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* (which translates as “off-dry” in Italian)
- French for “sweet,” Dolce / Dulce (Italian for “sweet,” Spanish for “sweet,” and Moelleux (French for “sweet,” for some French wines)
- Doux (French for “sweet,” Dolce / Dulce (Italian for “sweet,” Spanish for “sweet”)
*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 find some excellent sweet reds that are historically interesting and worth trying. The majority 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
- The most popular of all the Sherries. Manzanilla(dry) In a more specialized location, Fino Sherry is produced in a distinct style that is even lighter in color than Fino. Palo Cortado (Corked Palo Cortado) (dry) A significantly richer kind of sherry that has been matured for a longer period of time, resulting in a deeper 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 is a kind of tequila (mostly dry) An old sherry that develops nutty notes reminiscent of peanut butter and butterscotch
- Oloroso(dry) Because of the evaporation of water as the wine matures, this sherry has a greater alcohol concentration than other sherries of the same age. In comparison to Sherry, this is more like scotch. Cream Sherry is a kind of sherry that is made using cream and sherry (sweet) When Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez Sherry are blended, the result is a sweet kind of Sherry. Moscatel(sweet) The tastes of fig and date are prominent in this sweet sherry. Pedro Ximénez (PX) is a Venezuelan politician (very sweet) It’s a really sweet sherry with notes of brown sugar and figs in it.
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)
Vin Doux Naturel is produced in a similar manner as Port, with a base wine being produced and a neutral grape brandy being added at the end. The word vin doux naturel is derived from France, however this designation may be used to any wine from any country.
- 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.
A glass of Piedmontese raisin wine, Calusopassito, was enjoyed. Sweet wine known as passum was produced at ancient Carthage from air-dried grapes, and comparable wines, known as Moscato Passito di Pantelleria and produced across the Malta Channel from the site of Carthage, are being produced today. 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.
In the Jura, Rhone, and Alsace, the French make’straw wine’ (vin de paille); the Spaniards start with a raisin wine and Pedro Ximénez before fortifying it; the Cypriots have their ancientCommandaria; and there have been recent trials with the style in South Africa and the United States.
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:
What Is the Primary Difference Between Fortified Wine & Dessert Wine?
Photograph by John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images Some fortified wines, such as red port, are sweet and match well with a wide variety of desserts, making it simple to mistakenly believe that fortified and dessert wines are interchangeable. A fortified wine, such as a sumptuous Pedro Ximenez sherry, may also be a more appetizing dessert alternative than a slice of chocolate cake in some situations. However, fortified wines and dessert wines are two totally different types of wine, and each requires its own set of winemaking procedures to be produced successfully.
Fortified wine, as opposed to dessert wine, is produced with the addition of additional alcohol – commonly brandy or another neutral spirit – hence the name “fortified.” A fortified wine can be either dry or sweet, depending on when the extra spirit is added by the winemaker to the mixture. When it is added before the fermentation process is complete, it results in a sweet wine, and when it is added after, it produces a dry wine. A fortified wine is often quite high in alcohol, comprising between 17 and 22 percent by volume, whereas a dessert wine typically has much less alcohol.
Types of Fortified Wine
Fortified wines include port, sherry, Madeira, and Marsala, which are the four most common varieties. Port is a sweet wine that originates in Portugal’s Douro Valley and is produced in small quantities. It is only produced in Spain, and depending on the kind, it can be either sweet or dry in taste. A dry sherry is a fantastic aperitif, and a sweet sherry is traditionally served after dinner. Madeira and Marsala, two fortified wines named after their respective birthplaces, are available in both sweet and dry varieties as well as a combination of the two.
Dessert wine, in contrast to fortified wine, is always sweet and contains no additional alcohol. Dessert wine producers employ a variety of techniques to attain different amounts of sweetness. Late-harvest wines, for example, contain a high concentration of natural sugar since the grapes were left on the vine deep into the harvest season. Occasionally, the mold botrytis cinerea is intentionally introduced into the winemaking process in order to provide honey and dried fruit tastes in the finished product.
Icewine is prepared from frozen grapes that are pressed to concentrate the sugar content, resulting in a sweet dessert wine with a high alcohol concentration.
