Sweet wine might be the first alcoholic beverage you ever tried. If Moscato, made from the muscat grape, was the first wine you've ever tasted, then we are correct. We're not saying that like it's a bad thing; we're just honest that for a majority of us, we started with a wine that we knew we'd like and thought might be similar to a grape juice or something that tastes like dessert, instead you found something with a tannins feel on your lips. For lack of better words, sweet wine is essentially what its name says: sweet wine. That's why another name for sweet wine is a dessert wine because it often accompanies a dessert course.
Other sweet wines or semi-sweet wines include ice wines, which can be made of grape varietals like Cabernet Franc. Sweet red wines include tawny port which is native to Portugal and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sweet white wines include varieties made from Semillon and from places like Australia.
In reality, the definition of sweet wine is not something incredibly defined in the world of wine. In general, sweet wine or dessert wines comprise more than 14% alcohol. If you're wondering, the average glass of wine is around 11% to 13%. So, the alcohol content in sweet wine is noticeably higher than your average glass of wine.
While many in California and the United States as well as various other countries such as Austria and Hungary call it sweet wine, these wines also go by an alias name in the United Kingdom. Here, sweet wine also goes by the name 'pudding wine' because it is a wine served with dessert.
What Makes Wine Sweet?
Sweet wines are made from both red or white grape varieties, and there are hundreds of distinct kinds of dessert wines and sweet white wines, such as the Sauternes and Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux, France, but there are five that are best known. These include sparkling dessert wine, lightly sweet dessert wine, richly sweet dessert wine, sweet red wine, and fortified wine.
Many newbie wine drinkers can't distinguish between fruity wine and sweet wine, but there is a significant difference between a fruity wine and sweet wine, and it all comes down to the sugar content and residual sugar. To get the sweetness found in sweet wines, winemakers stop the yeast from converting all of its grape sugar into alcohol during the fermentation process, leaving a rich wine that is deliciously sweetened with natural grapes!
There are other methods to create sweet wines besides preventing fermentation from completing. Fortified sweet wines, like Port, get their sweetness from grape brandy. This also explains why sweet wines are higher in alcohol content because adding brandy drastically increases the alcohol content. Remember when Four Loko was banned because it was too high in alcohol? Fortified wines have a higher ABV than the OG Four Lokos.
Sweet wines can range from sparkling white wines such as moscato d'asti, made from Moscato or Muscat, and Tokaji, which is made from noble rot that occurs through the fungus called botrytis which is found in fruits found in fruits.
Are Sweet Wines Healthy?
If you compare dry wines with sweet wines, it is pretty evident that dry wines are healthier because of their lower sugar amounts. High amounts of sugar are known to cause health problems like heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. While this doesn't mean that sweet wines necessarily cause these problems, they are factors to consider. If consumed in moderate amounts, wines can be regarded as a part of a healthy diet.
What Are the Healthiest Sweet Wines?
While most sweet wines fall into the higher calorie and sugar wines, some are healthier than the majority. We did the research, so if you want to indulge, you know which ones to grab!
Translated to "holy wine" in Italian, Vin Santo is a dessert wine style from Italy. A Tuscany traditional wine, Vin Santo is made from white grape varieties like Trebbiano and Malvasia. Occasionally, Vin Salo can be produced from Sangiovese to create a rose version. Because these wines are often produced by drying the harvested grapes on straw mats in warm areas, these wines are also described as straw wines. Although Vin Salo is most traditionally a dessert wine, they can also vary in sweetness levels, ranging from bone dry to extremely sweet. Therefore, there are times you can enjoy Vin Santo without the usual sugar that accompanies the delicious beverage.
The name of both an Italian red wine grape and wine, Lambrusco, is another Italian dessert wine. The grapes and the wine were introduced from four zones: Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Modena, Parma, Reggio-Emilia, and Mantua. These grapes have a long history of winemaking, as archaeological evidence indicates that Etruscans cultivated the wine. During Roman times, Lambrusco was incredibly valuable because of its productivity and high yields. The most popular of Lambrusco wine types are the frizzante wines, which are a sparkling wine varietal. In the 1970s and 1980s, Lambrusco was the most significant wine import in the United States.
Like breathing a bouquet of roses, Schiava is feminine, elegant, and light. A light-bodied red blend with an aroma of cotton candy, strawberry, bubblegum, and lemon head candy. Its flavors are subtle, and Alto Adige producers will frequently make a dry style to prevent overwhelming the palate with sweetness, which is already produced by its aroma. Additionally, its alcohol levels are slightly lighter (~12% ABV) because the grape grows in a cooler climate.
There is no denying that sweet wines are delicious. But there is a time and a place for dessert wines, like special occasions. The truth is, you can enjoy wine without all of that extra sugar. Bev enters the chat room: yup, we're going to give ourselves a plug here! If you're looking for a white, red, or rose wine with a bit of dryness and a little fizz, we're here for you! We're crisp and dry for a total cost of ZERO sugar.
Are There Healthy Snacks I Can Pair With Sweet Wines?
We all know that part of the fun of drinking wine is eating alongside the drinking. Here are some healthy snacks to enjoy alongside your wine!
Fruit with Sangria
There is a lot of variety in sangria, seeing that it can be made with either red or white wine, champagne, sparkling or flat. Therefore, its sweetness and summery quality may make it challenging to decipher what to serve with the beverage; sangria pairs well with various foods. Consider the sweetness level of the sangria you've prepared to ensure you don't pair it with a too-sweet dish, as the sugar may become overwhelming.
Strawberries and Cream with Riesling
Depending on where the Riesling was produced, they can show more apple, pear, or citrus and even tropical fruit notes, lower alcohol levels, often with a sweet touch, but always good acidity. Grab a Beerenauslese, a variety of sweet Riesling or dry Riesling from Germany, and enjoy its delicious, sweet taste alongside some strawberries and cream.
Dark Chocolate with Port
Almost every Port wine tastes deliciously with dark chocolate because they're sweeter than the bittersweet, dark chocolate. Even chocolate with only 40 percent cocoa will taste much more powerful and more bitter than an average bar of milk or white chocolate.