine, which is why they are so popular. Lightly sweet wines are best consumed as soon as possible after the vintage date, with the exception of a few exceptional examples, such as German Riesling, which may be savored for several years after the vintage date. Expect these wines to be bursting with fruit tastes and well-suited for desserts that are fruit-based or vanilla-driven.
Fruit tarts and a Gewürztraminer go together like peanut butter and jelly.
- Gewürztraminer Alsace, Alto-Adige (Italy), California, and New Zealand are all places where you may get this extremely flowery wine with modest alcohol content: Riesling Available in both dry styles (which are popular in Australia, Alsace, and the United States) and sweeter styles (which are more usually found in Germany). A wine with a high level of natural acidity, which helps to cut through the sweetness of the flavor
- Müller-Thurgau A less common type, also from Germany, that may be found in some regions of Oregon and has flowery scents and a little softer acidity than the other varieties. Porch wine is a classic and is especially good with sausages. Chenin Blanc is a white wine produced in France. When it comes to Chenin Blanc, a sweeter flavor is more frequent in the United States, although it is also produced in significant quantities in South Africa and France’s Loire Valley region. When purchasing Chenin Blanc, pay close attention to the label because many South African and French producers produce dry versions that taste more like a dry Sauvignon Blanc
- When purchasing Viognier, pay close attention to the label because many South African and French producers create dry versions that taste more like a dry Sauvignon Blanc
- The majority of the time, viognier is not sweet. However, because it is an aromatic grape type, you might occasionally encounter it in a fruit-driven style that smells like peaches and perfume. It has a thick, oily texture on the palate. This kind of Viognier may be found exclusively in Condrieu AOP (Rhône Valley) in France
- It is also known as “Condrieu Blanc.”
Richly Sweet Dessert Wine
With the best quality fruits and in an unfortified manner, these richly sweet wines are produced. Sugar and acidity allow many of these wines to retain their fresh flavor even after 50 years or more in the bottle. For example, the HungarianTokaji (pronounced “toe-kye”) was a favorite of the Tzars of Russia, while South African Constantia was a favorite of both the Dutch and the English.
The FrenchSauternes was a favorite of Americans in the early 1800’s and is still popular today. There are numerous methods for producing highly sweet dessert wines, and you may gain a better understanding of them by looking at how they are prepared.
Late harvest refers to precisely what it says on the tin. With each additional day that grapes are allowed to hang on the vine, they get progressively sweeter and more raisinated, culminating in grapes with concentrated sweetness. “Vendage Tardive” is the term used in Alsace to describe late harvest, whereas “Spätlese” is used in Germany to describe late harvest. Late harvest wines can be made from any grape that has been left on the vine. Having said that, late-harvest wines made from Chenin Blanc, Sémillon, and Riesling grapes are becoming increasingly popular.
Noble rot is caused by a kind of spore known as Botrytis cinerea, which feeds on fruits and vegetables. Noble rot, despite the fact that it sounds (and seems) awful, imparts distinct notes of ginger, saffron, and honey to sweet wines. There are several different varieties of dessert wines derived from noble rot grapes that are widely available.
- Sauternais Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc are blended together in Sauternes, Barsac, Cadillac, and Monbazillac to produce a rich, golden-hued sweet wine. A collection of French Appellations in and around Bordeaux, including Sauternes, Barsac, Cadillac, and Monbazillac
- Tokaji Tokaji Asz is a Hungarian wine created from Furmint grapes
- Auslese, BA, and TBA Riesling (BA = Beerenauslese, TBA = Trockenbeerenauslese)
- And Auslese, BA, and TBA Riesling (BA = Beerenauslese, TBA = Trockenbeerenauslese). Auslese is the first level of the German Pradikat system (a sweetness labeling system), and it has a larger proportion of botrytis-affected grapes than any other level. In addition to being sweeter than German Rieslings from the “QbA” and “Kabinett” varieties, they often have a greater alcohol content.
The grapes are put out on straw mats to raisinate prior to being used in the winemaking process (also known as “Passito”).
- Italian Vin Santo is prepared from the grapes Trebbiano and Malvasia and has a rich, nutty taste that is similar to that of dates. It is possible to find various different types of Vin Santo produced throughout Italy. ‘Passito’ in Italian means ‘passion’. Another straw wine created from a variety of grapes, both white and red, this time with a fruity flavor. For example, Passito di Pantelleriais a Muscat-based wine, whereas Caluso Passitois a Piedmont-based wine created with the uncommon grapeErbaluce. Greek Straw Wines are made from grapes harvested in Greece. Vinsanto, created from high-acid white Assyrtiko grapes, is another type of wine produced in Greece. It is believed that Samos was the first sweet wine manufactured from Muscat grapes, while Commandaria was the first sweet wine made from grapes in Cyprus, dating back to 800 BCE. Strohwein (German: Strohwein/Austrian: Schilfwein) is a kind of wine produced in Germany and Austria. Schilfweins are sweet wines made from Muscat and Zweigelt grapes in Austria and Germany that are becoming increasingly rare. Vin de Paille is a French term for wine made from grapes. These Vin de Paille are produced mostly in the Jura area of France, which is next to the Alps, and are made from Chardonnay and old Savagnin grapes
- They are particularly well-known in the United States.
