Author Archives: justwines

Looking For The Best Sweet Wine? Your Search Ends Here!

Preferring sweet wine over dry (which is how a vast majority of wines are) is a matter of preference. But in a nutshell, it is the fermentation that determines the sweetness in a wine. During the process of fermentation, the yeast converts the sugar in grape juice to ethanol, or alcohol. If the fermentation is allowed to continue until the sugar in juice gets exhausted in its entirety, the result is a dry wine. In case it is stopped much before all the sugar was converted to alcohol, the resulting wine would be sweet. The best wines that are sweet show a great balance between acidity and sweetness. Hence, they are not only for those with a sweet tooth.


One of the world’s favourite sweet wines is Moscato d’Asti from Italy. Crafted using Moscato Bianco grapes, it is slightly fizzy, low in alcohol and is classified as a dessert wine. As per the law, it can only contain no more than 5.5% alcohol by volume and hence, the fermentation is stopped once that amount of ethanol is produced, retaining a substantial amount of sugar in the wine. While it is a sweet wine, it is not syrupy, rather light and refreshing. The flavour profile shows characters of blossom, melons and nectarines. While as a dessert wine it can be consumed as the last course of a meal, it is delish with mango tarts, filled with vanilla-scented, silky pastry cream. For a simpler pairing, a small bowl of farm-fresh strawberries is a great idea. If you are a cheese lover (Who isn’t, though?), team it up with some lovely gorgonzola.

Moscato d’Asti is consumed whilst young, usually within just a few years from bottling. It should also be served slightly chilled. A bad Moscato d’Asti is very rare – and hence if you are looking for the best wine that is sweet, you now know which one you should opt for!


Merlot Vs Pinot Noir – 6 Important Factors that Decide How Popular These Are

Merlot and Pinot Noir are among the most prominent red wine varieties preferred by wine lovers around the globe. Though both wines are crafted using different varieties of dark grapes, these premium red varietals are served at room temperature and contain an alcohol level of 12 -13%. Both Merlot and Pinot Noir wines contain fewer tannins. More than the similarities, the popularity of these red wines is mostly decided on the basis of their colour and strength in terms of flavours and texture.

Merlot Vs Pinot Noir: The Differences

Factors Merlot Pinot Noir
Primary grape growing region Merlot grapes are easy to nurture and are mostly cultivated in Wrattonbully, Barossa Valley, and McLaren Vale wine regions of Australia.   Pinot Noir grapes are mostly grown in cooler climate regions around the world. In Australia, this grape variety is grown in Beechworth, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Valley and Adelaide Hills.
Colour Merlot displays a deep and intense colour. Pinot Noir has a lighter hue in comparison to Merlot.
Tastes/ Flavours Merlot is an easy drinking wine owing to its soft and round texture Pinot Noir has a strong flavour profile than Merlot. It is fresh and delicate.
Aromas Merlot often flaunts black cherry, plum and herb aromas. Pinot Noir displays fruity aromas of cherries, plums and strawberries, with earthy hints of leather, oak and tea leaf evident in the backdrop.  
Tannins/ acidity Merlot contains less acidity. Pinot Noir contains medium to high acidity.
Food pairings Most Merlot wines can be enjoyed with any kind of food but pairs best with dishes that include beef and lamb.   Pinot Noir wines compliment foods like grilled salmon or chicken and taste amazing with most of the Japanese dishes.


Cab Sauv or Merlot: How to Tell the Difference

Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines share many similarities, but this doesn’t mean that they don’t have any distinct properties. For an occasional wine drinker, it might be difficult to differentiate between a Cab Sauv and a Merlot wine. But there are subtle differences that you can notice when you begin understanding these wines properly.

Here’s how you can go about comparing the two wines with one another:

cabernet sauvignon vs merlot


Cabernet Sauvignon is a small and thick skinned grape. Hence, single varietal wine produced from these grapes is rich in tannins and colour as well. When compared to Merlot, Cab Sauv wines are more powerful, dry, dense in colour and take more time to age in bottle before opening.

Merlot is a sweet and soft grape as compared to the Cab Sauv. Single varietal Merlot wines are juicy with flavours of cherry and chocolate and easy on drinking. These wines take less time in aging and taste best when enjoyed young and fresh.


