What Is The Difference Between Dessert Wine And Table Wine

The Difference Between Table Wines, Dessert Wines and Sparkling Wines

We’ve all heard the words table, dessert, and sparkling wines used to refer to various types of wines at some point in our lives. Some of us are aware of the distinctions between the terms, while others are content to let these ‘jargons’ pass us by unnoticed. The distinctions between the two will be discussed in detail. Each of these terms refers to a distinct sort of beverage. As a general rule, table wines are referred to as light wines since they contain less alcohol than other types of beverages.

So, if you are careful about the quantity of alcohol you consume and feel that less is more, you may have been drinking table wines, whether consciously or unconsciously, without realizing it.

Given the wide range of growing conditions presently available for grape production, the sugar levels in grapes will vary, with the result that the alcohol content will be lower or greater depending on where they are harvested and fermented.

A table wine is defined as one that contains 14 percent or less alcohol and does not include any bubbles, according to state regulation.

  1. The reason for this might be because the grapes used have a high concentration of sugar in them, or that alcohol is added during or after the fermentation process to enhance the flavor.
  2. These wines are sweet and black in color, and they are typically served with dessert after dinner.
  3. Sparkling wines are so named because they contain bubbles and appear to sparkle when poured into a glass.
  4. This allows the bubbles to be contained inside the juice and result in sparkling wine as a result of the process that occurs.
  5. Champagne was invented in an area of France called Champagne, where it was initially made.
  6. The phrase “sparkling wines” refers to any wine that has bubbles or champagne that has been officially designated as such.

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

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

To that end, please allow us to provide you with some background information about dessert wine and how it differs from other types of wines. A helpful list of dessert wines, as well as some enticing food combinations, will be provided as part of the event.

What IsDessert Wine?

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

  1. In other words, the amount of sugar that is left over after the fermentation process has taken place.
  2. A variety of methods were used by winemakers to create essert wines.
  3. It might be created from late-harvest grapes that have been allowed to raisinate and increase in sugar content as a result of being kept on the vine for a longer period of time.
  4. Alternatively, it may be sweetened by fortification, resulting in the production of fortified wines.
  5. While most dessert wines are on the sweeter side, there is a wide range of styles available under the category of dessert wines.
  6. To be clear, dessert wines are not merely sweet, one-trick ponies, as you may have previously believed.

What to Look for inDessert Wine

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

Keep an eye out for the following descriptors:

Different Types ofDessert Winesand Food Pairings

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


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


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


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


This fortified wine comes from the country of Spain. Sherry is often served as an aperitif before a meal; however, why not try it after a hearty dinner when you’re looking to wind down? Fruit sweets like Pedro Ximénez are great accompaniments to crème brulee, vanilla ice cream, dark chocolate anything, or just enjoyed on their own as an after dinner treat.


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


Another rot wine of distinction, the tongue-twisting Gewürztraminer is a sweet, fragrant wine from the Alsace region of France that has a pleasant sweetness to it.

With its lovely floral and lychee overtones, this exquisite white wine pairs perfectly with any dessert that has lychee, pear, or peach as one of the major components, such as ice cream.


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

Ice Wine

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

It’s Time for Dessert in a Glass

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

Who knows what will happen?

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

What is a Dessert Wine?

“You had me at hello,” as Jerry Maguire famously said, and this wine had us at dessert. Having said that, let’s be honest: you could get away with just dessert and just wine as well. In the world of wine, dessert wines are the middle child who doesn’t get spoken about much. This is a shame because they are excellent, and if you’re the next Sara Lee, you can elevate your dessert course to a whole new level with them. After all of that, we’re going to devote some time to discussing dessert wines because she deserves it!

  • On the other hand, dessert wines are well titled since they are wines that are consumed during or after a meal that includes dessert.
  • After that, you’re left with a full-bodied wine that’s been wonderfully sweetened with natural grape sugars from a variety of grape varietals!
  • And, of course, each of these wine types has sub-styles that are sub-categories of the style.
  • Let’s take a look at each type and see what you need know about it.
  • As the world’s most technically complex wine, this wine requires a high level of upkeep due to the fact that she goes through two fermentations.
  • Dessert wine with a little sweetness: These white wines, which are refreshingly sweet, are bursting at the seams with fruit aromas.
  • Dessert wine with a lot of sweetness: There are three different ways to produce this delectably sweet drink, all of which use the highest-quality grapes and are not fortified with alcohol.