Ice Wine (Eiswein)
True ice wine is incredibly difficult to come by and extremely costly for two reasons. For starters, it only happens in outlandish years when a vineyard freezes. And two, ice wine must be collected and pressed while the grapes are still frozen to ensure proper fermentation. The country of Canada is the world’s largest producer of ice wine. Ice wines are most commonly found in colder climates such as Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The majority of ice wines are created from Riesling or Vidal grapes, however any kind of grape, including Cabernet Franc, can be used to make an ice wine.
Sweet Red Wine
Sweet reds are in decline, with the exception of commercially produced sweet reds. It’s still possible to get some excellent sweet reds that are historically fascinating and worth tasting. The bulk of these incredible sweet red wines come from Italy, where they are made from obscure grape varieties.
- Lambrusco A area known for producing a delightful sparkling wine that can be enjoyed both dry and sweet. Because it is a sparkling wine, it will have a yeasty undertone, as well as notes of raspberry and blueberry in the background. “Amabile” and “Dulce” are the names given to the sweet variants. Brachetto d’Acqui (Acquisition Brachetto) A red or rosé wine made from Brachetto grapes grown in the Piedmont area that is both still and bubbling. Famous for its flowery and strawberry scents, as well as its love for matching with cured meats, this wine is a favorite of foodies everywhere. Schiava A uncommon cultivar from the Alto-Adige region that is on the verge of extinction. A delicious scent of raspberry and cotton candy, with a refreshing, somewhat sweet taste that isn’t overpowering
- Freisa Frieda, once considered one of the great red varietals of Piedmont, is a relative of Nebbiolo, but with softer tannins and flowery cherry aromas rather than the latter. Recioto della Valpolicella (Valpolicella Recioto) Recioto della Valpolicella is a luscious, robust, and rich wine that is produced using the same meticulous procedure as Amarone wine. Late-Harvest Red Wines are a specialty of the region. There are several red dessert wines available in the United States, created from grapes such as Zinfandel, Mourvedre, Malbec, and Petite Sirah, among others. With their intense sweetness and high alcohol concentration, these wines are a feast for the senses.
Fortified wines are produced by adding grape brandy to a wine, and they can be either dry or sweet in flavor. Most fortified wines have a higher alcohol level (often 17-20 percent ABV) and have a longer shelf life once they have been opened than other types of wines.
Port wine is produced in the northern region of Portugal, along the banks of the Douro. These extremely uncommon sweet red wines are prepared from a variety of classic Portuguese grapes, including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz, among others. After being harvested and placed in open tanks, the grapes are stomped daily as the wine begins to mature, which results in a more concentrated flavor. When the wine is filtered and combined with pure grape spirit (with an ABV of approximately 70%), the fermentation is stopped and the wine is fortified, this is done at a certain stage throughout the fermentation.
Following this procedure, a succession of winemaking stages are carried out, which result in the creation of the various wine types described below.
- Roughed-up RubyCrusted Port (sweet) Introducing Tawny Port, a kind of Port wine that has the aroma and flavor of newly minted port and is far less sweet than its counterpart. VintageLBV Port (VintageLBV Port) (sweet) Despite the fact that LBV and Vintage Port are produced in the same manner, LBV are intended to be consumed in their youth (owing to the sort of cork enclosure used) and vintage Ports are intended to be consumed after 20-50 years of ageing. Tawny Port is a port wine produced by the Tawny Port Company (very sweet) Tawny Port is aged in big oak casks and smaller wooden barrels at the winery, where the wine is produced. The longer the Tawny Port is let to age, the more nutty and figgy it becomes in flavor. The finest tawny is between 30 and 40 years old. wine made in the style of port sa.k.a. Vin Doux Naturel (Natural Wine) (sweet) Although port can only be produced in Portugal, numerous producers across the world produce port-style wines, such as Zinfandel ‘Port’ or Pinot Noir ‘Port’, which are similar to port. These wines are referred to as vin doux naturel (natural sweet wine) (see below).
Sherry is produced in the Spanish region of Andalusia. Palomino, Pedro Ximénez (a grape, not a person), and Moscatel grapes are used in the production of the wines. Wines are made from varied proportions of the three grapes and are intentionally oxidized in order to generate nutty aromatics in the final product.