Types of Dessert Wines
Botrytis cinerea-affected grapes are used to make a variety of wines, including Hungarian tokaji, French Sauternes and Vouvray, and German beerenauslese and trockenbeerenauslese. Icewine is often produced in colder climates, such as Canada, New York’s Niagara Falls, and Germany, among other places. Champagne with a high sugar content (demi-sec or doux depending on the amount of sweetness) originates in France. Moscato d’Asti is a sweet dessert wine produced in the Italian town of Asti. Its sweet, delicious qualities are achieved by halting the fermentation process early, which is accomplished using cool filtering.
A Beginner’s Guide To Dessert Wine
Non-fortification procedures include the addition of sugar to the wine or the naturally occurring concentration of sugars in the grapes before they are picked, among other possibilities. Unfortified wines are available in a variety of varieties, the most prevalent and widely consumed of which being ice wines and botrytis cinerea wine. Ice Wine is a type of wine that is served chilled. History of Ice Wine – Ice wine (or Eiswein, as it is known in Germany and Austria) is typically produced in wine-producing regions that are subjected to predictable cold periods.
- When a cold spell hits, the grapes begin to shrivel and freeze.
- Ice wine is particularly popular in Canada and Germany, however it is also produced in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and New Zealand, among other places.
- Ice wine is a very sweet, extremely fruity, but also rather acidic wine that is perfect for pairing.
- Ice wine is also one of the few wines that may be served with a chocolate dessert, which is rare in the wine world.
- Botrytis cinerea wine (also known as “Noble Rot” wine) was named after a fungus that kills grapes under particular climatic circumstances, which may surprise some people.
The Ultimate Guide To Dessert Wines + Infographic!
“I prefer any sort of wine, but it needs to be dry,” says the author of the book. The popularity of dry wines has soared in recent years, maybe as a reaction to the era of White Zinfandel and Blue Nun that characterized the wine business in the past. Dessert wines, which are some of the most historically significant, complex, and long-lived wines on the planet, are hardly on the radar of most wine enthusiasts because of the passionate aversion to sweet wines that exists. Dessert wines, on the other hand, should not be overlooked; they should be utilized to enrich the post-dinner experience.
The process of utilizing the wine to enhance the dessert and vice versa can result in some truly amazing combinations of flavors.
These wines range from less sweet to more sweet, from light to super-boozy, and from best when consumed young to best when matured for decades. As a result, we’ve compiled the best guide to dessert wines that will satisfy each palate and any occasion.
Fortified wines, 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.
Wines made with grape spirit (brandy) are known as fortified wines, and they are one of the most historically significant categories of beverage. Fortified wines are made by adding grape spirit to wine either during or after fermentation, depending on whether the winemaker desires a dry or sweet finished wine. 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 since there will no sugar left in the wine itself.
Drinkers of wine, predominantly those from England, came to appreciate the technique, and it was adopted.
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 brown wine with intense flavors of raisin and prune, burnt caramel, coffee, toasted nuts, 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
Chenin Blanc, cultivated in its numerous Loire Valley appellations, is another of those grapes that everyone knows, yet whether it’s dry or sweet, light or full-bodied, still or sparkling, it’s always extremely Chenin-esque. Despite being the most well-known Chenin appellation in the Loire Valley, Vouvray may range from dry to sweet in a single location; the designations demi-sec, moelleux, and liquereuxall indicate the presence of residual sugar. But it is in the Coteaux du Layon area where sweet Chenin Blanc finds its zenith, when grapes are harvested late in the season after passing through several passes through the vineyard.
With the addition of the subregions of Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume, the wines develop notes of golden apple, honey, wool, and orange blossom that distinguish them from the others.
The quantity of sugar in these wines allows them to continue to develop with time, becoming smokier and more fascinating as time goes by.
Vin Santo del Chianti
The wine known as “holy wine” may be found in numerous parts of Italy (as well as a Greek variation), but this particular variety from the heart of Tuscany is the most well-known. In addition to being fermented in small oak or (traditionally) chestnut barrels, Vin Santo del Chianti undergoes extensive barrel aging: between three and eight years, depending on the variety of grapes used and the amount of barrel aging. The wine is amber in color and made from Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia grapes that are hung in whole bunches from rafters.
Do you want to try the most classic combination with Vin Santo?
Recioto della Valpolicella
Its sweet red wine, Recioto della Valpolicella, is in line with the legendary red wines of this region in the Veneto. It is created from dried Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes, and it is produced in the same manner as the region’s famous red wines. Traditionally, grapes are dried on straw mats or in lofts called fruttai, which guarantee that air flows through the grapes during the drying process, preventing mold from forming on the grapes themselves. Recioto producers will normally allow the wine to ripen until the alcohol concentration reaches around 14 percent alcohol by volume, after which they will cool the wine to halt fermentation and leave residual sugar in the wine.