In general, the longer grapes are allowed to mature on the vine, the sweeter and more raisinated the grapes become.

See also:  How Much Does Red Dessert Wine Cost

Using noble rot to produce a highly sweet dessert wine is still another way.

Noble rot, despite the fact that it sounds and looks horrible, imparts notes of ginger, saffron, and honey to sweet wines, particularly Sauternes from Bordeaux in France and Trockenbeerenauslese from Germany (wow, that’s a mouthful).

In this procedure, grapes are allowed to raisinate on straw mats for a period of time before being turned into wine.

Ice wine is the last process of producing a sweet dessert wine with a high sugar concentration that is rich in flavor and sweetness (or in Germany, eiswein).

Ice wine must be collected and pressed while the grapes are still frozen in order to be successful.

Lambrusco, Brachetto d’Acqui, Schiava, Freisa, Recioto Della Valpolicella, and Late-Harvest Red Wines are some of the varietals that are available.

Fortified wines are produced by blending wine with grape brandy to provide a stronger flavor.

The wine can be either dry or sweet, depending on your preference. Fortified wines are extremely alcoholic and have a long shelf life, making them ideal for entertaining. Vin Doux Naturel is divided into four categories: port (tawny port or other), sherry, Madeira, and Vin Doux Naturel.

What Is The Difference Between Dessert Wine and Table Wine?

Is it just us, or does the word “table wine” sound very uninteresting when contrasted to the name “dessert wine”? It’s like your younger sister gets a very interesting name, and you’re named after your great-grandmother, who had the most popular name in her generation at the time. Table wines are also referred to as ‘dry wines’ since they do not include a significant amount of residual sugar in the final product. They are almost the polar opposite of dessert wines in that they are not sweet since they do not include the huge amounts of sugar found in dessert wines.

Is It Sweet?

Is it just us, or does the word “table wine” sound very uninteresting when contrasted to the name “dessert wine?”. It’s like your younger sister gets a very interesting name, and you’re named after your great-grandmother, who had the most popular name of her generation at the time. Due to the fact that table wines have very little residual sugar in the finished product, they are often referred to as “dry wines.” The fact that they are not sweet and do not contain a significant quantity of sugar makes them the polar opposite to dessert wines.

What Does It Taste Like?

Dessert wines, to put it simply, taste like dessert. Dessert wines may have a wide range of flavors, especially when it comes to the many sorts available to consumers. However, the following is a broad description of the flavors associated with each dessert wine. Dessert Wine with a Splash of Sparkling: This type of wine is zippy and light, with delicious notes of fresh apple, lime, and lemon zest, and it has a greater acidity than some of the others. Fruity dessert wine with a light sweetness: As we previously mentioned, this wine has a light sweetness to it and is bursting with fruit notes.

  1. These are excellent with sweets such as Crème Brûlée.
  2. Late harvest dessert wines with rich scents of dried pear, vanilla, and orange are made with a lot of sugar and are quite sweet.
  3. Known for being very sweet, Noble Rot wines, another means of producing lavishly sweet dessert wine, are another method of producing richly sweet dessert wine.
  4. Some of these reds should even be served cold for optimal pleasure, and they are renowned to have a fruity flavor that is recognizable to wine drinkers.

It is via the fortification process that we have received such treasures as port wine from Portugal, which frequently includes tastes of dried fruits like apricot. In general, all of these varieties of wine have a particular sweetness to them, and they are frequently used to flavor other drinks.

The difference between table wines, dessert wines and sparkling wines

We’ve all heard the words table wine, dessert wine, and sparkling wine used to refer to various types of wines at some point in our lives. Some of us are aware of the distinctions between them, but others are oblivious to the meanings of these ‘jargon’ phrases. The distinctions between the two will be discussed in detail. Various sorts of wine are referred to by each word. As a result of their lower alcohol content than other types of wine, table wines are commonly referred to as “light wines.” They are not permitted to contain more than 14 percent alcohol in the United States of America and Europe, according to the legislation.

  • It used to be that the wines of yesteryear had no more than 14 percent alcohol.
  • They are also non-alcoholic and non-fizzy.
  • Dessert wines are those that have more than 14 percent alcohol by volume.
  • The last explanation has gained considerable popularity in several parts of the world.
  • In the United States, they were referred to as “desert wine” as a result of this.
  • Champagne and sparkling wines are so named because they contain bubbles and appear to sparkle when poured.
  • While this is occurring, bubbles are trapped inside the juice, resulting in sparkling wine as a result.
  • Champagne was invented in an area of France called Champagne, where it is still made today.
  • Sparkling wines, often known as cavas, are the official global word for sparkling wines.