- Fino (dry): The lightest and driest of all the Sherries, with acidic and nutty notes
- Fino (dry): The lightest and driest of all the Sherries
- Fino (dry): Manzanilla (dry) is an unique kind of Fino Sherry from a more specialized locale that is even lighter in color than Fino
- It is produced in small quantities. Palo Cortado (dry) is a significantly richer variety of sherry that has been matured for a longer period of time, resulting in a darker color and a fuller taste. This type of wine is normally dry, although it will include fruit and nut aromas due to the saline in the air. Amontillado (mainly dry) is a matured sherry that develops nutty notes of peanuts and butter
- It is made from grapes that have been aged for several years. Oloroso (dry) is a highly old and dark sherry that has a greater alcohol level than other types of sherry due to the evaporation of water that occurs throughout the aging process. In comparison to Sherry, this is more like scotch. Cream Sherry (sweet) is a sweet kind of Sherry manufactured by combining Oloroso with Pedro Ximénez Sherry
- It is produced by blending Oloroso with Pedro Ximénez Sherry. Moscatel (sweet) is a sweet sherry flavored with fig and date notes. Pedro Ximénez (PX) (extremely sweet) A very sweet sherry with brown sugar and figlike notes
- A very sweet sherry with brown sugar.
Madeira is a type of wine produced on the island of Madeira, which is located in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, utilizing up to four distinct grape varieties. Madeira is distinct from other wines in that it is produced through a process that includes heating and oxidation – processes that would normally “ruin” a wine in the traditional sense. The end product is a full-bodied fortified wine with notes reminiscent of walnuts, saltiness, and an oiliness on the tongue. Because of the four distinct grapes that are utilized, Madeira wines range from dry to sweet, making them a great choice to serve with a meal or even as a pre-dinner drink before supper.
- RainwaterMadeira When a label just states “Madeira” or “Rainwater,” presume that it is a combination of all four grapes and that it is somewhere in the center of the sweetness spectrum. Sercial(dry) Sercial is the driest and lightest of all the grapes grown in Madeira, and it is also the most expensive. Typically, these wines will have greater acidity and be more dry, with hints of peaches and apricot in the bouquet. It is fairly rare to find Sercial Madeira that has been aged for more than 100 years. Verdelho(dry) When let to age, Verdelho will acquire nutty flavors of almond and walnut that will complement the citrus notes. Bual(sweet) It has a sweet flavor profile, with flavors of burned caramel, brown sugar, fig, rootbeer, and black walnut in the background. Although there are numerous well-aged 50-70-year-old Bual Madeira available, it is typical to find 10-year-old’medium’ (meaning: medium sweet) Bual Madeira. Malmsey(sweet) Malmsey Madeiras include orange citrus overtones and caramel to their taste, in addition to the oily oxidized nutty flavor that is characteristic of the region.
Vin Doux Naturel (VDN)
RainwaterMadeira You may presume that a wine label that just states “Madeira” or “Rainwater” is a combination of all four grapes with a sweetness that falls between the medium and lower ranges. Sercial(dry) In Madeira, the Sercial grape is the driest and lightest of all the grapes grown. These wines will have a greater acidity and be more dry, with aromas of peaches and apricots in the background. Seeing Sercial Madeira that has been aged for more than 100 years is not unheard of. Verdelho(dry) When let to age, Verdelho will acquire nutty tastes of almond and walnut that will become more prominent.
Although there are some well-aged 50-70-year-old Bual Madeira available, it is typical to find 10-year-old’medium’ (meaning: medium sweet) Bual Madeira; Malmsey(sweet) Besides having orange citrus aromas and caramel to their taste, Malmsey Madeiras feature a nutty flavor that is greasy and oxidized.
- VDN is made from Grenache grapes. For example, Maury, Rasteau, and Banyuls from the Languedoc-Roussillon region are typical of the southern region of France. Muscat-based VDN Muscat de Rivesaltes, Muscat de Frotignan, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Ruthernglen Muscat (Australia), Orange Muscat, and Vin Santo Liquoroso (Italy)
- Muscat-based VDN Muscat de Rivesaltes, Muscat de Frotignan, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Ruthernglen Muscat (Australia), Orange Muscat, and Vin Santo Liquoros VDN is based in Malvasia. Malvasia delle Lipari Liquoroso, for example, is mostly from Italy and Sicily. Mavrodaphni (Greek for “sweet red wine”) is a sweet red wine produced in Greece that has many characteristics to Port.