Merlot is often blended with wines to beat the bitterness of tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, on the other hand,  are used to add a drier flavour to wines that are too sweet.


Premier Cabernet Sauvignon producing wine regions are Coonawarra and Margaret River. Merlot is more popular in Coonawarra, Margaret River, McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley regions.

Food Pairing

Cab Sauv wines are rich in flavour, so avoid pairing them with delicate meals. Full bodied Cab Sauv wines taste best with heavy protein-rich dishes like steak, wild pheasant, or duck. Consider less oily fish like tuna or swordfish for a medium to light bodied styles.

Since Merlot wines are lighter on tannins and are sweeter, these can be paired with a variety of foods. Merlot is a great combination of most of the Italian dishes or tomato-based dishes. The wine also justifies savoury flavours of roasted chicken, Parmesan cheese, and mushrooms.

Best 2018 Australian Sparkling Wines You Can Buy for $50 or Less

Australians have always been huge fans and connoisseurs of sparkling wines, both red and white. Renowned for its award-winning wineries, Australia too has earned the reputation of producing some of the oldest grape varieties, allowing the upcoming and reputed winemakers to hone their winemaking skills in its lush regions. Whether it is a full-bodied Cabernet, light bodied Pinot Gris or bubbly sparkling wines, Aussie winemakers today hold expertise to craft it all.

Best 2018 Australian Sparkling Wines

Here is a list of the Best Sparkling Wines 2018, created for the wine lovers around the globe to help them stock their cellar with the best wines of Australia at affordable prices.

  1. 2004 Miceli Sparkling Rose Brut, Mornington Peninsula –  $49

A stylish blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris grapes, this stunning pale salmon – pink hued Rose Brut is rich with toasty yeast, cream and delicious strawberry notes.

  1. 2005 Jansz Premium Vintage Late Disgorged, Tasmania – $50

Pale gold hues with fine bead. Intense aromas of shucked oysters, sea spray, truffle and brioche on the nose. The rich and layered palate is packed with truffled honey, caramelised pears, and toasted almonds.

  1. Bay of Fires Arras Brut Elite NV, Northern Tasmania, $50

Exotic aromas and flavours of lychee, spice, white peach and fresh oyster, combine with glace cherry and truffle oil characters on the generous palate to present a soft and persistent Brut Elite.

  1. 2008 Alexandra, Lake Barrington Vineyard, Northern Tasmania – $45

Post maturation on lees for 4 years, this enticing wine from Lake Barrington Vineyard displays persistent beads, along with interesting aromas of fresh fruits and nuts. Light and creamy texture of this wine further enhances its dynamic appearance.

  1. 2008 Blanc de Noir, Barton Vineyard, Northern Tasmania – $35

This pale quartz coloured Blanc de Noir is a refreshing wine, showing complex flavours of yeast, brioche and citrus.

  1. Macedon Brut Rose NV, Hanging Rock Winery Sparkling Rose, Macedon Ranges – $30

Salmon pink colour. Delicate fruit flavours on the palate lead to a dry finish, making this stunning Brut Rose an ideal aperitif.

  1. 2009 Howard Park Jete Grand Vintage Methode Traditionnelle, Burch Family Wines – $38

The palate is rich and elegant with flavours of stone fruit, citrus, cashew meal and freshly baked brioche. This exquisite sparkling wine showcases a creamy texture and lingering finish.

  1. Pirie Sparkling NV, Tamar Ridge, Northern Tasmania, $30

This gorgeous Pirie Sparkling boasts of complex and fresh fruit characters, balanced by vibrant lemon acidity, culminating in a slaty, mineral finish.

  1. Taltarni Blanc de Blancs 2011 Pyrenees – $26

Crafted using premium Chardonnay grapes, this classic Blanc de Blancs has lemon and subtle peach characters, all of which combine with bold, natural acidity to offer a textured and captivating finale.

  1. Turkey Flat Sparkling Shiraz Barossa Valley – $40

Mesmerising aromas of prune, cherries, plums, blueberry tart and dark chocolate precede the fresh and intense palate to offer a lingering finale.