Related Posts

When referring to different wines, we’ve probably all heard the terms table wine, dessert wine, and sparkling wine. We all know the distinctions between them, but some of us don’t grasp what is being said because we aren’t paying attention to the “jargon.” In this section, we’ll go over how they differ from one another. Various sorts of wine are denoted by the terms. As a result of their lower alcohol content than other types of wine, table wines are commonly referred to as “light wines.” In the United States of America and Europe, they are prohibited from containing more than 14 percent alcohol by law.

  1. Wines from the past used to have a maximum of 14 percent alcohol, according to historical records.
  2. There is no sparkling in them, as well.
  3. Dessert wines are defined as those that have more than 14 percent alcohol.
  4. In some parts of the world, the final reason has grown quite popular.
  5. As a result, in the United States, they are referred to as “dessert wine.” The term “liqueur wines” is used throughout Europe to refer to these types of wines.
  6. Sparkling wine is created as a consequence of bubbles trapped inside the juice during the fermentation process.

A area in France known as Champagne is where champagne was initially made. However, champagne is currently produced in all or most parts of the world, not only France. Sparkling wines, often known as cavas, are the official name used worldwide for sparkling wines and cavas.

United States

Table wine is defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and the Code of Federal Regulations as a grapewine with a maximum alcoholic content of 14 percentalcohol by volume that is made from grapes. Dessert wines are defined as those with an alcohol content ranging from 14 percent to 24 percent. It is also possible to define table wine using terminology such as white wine, light white wine, red table wine, sweet table wines (and so on).

European Union

In accordance with European Union criteria, all wine produced must fit into one of two categories: table wine or high-quality wines made in specific locations (often referred to asquality wine psr). Among table wines, there are two types: “plain” table wines, which are only permitted to display the nation of origin, and table wines with geographical indication, which may include an area of origin and are a type of protected geographical indication (PGI) applied to wine. For the lowestvin de tablelevel in France, the producers must use postal codes to avoid the name of an appellation or the vintage date from appearing on the label, even in fine text, on the label or on the bottle (though “lot numbers” which can bear a striking resemblance to dates are permitted).

List of national table wine designations

Table wines and table wines with geographical indication are classified at the following national levels of wine classification, which relate to table wines and table wines with geographical indication.

Country Table wines with geographical indication Other table wines
Austria Landwein
Belgium Landwijn (Dutch), Vin de pays (French)
Brazil Vinho de Mesa, “Table Wine”
Bulgaria Pегионално вино (Regionalno vino), “Regional wine”
Cyprus Τοπικός Οίνος (Topikós Oínos), “Regional wine”
Czech Republic Zemské víno, “Country wine” Stolní víno, “Table Wine”
Denmark Regional vin, “Regional wine”
France Vin de pays, “Country wine”;Vin de France(new category from 2010)
Germany Landwein, “Regional wine”
Greece ονομασία κατά παράδοση (onomasía katá parádosi), “Traditional appellation”; τοπικός οίνος (topikós oínos), “Country wine”
Hungary Tájbor, “Country wine”
Italy Indicazione geografica tipica(IGT), may in some areas also be written in German asLandweinor in French asVin de pays
Luxembourg Marque Nationale-Appellation Contrôlée, “National Brand – Controlled Appellation”
Malta Indikazzjoni Ġeografika Tipika(I.G.T.)
Netherlands Landwijn, “Regional wine”
North Macedonia Регионално вино, Verë rajonale, “Regional wine” Трпезно вино, Verë tryeze, “Table wine”
Portugal Vinho regional, “Regional wine”
Romania Vin cu indicaţie geografică, “Wine with Geographical Indication”
Russia Столовое вино (Stolovoye vino), “Table Wine”
Serbia Регионално вино (Regionalno vino), “Regional wine” Стоно вино (Stono vino), “Table Wine”
Slovenia Deželno vino spriznano geografsko oznako(Deželno vino PGO), “Regional wine – Recognized Geographical Indication”
Spain Vino de la Tierra, “Regional wine”
United Kingdom Regional wine


The proportion of a country’s total production that is classed as table wine varies substantially from one region to another. As of 2000, vin de table accounted for the vast majority (by volume) of wine produced in France, whereas just 5 percent of German table wine is produced. Table wine from any part of the EU can be combined together to create European table wine, which is a product of the European Union. Europe’s table wines are typically created from grapes grown in the highest-yielding vineyards and vinified in a large-scale industrial facility.