Dessert wine – Wikipedia
The term “sweet wine” links to this page. Sweet Wine (musical composition by Mark Williams) is a song written by Mark Williams (song). Fresh Cream is a song by the band Cream. For other uses, see Fresh Cream. The dessert wine, also known as pudding wine in the United Kingdom, is a sweet wine that is generally served with a sweet dessert. A dessert wine cannot be defined in a straightforward manner. When it comes to dessert wines in the United Kingdom, any sweet wine consumed with a meal is regarded a dessert wine, as opposed to the white fortified wines (fino and amontilladosherry) used before the meal and the red fortified wines (port and Madeira) consumed after the meal.
In contrast, in the United States, a dessert wine is classified as any wine that contains more than 14 percent alcohol by volume, which includes all fortified wines—and as a result, it is taxed at a higher rate as a result.
Methods of production
Château d’Yquem 1999, a noble rot wine from the Loire Valley Dessert wine producers are interested in producing a wine that contains high quantities of both sugar and alcohol. Because all winemaking results in the production of alcohol through the fermentation of carbohydrates, they are often traded off. However, there are a variety of methods for increasing the relative sugar levels in the finished wine:
- Grow grapes such that they naturally contain enough sugar for both sweetness and alcohol
- Add sugar in one of the following ways:
- Sugar or honey (Chaptalization) is added before fermentation
- Unfermented must (Süssreserve) is added after fermentation.
- Prior to the completion of the sugar fermentation process (fortification or’mutage ‘), remove water from the sugar solution to concentrate the sugar solution:
- In warm areas, raisin wine may be produced by drying the grapes in the open air. In colder locations, you may produce ice wine by freezing off a portion of the water. When growing grapes in moist temperate areas, a fungal infection called Botrytis cinerea is used to desiccate the grapes, which causes noble rot.
A late harvest Semillon from the state of Washington. 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. Final sugar levels are greatly influenced by environmental factors; thevigneroncan assist by leaving the grapes on the vine until they are fully ripe, as well as by green picking and trimming to expose the young grapes to the light.
While the vigneron has little control over the sun, a sunny year helps to keep sugar levels under control.
However, most of the Muscats from antiquity, including the famousConstantiaof South Africa, were very certainly created in this manner.
Honey was used to sweeten wine in ancient Rome, and it was also used to boost the ultimate strength of the finished product. Today, sugar is typically added to wines that are flabby and immature in order to increase the alcohol content rather than for sweetness, although a certain amount of chaptalization is authorized in the wines of certain nations. German wines must state whether they are ‘natural’ or not; chaptalization is prohibited from the highest levels of German wines in any event.
It is a German winemaking method in which unfermented must (grape juice) is added to the wine after it has finished fermenting. This boosts the sweetness of the finished wine while also diluting the alcohol a little—in Germany, the final wine must have more than 15 percent Süssreserve by volume, which is the maximum allowed. Süssreserve allows winemakers to complete the fermentation process without having to be concerned about halting the fermentation process before all of the sugar has been used.
Süssreserve is also employed by other producers of German-style wines, most notably in New Zealand’s wine industry.
To accompany dessert, sweet Montilla-Morilessherry, notably Pedro Ximénez and vins doux naturels are the most often consumed fortified wines in the world. Because it is made from raisin wine, the Pedro Ximenezdessert wine is unlike any other sweet wine from Andalucia. It is fortified and matured in a solera system, like other sweet wines from the region. Alternatively, some sweet sherries (which are mix wines) like asBristol Cream can be consumed as dessert wine. Arnaud de Villeneuve, a professor at the University of Montpellier in France, is credited for perfecting the manufacture of natural sweet wines in the 13th century.
Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, Muscat de Rivesaltes, Muscat de Frontignan, Muscat de Lunel, and Muscat de Mirevaland are all named after vineyards in France: Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, Muscat de Rivesaltes, Muscat de Frontignan, Muscat de Frontignan, Muscat de Lunel, and Muscat de Mirevaland.
Regardless of the grape, fermentation can be halted using up to 10% of 95 percent grape spirit, depending on the amount used. A somewhat oxidized style is used in the production of the Muscats, whereas the Grenaches are not.
Passum, a sweet wine prepared from air-dried grapes in ancient Carthage, is still produced today on the island of Pantelleria, across the Malta Channel from the ruins of Carthage, and is known as Moscato Passito di Pantelleria (Passito of the Island of Pantelleria). The Romans were the first to describe such wines. ‘Passito’ wines are produced in Northern Italy, where the grapes are dried on straw, racks, or rafters before being pressed and fermented in barrels. Among these wines are the sweet red Recioto della Valpolicella (drank with the local version of panettone) and the dry white Sciachetrà (which is typically plunged into almond biscuits, “cantucci”), as well as the dry white Recioto di Soave (which is drunk with the local version of panettone) (which stands up to chocolate better than most wine).