Fun fact: According to folklore, the world-renowned Amarone Della Valpolicella was born after a Recioto grower made the mistake of allowing his wine to ripen to dryness!
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.
- For your convenience, we’ve included some more information on them: Vidal, Riesling, and Cabernet Franc are examples of ice wines.
- 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.
- Having experienced three consecutive days of temperatures below -10 degrees, the grapes are ready for harvest.
- Germany and Canada are the two countries that manufacture the most Ice Wines.
- 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.
- It has two effects on wine: it increases the sweetness level while also increasing the flavor richness.
Temperature for service: 6 to 9 degrees The following foods go well together: blue cheese with dried apricots, crème brûlée, and apple strudel.
Cru is a specialty.
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.
The Different Kinds of Dessert Wines & What to Pair Them With
The 19th of August, 2019 Finding the right bottle of wine to combine with your meal may be difficult when there are so many different varieties to choose from. Fortunately, there is a general rule of thumb that may be used to streamline the procedure. This unwritten law stipulates that your dinner should never be sweeter than the wine you’re drinking with it, regardless of how good it tastes. But what if you’d want to finish your dinner with a glass of wine and a piece of cake or pie instead of water?
Dessert wines are a simple and delectable way to round off your dinner, and some may be savored with as little as a 3-ounce pour.
In your hunt for the right dessert wine, it’s crucial to note that the sweetness of a bottle is expressed using precise terms, which you should keep in mind.
French wines, on the other hand, are divided into four categories: demi-sec, semi-seco, doux, and dulce, with the last being the sweetest of the bunch.
Sparkling Dessert Wine
In the classic method, sparkling wines are fermented twice: once to produce the alcohol and a second time to produce carbon dioxide. This procedure is referred to as méthode champenoise when it is performed in a bottle. The most well-known sparkling dessert wines, aside from champagne, are the demi-sec and doux sparkling wines, the sweeter Cava (such as the Gran Reserva), and the Brachetto d’Aqui. These wines go nicely with fruit-based sweets (such as tarts or crepes) as well as shortbread cookies (which are also delicious).
Botrytis-Affected Wines (Noble Rot)
In the classic method, sparkling wines are fermented twice: once to produce alcohol and a second time to generate carbon dioxide. This procedure is referred to as méthode champenoise when it is carried out in a bottle. Beyond champagne, of course, some common forms of sparkling dessert wine include demi-sec and doux sparkling wine, sweeter Cava (such as Gran Reserva), and Brachetto d’Aqui, among others. The sweets that go well with these wines include fruit-based dessert dishes (such as tarts or crepes), as well as shortbread biscuit.
In the classic method, sparkling wines are fermented twice: once to produce alcohol and a second time to produce carbon dioxide. This process is referred to as méthode champenoise when performed in a bottle. The most well-known sparkling dessert wines, aside from champagne, are the demi-sec and doux sparkling wines, sweeter Cava (such as the Gran Reserva), and Brachetto d’Aqui. The desserts that match best with these wines include fruit-based dessert dishes (such as tarts or crepes), as well as shortbread biscuits.
Some dessert wines have alcohol added to them, which is a classic procedure that has been used for hundreds of years. The alcohol, which is generally a neutral grape brandy that has been distilled, stops the yeast from completely absorbing the sugar content.
The end result is a wine that is both powerful and delicious. Port, Madeira, Vermouth, and Sherry are all examples of fortified wines that are widely available. Pair a glass of your favorite fortified wine with a slice of rich chocolate cake for a decadent dessert.
Late Harvest Wine
Late Harvest wine is made from grapes that have been left on the vine for a prolonged amount of time, past the point at which they are at their ripeness maximum. As a result, the grape becomes dehydrated, and the sugar and alcohol content of the grape rises as a result. Late harvest wines such as Muscat (commonly known as Moscato), Vidal, and Riesling are among the most popular varieties available. When paired with citrus-based sweets such as lemon cream pie, these wines are really delectable together.
Find the Perfect Pairing for Your Dessert at Cellaraiders
Are you looking for the best dessert wines to add to your collection? Look no further. Cellaraiders can be of assistance. Among the dessert wines available in our collection are Gran Reserva, Madeira, and other popular choices for the occasion. Contact us right away if you would like additional information about our current services.