For the equivalent of a few dollars in the United States, it is still feasible to acquire a gallon of thin, pale wine that is packaged in a box rather than a bottle in France or Spain.

Naming contradictions

In direct opposition to the presumptive hierarchy, great table wines are rare in Europe, yet they do occur in limited quantities. If you use non-traditional grapes or use unique winemaking techniques, your ambitious wine-making results may be labeled as “table wine,” which means they are not worth drinking. Indeed, even wines produced with every precaution (such as low vine yields and hand harvesting) and planted on areas that would otherwise be eligible for designation as an appellation may be denied recognition.

In 1992, Italy established the Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT), which was intended expressly to allow Super Tuscans to transition from the table wine classification to that of quality wine.

Vin de table is the fourth and lowest classified wine in the French wine classification system, according to popular use.

These wines are the most affordable to purchase and prepare (they can be purchased for as little as €.80), and they are typically consumed as an accompaniment to a midday meal or used to make wine-based cocktails.

See also

  • List of grape varietals
  • Vintages of wine
  • House wine
  • And more.


There was never a time when someone at dinner said, “Pass the table wine!” Despite this, the word “table wine” appears repeatedly in numerous nations and in every possible language, with a definition that appears to be continually altering. It has been employed as a literal description by certain winemakers; it has also been used as a simple figure of speech by others in the winemaking community. In some locations, it appears to be used as an official method of identifying wine; in others, it appears to be a lingering bit of antiquated vocabulary that has survived over time.

  • However, it may be further subdivided based on the context in which it is used and the origin of the word.
  • What does the term “table wine” signify in the United States?
  • To put it another way, it’s a low-cost, easy-drinking beverage that will suffice for the duration of a meal.
  • Is it possible for the European definition to be any more complicated.?
  • As an example, in Europe, the term “table wine” traditionally referred to a legal category of wines that were subject to the strictest possible production limitations.
  • As a result, these later wines were classified as goods with protected geographical indications, which meant that the places in which they were grown and the techniques by which they were produced had strict regulations (and therefore, theoretically, of higher quality).
  • France, for example, adopted a system in 1935 that divided people into four categories: Vin de Table (also known as “Table Wine”) refers to any wine produced anywhere in France.
  • VDQS (Vin Delimité de Qualité Supérieure): Wines of superior quality from a wide range of regions.
  • However, in 2011, the European Union replaced QWpsr with two new categories: PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) and PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) (Protected Designation of Origin).
  • IGP (Indication Geographique Protégée): France’s new protected geographical indication (PGI), which will replace Vin de Pays and VDQS.
See also:  What To Eat With Pear Dessert Wine

In adopting this new method, France eliminates the negative, low-quality connotation associated with the word “V in de Table” and prevents misunderstanding with the American use of the phrase “table wine.” (Photo courtesy of macahanc6r/Flickr) In Italy, a basic bottle of local “vino da tavola” (table wine) is occasionally supplied with the cost of a meal at a restaurant.

  • Despite the fact that “table wine” has been formally phased out, many wineries have contested the decision.
  • And, of course, there is still a significant amount of older wine with labels that have the former classification that is floating around out there.
  • Without a doubt, no.
  • For Paula de Pano, beverage director at Fearrington House Restaurant in North Carolina, “there is a lot of red tape to go through.” “Some winemakers aren’t really concerned about the label – they just want to create wine,” says the author.
  • As a result, they agree on a “Table Wine” label, foregoing a PGI or PDO certification in exchange for more freedom.
  • Generally speaking, table wine in the United States is defined by its affordability, but this is not the case in Europe.
  • When laws are revised, it is possible that such declassified wine will ultimately get an appellation declaration.
  • When they released the 1968 vintage, there was no DOC permitting Cabernet Sauvignon to be bottled, so they adopted thevino da tavoladesignation to distinguish their wine.” Today, it’s a DOC-class wine that sells for roughly $170 a bottle, making it a good investment.