Most wine rules demand that the grapes for ice wine be gathered when the temperature is less than 7 degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit). During such temperatures, some water in the grapes freezes, but the sugars and other solids in the grape juice remain dissolved in the remainder of the liquid. If the grapes are pressed while still frozen, a very concentrated must can be produced, which requires a particular yeast strain and an extended fermentation period. The resultant wines are quite sweet, yet their acidity helps to keep them balanced.
The most well-known ice wines are German Eiswein and Canadian Icewine, although ice wines are also produced in smaller numbers in the United States, Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Australia, France, and New Zealand.
Noble rot wine
Wines such as TokajiAsz of Tokaj-Hegyaljain Hungary, Château d’Yquemof Sauternes, and Seewinkelof Austria are prepared from grapes that have been mouldy with Botrytis cinerea, which sucks the water out of the fruit while giving flavors of honey and apricot to the future wine. Noble rot is caused by a fungus that requires precise environmental conditions to thrive; if the environment is excessively moist, the same fungus may create destructivegrey rot. Vignerons make every effort to increase the quantity of noble rot produced while avoiding the loss of the entire crop to grey rot.
Because of the time it takes for noble rot to develop, these wines are typically picked late.
The fact that noble rot was a factor in Hungarian vineyard demarcation some 50 years before a messenger was allegedly mugged on his way to Schloss Johannisberg in Germany and that asz inventory predates it by approximately 200 years indicates that Hungary’s Tokaj was the first region to produce the wine.
Noble rot is also responsible for a variety of other dessert wines, including the German beerenauslese and trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) classifications, the French Monbazillac, the Austrian Beerenauslese, the Austrian Ausbruch, and other TBA-type wines from throughout the globe.
Vin Santo with almond cookies are a delicious combination. Generally speaking, the wine should be sweeter than the food it is served with; a perfectly ripe peach has been regarded as the ideal companion for many dessert wines, yet it makes sense not to drink wine at all with many chocolate- and toffee-based meals, for example, 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).
White dessert wines are often served slightly chilled, however they can be served excessively cold if they are served too quickly.
- “The seven most important sorts of white wines.” Süssreserve was retrieved on April 27, 2019. Archived 2007-03-10 at the Wayback Machineon the Wine Dictionary website
- Amerine and Maynard’s “Wine.” Encyclopedia Britannica is a reputable reference work. Encyclopedia Britannica is a reputable reference work. Shoemaker, Ted (27 April 2019)
- Shoemaker, Ted (6 December 2013). “German Ice Wine Regulations Have Been Tightened.” This is according to Wine Spectator. retrieved on March 20, 2021
- CooksInfo is a website dedicated to providing information about cooking (4 October 2020). “Ice Wine,” as the name suggests. Cook’s Information, retrieved on March 20, 2021
- “The Beautiful Bounty of Botrytized Wines,” retrieved on March 20, 2021. Wine Enthusiast Magazine is a publication dedicated to wine enthusiasts. Steve Kolpan, Michael A. Weiss, and Brian H. Smith have published a paper in Science (2014). Winewise: Your Complete Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Enjoying Wine is a comprehensive guide to understanding, selecting, and enjoying wine (2nd ed.). Jancis Robinson, MW, “Tokaji,” in Jancis Robinson, MW (ed. ), Jancis Robinson’s Concise Wine Companion (Oxford:Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 469–471, ISBN0-19-866274-2
- Gorman-McAdams, Mary. “Delicious Dessert Wines for Dessert Week.” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN978-0-54433462-5 The Kitchn, retrieved on April 27, 2019
- “Three of the Best Italian Dessert Wines,” retrieved on April 27, 2019. Italy, November 12th, 2014
- Jeanne O’Brien Coffey is the author (20 November 2017). Sauternes is the perfect holiday wine for everything from appetizers to desserts, as revealed by Wine Spectator. Forbes
- Dessert wine is defined in the Wiktionary dictionary as follows:
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.
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. Fortified wines, whether dry or sweet, have one thing in common: they contain a significant amount of alcohol.
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.
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.
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.
Look for bottles branded semi-secco or dolce to assure that you’re getting a sweeter variety.
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. The earliest Rutherglen Muscats are generally little more than five years old, but the greatest examples may live for decades if cared for properly.
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.
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
Dried grape, or passito, wines are produced using a process that has been employed for centuries in Italy, Greece, and occasionally Austria. After harvest, healthy grapes are purposely dried on straw mats or by hanging grape bunches from rafters, depending on the region. This dehydrates the grapes, concentrating the residual sugar and aromas, and resulting in a sweet wine with clean and raisined tastes that is generally served chilled. Because the juice is effectively being drained from raisins, the passito technique produces less wine than traditional vinification.
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.
