To begin with, sweetness in a wine comes from sugar in the grape juice. When fermentation is allowed to continue to a point where the sugar is exhausted in a wine, it becomes a dry wine. Similarly, if fermentation is stopped before the yeast consumes all the sugar in a wine, the drink shows sweetness. Remember that any wine can be made dry or sweet. Just because Cabernet Sauvignon is usually dry, doesn’t mean that it can’t be made sweet. That said, wines like late harvest Riesling are generally sweet. Let us discuss some of the popular types of sweet wines.
- Richly Sweet Dessert Wines – For one, remember that a sweet wine doesn’t mean that it’s going to be sickeningly sweet. The sweetness is balanced by a good dose of acidity. These wines include noble rot wines, that are produced using Botrytis cinerea, a spore. This might sound unusual to those who have never tried these wines, but the fungus adds a beautiful honey dimension to the wine. This category also includes late harvest wines, which are much simpler to understand. Harvesting the grapes late means that they stay on the vine longer, and become sweeter as they ripen.
- Lightly Sweet Dessert Wines – Perfect for a hot summer day, these refreshing wines pair wonderfully with spicier cuisines such as Indian. Chances are you have had a lightly sweet wine already if you are a wine aficionado. These include Gewürztraminer, which flaunts a flavour profile marked by rose petal and lychee characters. Riesling can also be produced in a lightly sweet style. The grape has a high natural acidity, that cuts through the sweetness on the palate. Similarly, Chenin Blanc is often produced in a sweeter style too, but this is usually true in the US.
- Sweet Red Wines – The last category in this list of types of sweet wines is sweet reds. Sadly on a decline, many of these are worth a try! Italy produces a lot of sweet reds, including the world-renowned Lambrusco.
There are so many ways a wine can be crafted. Why not enjoy them all?