The proprietor of the educational outpostNYC Wine Company, Andrew Harwood, agrees that a wine without a stated origin may just as easily be a bold wine created by a pioneering producer who has access to the greatest grapes from an otherwise underappreciated zone as it could be a wine missing a specified provenance.

In the same vein, Michel Gassier, Les Vins de Viennes, and Château Pesquié in France all produce magnificent juice that is on pace with, if not better than, many AOC wines.” When it comes to finding “secret gems” that only a wine expert would know about, Greer recommends seeking out a salesperson at a reputable wine shop that you can visit and converse with in order to discover “hidden treasures” that only a wine professional would know about.

  1. As he explains, “often, these wines will also come with a tale that can be told again while you’re enjoying the wine.” And, if all else fails, the price might be a good indicator of the overall quality.
  2. Can we expect the $10 bottle to be superior to the $20 bottle in terms of quality?
  3. However, this is less plausible.
  4. I believe I’ve figured it out now.
  5. I really have seven of them: Paolo Scavino is a well-known Italian actor.
  6. In order to declassify fruit, Scavino employs the ” vino da tavola ” classification, mixing Barbera, Dolcetto, and Nebbiolo grapes from the same vineyards that he uses for his higher-end PDO bottlings to create a declassified wine.
  7. Syrah from the Rhône Valley, France, costs $30.
  8. “Hervé Souhaut of Romaneaux-Destezet produces high-quality wines from vines ranging in age from 50 to 100 years,” she says.
  9. With a major emphasis on Petite Syrah and the addition of Cabernet Franc, Barbera, Syrah and Merlot to round out the mix, this wine exhibits just the ideal combination of black fruit, spice, and tannins to pair well with a broad range of foods.
  10. In yet another outstanding example of American table wine, this white blend combines Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Semillon, and Pinot Grigio grapes in a single bottle to create a light and refreshing beverage that is perfect for outdoor dining or a light lunch.

Vino Bianco Denavolo, Dinavolino Denavolo, Vino Bianco Denavolo, Vino Bianco Denavolo, Vino Bianco Denavolo, Vino Bianco Denavolo, Vino Bianco Denavolo, Vino Bianco Denavolo, Vino Bianco Denavolo, Vino Bianco Denavolo, Vino Bianco Denavolo, Vino Bi Italian Emilia Romagna – $21 per person In his own home area, Lorenzo Baricca, wine director and partner at Tarallucci e Vino, recommends this demanding natural wine from his own vineyards.

  1. “It’s an unfiltered wine with floral notes and great acidity and minerality,” he says of the mix of Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Marsanne, Ortugo, and an undisclosed local variety.
  2. In order to get a light orange hue in the wine, the grapes are macerated with their skins on for 7 to 10 weeks.
  3. The Loire Valley in France is $13 per person.
  4. Fresh peach, grapefruit, and apple flavors combine in the mouth to create a refreshing summer sipper that can be purchased for a more-than-reasonable price.
  5. In general, the Rhône appears to be a region that offers excellent value, and this wine is certainly no exception to that trend.

According to Andrew Harwood, thisVin de France from the Ventoux appellation of the area is “like the first warm day in spring — in a bottle,” with aromas of flowers and honey, mineral and spice. “It’s silky, it’s smooth, and it never fails to please.”

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!

With the purchase of Wine Folly: Magnum Edition, you will receive this bonus.

  • 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.

  • Drinking light, sweet wines on a hot day is a nice change from dry, sour wines. Many of these sweet wines go well with spicy dishes such as Indian or Southeast Asian cuisine, which are popular in the United States. In most cases, light-sweet wines are best consumed as soon as possible after harvest, with the exception of a few rare exceptions, such as German Riesling, which may be enjoyed for many years after harvest! Expect these wines to be bursting with fruit tastes and well-suited for desserts that are fruit-based or vanilla-based. Take, for example, Gewürztraminer, which is renowned for its fragrances of lychee and rose petals, among other fruit. Fruit tarts with a Gewürztraminer are a perfect match.

Richly Sweet Dessert Wine

Lightly sweet wines have a delightful sweetness to them, making them ideal for a warm day. Many of these sweet wines combine nicely with spicy dishes such as Indian or Southeast Asian cuisine. 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 many 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-based. Take, for example, Gewürztraminer, which is renowned for its fragrances of lychee and rose petals. Fruit tarts and Gewürztraminer go along like peanut butter and jelly.

Late Harvest

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.

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Noble Rot

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.

Straw Mat

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 Wine

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.

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