The wine is full-bodied and sweet, with characteristics of golden raisins and dried fruit. Do you want to try the most classic combination with Vin Santo? Take a bite of some biscotti!
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!
5 Common Varieties of Dessert Wine
Consider matching a decadent dessert with one of these after-dinner wine alternatives to make a memorable evening.
In order to make fortified dessert wines such as Sherry, Port, and Madeira, the alcoholic content of still wine is added during the fermentation process. The use of alcohol prevents fermentation from occurring by killing the yeast, leaving behind residual, unfermented sugar from the grapes to be fermented. Sweet wine with an alcohol concentration of 15 to 20 percent is produced as a result of this process. Dark berries, plums, and spices characterize the flavor of this famous fortified dessert wine, which is deep crimson in color and has ripe notes of dark berries, plums, and spices.
Late Harvest Wines
Dessert for the End of the Harvest Vinifera grapes (most often Riesling, Muscat, Pinot Gris, and Gewürztraminer varieties) are used to make wine. The grapes are kept on the vine until they are particularly ripe and delicious before being harvested. During the fermentation process, the yeast that is responsible for converting the extra sweet juice into alcohol dies before it has had a chance to metabolize all of the sugar, resulting in a sweeter wine than would be expected. When it comes to crafting dessert wine, Riesling is an excellent choice since the grape’s naturally strong acidity prevents the wine from becoming cloyingly sweet.
While looking for this type of dessert wine, check for the phrases “late harvest” on the label, such as Hogue Cellars Late Harvest Riesling 2012 ($11, available at liquor shops), or seek for the terms “Vendange Tardive” on French bottles and “spätlese” or “auslese” on German bottles when shopping.
Noble Rot Wines
However, while it may not seem appealing, some of the world’s most sought-after dessert wines are created from grapes that have gone bad. Infected with a mold called Botrytis cinerea, often known as “noble rot,” which surrounds the grape and causes it to shrivel, leaking out much of its water and leaving behind extra delicious pulp, which the winemakers then press to extract the juice, the grapes are harvested. Making this sort of dessert wine is a time-consuming and difficult procedure that requires a lot of patience.
Sauternes from the Bordeaux area of France, as well as German wines branded “beerenauslese” and “trockenbeerenauslese,” are all good choices to try.
These luscious, thick wines are complex in flavor, with notes of honey, spice, and exotic fruits, and they combine nicely with rich pastries and cheeses of various kinds. Heidi Schrock’s Ausbruch “On the Wings of Dawn” 2010 ($69 for 375 mL, available at liquor stores) is a favorite of ours.
Another method of concentrating sugars in grapes for the production of sweet wine is to freeze them. The traditional method of making ice wine, or “eiswein,” as it is known in Germany and Austria, involves leaving the grapes on the vine for a lengthy period of time after the normal harvest has concluded until temperatures drop sufficiently to cause them to freeze. Following that, workers scramble to harvest the frozen grapes and gently press them so that the water content (in the form of ice) is separated from the delicious nectar that will eventually become the wine.
Despite the fact that vines are normally protected by netting, warm weather, rot, hungry birds and animals, and stormy weather might result in a harvest that is insufficient or nonexistent.
Try Inniskillin Vidal 2012 ($60 for 375 mL, available at liquor shops) from Canada’s Niagara Peninsula.
It is crisp, powerful, and elegant, and it goes well with baked and fresh fruit, as well as hazelnut cake and crème caramel, among other things.
Dried Grape Wine
Consider the difference in sweetness between a raisin and a grape to have a better understanding of this sort of dessert wine. Dried fruit has a higher sugar content than fresh fruit because the sugar in the fruit remains after the water has been removed. For this type of dessert wine, grapes are either dried on the vine while still on the vine (a process known as passerillage in France or appassimento in Italy), or picked in bunches and set out to dry in the sun or hung from racks inside (a technique known as appassimento in Italy).
Consider looking for wine labels that state “vin de paille,” or “straw wine,” since the grapes are sometimes put out to dry on straw mats, or “passito” on Italian labels, such as Pellegrino Passito di Pantelleria 2011, which sells for $30 at liquor shops.
Sweet Wines, Popular Sweet Wine Varietals
Riesling|Moscato|Vouvray|Chenin Blanc|Sauternes|Icewine/Eiswein|Tokay/Tokaji|Port| Riesling|Moscato|Vouvray|Chenin Blanc|Sauternes|Icewine/Eiswein|Tokay/Tokaji|Port|
Wineries in Germany, Austria, Alsace (France), New Zealand, South Africa and the United States specialize on Riesling grapes. It can be either a dry white wine or a sweet dessert wine depending on your preference. In order to make a dessert wine, the grapes must be picked extremely late and treated with noble rot, icewine, or chaptalized to add sweetness. Sweet riesling has a higher acidity and lower alcohol concentration than dry riesling, and it works particularly well with fresh fruit, soft cheeses, and dishes that have a high salt content since the sweetness of the wine helps to balance out the salty.
read on to find out more Overview of the Riesling grape Riesling Styles and Regions Riesling from Germany is called Auslese. Riesling Forum is a discussion forum for Riesling enthusiasts.
Muscato, also known as Moscato d’Asti, Muscatel, or Muscadel, is a fragrant dessert wine that is made as a sweet semi-sparkling wine (Moscato d’Asti) or a sweet still wine (Moscato di Sangiovese). Several nations, including Italy, Spain, Portugal, and France, as well as smaller countries such as Greece, Moldova, Lebanon, and Slovenia produce Muscat wines, to mention a few. Muscato wines are also made in the United Kingdom. The Muscat grape, which can range in color from white to black, is high in sugars and flavonoids and can be found in many varieties (antioxidants).
- Recently, the popularity of Muscat has increased in the United States, thanks to the fact that it is an accessible sweet wine that matches well with a wide variety of dishes.
- Also goes well with milder Thai foods or other spicy dishes since the sweetness helps to balance out the heat of the dish.
- Moscato wines are also excellent with sparkling wine.
- Muscat is a grape variety that is commonly used in fortified wines and brandy in Spain and Portugal.
- With apricot and peach flavors dominating the tongue, you can expect a fruit driven taste on the palate.
Vouvray wine is a very popular cold-climate wine produced in France’s Loire Valley (Appellation Vouvray Controlée). It is made from grapes grown in the Loire Valley. Rather than a single Vouvray, there are several different types available. It can be sweet and flavorful, or it can be full-bodied and dry. The sweet wine has a golden tint and is lively, fruity, and refreshing on the palate. Vouvray is created from grapes called Chenin Blanc (Pineau blanc de la Loire). Demi-Sec (semi-dry), Moelleux (sweet, botrytized), and Doux (sweet) are all types of sweet vouvray wines (sweetest, botrytized and heavy or syrup like).
While vouvray is almost never matured in oak barrels, it is created in the conventional steel tank method and is popular as a still wine as well as a sparkling wine.
These include notes of quince and honey as well as almonds, Asian spices, gala apple, and fig.
Vouvray matches exceptionally well with rich meals like as pastries, cakes, soft creamy cheeses such as Camembert, as well as creamy veal or chicken entrees, among other things.
Aside from that, it is lavished with delectable reduction sauces, duck and grilled fowl. Chenin Blanc Varieties from Around the WorldLoire Wine Varieties Forum Chenin Blanc Around the World
Many nations, including Spain, South Africa, and Australia, have adopted the cultivation of Chenin Blanc grapes from the Loire Valley. In the United States, the grapes are now grown in 12-15 states around the country. The Chenin Blanc variety is known for having a high acidity level. For sweet wine, the grapes are picked at a specific time of year, frequently late in the season, when the grapes have been afflicted with the greatest amount of noble rot. Botrytis, often known as “noble rot,” is a naturally occurring mold that is highly coveted for its ability to produce high levels of sugar and sweetness that are unequaled by any other natural process.
These are followed by flavors of honey, chocolate/almond, or nuttiness, followed by flavors of citrus and exotic fruits.
Chenin Blanc Around the WorldLoire Wine Varieties/Chenin Blanc Forum Chenin Blanc Around the World
Many nations, including Spain, South Africa, and Australia, have adopted the cultivation of Chenin Blanc grapes from the Loire Valley. In the United States, Chenin Blanc grapes are now grown in 12-15 states. In general, the acidity of the Chenin Blanc varietal is rather high. If you want to make sweet wine, the grapes must be harvested at a specific time of year, which is frequently late in the year, when the grapes have been afflicted with the most noble rot possible. Botrytis, often known as “noble rot,” is a naturally occurring mold that is highly appreciated for its ability to impart high sugar content and sweetness that is unequaled by any other naturally occurring process.
Despite the fact that Chenin Blanc wine matches especially well with spicy Asian cuisine or Mexican cuisine, the wine’s adaptability allows it to be enjoyed with a variety of different cuisines.
Icewine is a fantastic dessert wine since it is very sweet and delicious. It may be enjoyed on its own after a meal, similar to a dessert in a glass. Alternatively, pair this rich, sweet wine with a dessert that is a little lighter and less sweet in comparison. Alternatively, pair it with something savory and robust in flavor to provide balance. Serve icewine with a dessert that is either too rich or too sweet, since this may cause the wine to overpower the dish. It goes well with a simple dessert of fresh fruit and cheese, or it can be served as an aperitif before dinner.
Ice wine is created from grapes that are only plucked after they have frozen on the vine, which is why it is called “ice wine.” Grapes are typically gathered in the most difficult conditions, such as the middle of the night and during a severe cold, to ensure that botrytis (noble rot) does not infect the grapes during the harvest.
Because of this, producers are on high alert and must have a labor pool ready to harvest grapes whenever the need arises.
Ice Wine may be prepared from a variety of grape varietals, ranging from Riesling to Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Muscatine grapes, resulting in a diverse spectrum of flavor characteristics.
Icewine is an excellent pairing for chocolate desserts, which may be enhanced with truffle or caramel toppings, as well as fruit and fruit-based compotes. Introduction to the IcewinePorts/Other Fortifieds and Stickies Discussion Forum
Icewine is a delicious dessert wine that is very sweet and luscious. Dessert in a glass, it’s perfect for after-meal enjoyment. If you like something a little lighter and less sweet, pair this rich, sweet wine with it. If you want to keep things balanced, pair it with something savory and robust in flavor. Serve icewine with a dessert that is either too rich or too sweet, since this may cause the wine to overpower the sweetness of the dessert. Alternatively, it’s delicious served with a simple dessert of fresh fruit and cheese, or as an aperitif.
- In order to make ice wine, the grapes must be harvested after they have completely frozen on the vine.
- Because a hard frost damages the grapes’ cell walls and might be harmful if the grapes thaw, harvesting must take place within a few hours.
- Intensely intense and sweet, icewines have a distinct minerality to them.
- However, other cold temperature locations such as Germany and Oregon also make icewines, making Canada the undisputed expert on the subject.
- Introduction to the IcewinePorts/Other Fortifieds and Stickies Discussion Forum.
Port wine is produced in the Duoro Valley in Northern Portugal and can be made from over 100 different grape varietals. However, it is typically made from five different varietals: Tinta Barroca, Tinta Co, Tempranillo, Touriga Francesa, and Touriga Nacional. Tinta Barroca is a red wine made from the Tinta Barroca grape variety. Bottle aged port and barrel aged port are the two types of port that are available. Ports have a nuttiness (from the hazelnuts), leather, jerky, bacon, and currant flavors in their flavor profile.
Barrel Aged Port
Barrel Matured Port is intended to be aged and eaten over a lengthy period of time, and it contains the following ingredients:
- Tawny Port is a port wine made from red grapes that is aged in oak barrels to allow for partial oxygenation, resulting in a deeper, richer color. Usually served as a dessert wine, this variety is rather popular. Tawny ports are classified as either year ports or non-year ports. A designation such as 20 years is used. It is indicated by the color tawny that the blends are made up of wines that have been in barrel for at least 20 years. Colheita Port– A tawny port made from a single vintage, which, unlike vintage port, must have been aged in barrels for at least 20 years before being released. There have been attempts to produce white Colheita ports
- Nonetheless, red Colheitas are more typical. an uncommon event in which a single vintageharvest is made and barrel matured, after which the port is moved to a glassbottle for further maturing
- Garrafeira Port
Bottle Aged Port
Bottle Aged Port is intended to be drank within a short period of time and contains the following ingredients:
- It is mixed in enormous steel or concrete tanks to preserve its vibrant color. Ruby Port is the least costly of the ports. Ruby ports are often used in cooking and for immediate consumption, and their flavor does not improve with time. In the case of Reserve Port, it is a combination of several vintages of less attractive ports. Rose Port is a port that has had just a minimal amount of contact with the grape skins and is prepared in a manner that is comparable to rose wines. Not generally known and only recently put onto the market, with only tepid demand at best, this product is not highly popular. White Port– a port wine made from white grapes that is normally matured for a longer length of time. It is typically served chilled or combined with cocktails. In time, it will darken in hue as a result of additional bottle age. Late Bottle Vintage Port (also known as LBV) is a single vintage port that is often produced as a result of low demand and excessive barrelaging. The wine is often filtered (as opposed to vintage port) and intended for instant drinking without the need for extended maturing and decanting. Crusted Port is a combination of multiple vintages of higher grade unfiltered ports that have been blended together. Before being released, the port must have been matured in bottles for at least three years. Wines made from vintage port are produced from grapes that have been harvested at least two and a half years before they are bottled, with an additional 10 to 50 years in the bottle before they are ready to be consumed. Vintage port accounts for 2% of total production and is made from grapes that have been harvested at least two and half years before they are bottled. The choice to designate a vintageport is not made lightly, and it is not done every year in an effort to preserve the highest level, given that this is the most renowned Port and has the smallest output.
Port Wine Forum: Ruby PortTawney PortPort Wine Forum: Ruby Port