Last updated: August 17, 2021

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There is nothing more delicious than drinking a glass of wine and even more so when it has an irresistible sweet touch. In this opportunity we want to show you all about sweet wine and even better, we will show you the best ones on the market at the moment. If you are a wine lover you cannot stop drinking a sweet wine.

This alcoholic drink is perfect to accompany sweets or desserts. However, choosing a good wine is an art that not everyone knows, our goal today will be to teach you all about this delicious drink. This way you will be able to choose the best one on the market. You will find everything you need to know about a product such as relevant information, technical aspects, news, purchasing factors and what you can never miss, the users' opinion. Join us to become a connoisseur of sweet wines.




Summary

  • Sweet wine, like all wine, comes from the vine, the difference between this one and the others is its high sugar content. This makes it perfect for making cocktails, accompanying desserts, as well as being used in gastronomic dishes. Europe is the largest producer of sweet wine, but there is a large number of vineyards in Mexico.
  • There is a wide range of variants when it comes to sweet wine. All of them are associated with the way it is made. You will see in our article how there are late harvest sweet wines, ice wine, botrytised, fortified and natural sweet wines.
  • If you are not an expert in choosing sweet wines, no problem, we have for you the buying factors. These will help you to choose the best bottle of this drink. Among the factors we find the use, the alcohol content, the vine used and even the way it is made.

The Best Sweet Wine: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about sweet wine

With our buying guide you will have at your disposal all the information you need to know about sweet wines. From their conception, to their advantages, disadvantages and the factors that influence their quality. After reading it we are sure that you will become an excellent wine buyer.

No matter the occasion, a wine will always be the perfect accompaniment. (Photo: Jill Wellington / Pixabay.com)

What is a sweet wine and what are its advantages?

A sweet wine is a wine that has a higher sugar content than its sister wines. There are different ways to obtain sweetness in a wine, this does not only depend on the grape, as in some cases natural sweets, musts or mistelas are added. They are usually used to accompany desserts. Although the real origin of the first sweet wines is unknown, it is believed that the country that took the lead was Spain.

In Mexico there are several vineyards that are in charge of producing these types of wines with an autochthonous touch, as it should be. The sweet wine enhances the flavours of cakes, nuts and other desserts due to its intense but sugary taste. We want to make it clear that it does not mean that this wine is like a sweet itself, but that it is much less bitter than other wines that manage to finish fermentation without any additives.

Advantages
  • Antioxidant, anti-arthritic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-inflammatory
  • Prevents neurological diseases
  • Perfect to accompany desserts and social gatherings
  • Provides minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and folic acid
Disadvantages
  • Excessive consumption can create addiction or dependence
  • A good wine is usually an expensive wine
  • Excessive consumption can cause physical and psychological problems

Sweet, sweet, sweetened, late harvest, botrytised, fortified, ice wine and natural sweets - what should you pay attention to?

To the marvel of all wine tasters and wine lovers, sweet wine has variants depending on how they were harvested, oxidised and by the grape itself. In this section we will show you these variants and what makes them so special.

  • Apassimented. This is a technique for obtaining wine that has its origins in ancient Rome. The idea is to dehydrate the grapes in the open air, protecting them from birds. The effect of dehydration reduces the grapes by 40% but increases the sugar content, resulting in a much sweeter wine.
  • Late Harvest. As the name suggests, this is a late harvest. A late harvest usually occurs in countries where the autumns are even-weathered. This consists of leaving the grapes on the plants until they over ripen, start to dehydrate and end up having more sugar.
  • Botrytised. Botrytized sweet wine is wine made from grapes where the fungus Botrytis cinerea covers the grapes with an ash. This ash not only dehydrates the grapes, but also changes the grapes from the inside, making their flavour intense and very interesting to all palates.
  • Headed. To make a sweet wine with a high alcoholic content, the heading technique is used. This technique consists of adding alcohol to stop fermentation, causing the sugars not to be completely diluted. Headers are perfect to accompany cheeses, dried fruits and chocolates.
  • Ice Wine. There are countries where winter comes faster than in others. In the vineyards of these countries, the grapes freeze, causing the water in the grapes to split from the sugars, resulting in a totally concentrated wine with strong hints of sweetness and acidity. They are usually slow fermentation wines.
  • Natural sweets. They are so called because in addition to the grapes harvested in winter, an element containing natural sugar is added to give this alcoholic beverage that special touch.
Apassimentado Late Harvest Botritizado Encabezado Ice Wine Dulces naturales
Harvest season Spring Autumn Autumn Spring, autumn and winter Winter Spring, autumn and winter
Alcoholic strength 14 to 22% 13 to 16% 10 to 15% 4 to 20% 10 to 20% 10 to 20%
Price Medium High High High Medium High

Buying criteria

Surely you have heard that choosing a good wine is not simply the most beautiful or the one that tastes more or less good, it is an art. In this art there are guidelines that you can follow to make a purchase that you will never regret. Here are those factors that will allow you to choose the best sweet wine on the market.

Vine varieties

Most of the bottled flavour in every sweet wine is thanks to the grape. Of course, with each type of grape this alcoholic beverage obtains different properties, aromas and flavours. Without a doubt, knowing which grape gave life to the sweet wine you are about to buy is important. Here you have the varieties of vines to elaborate such a wine.

  • Muscatel. The grape from which the wine with the same name is made. This grape is one of the sweetest and most aromatic, these properties allow it to be a wine grape and even to be eaten on its own. You can obtain citric touches in your sweet Moscatel wine and, in addition, sparkling wines can be produced with it.
  • Pedro Ximénez. It is a white grape variety that provides enough sweetness to make a good sweet wine. The sweet wine from this grape is perfect to intensify the flavours of desserts. Its origin is in Spain, but nowadays there are vineyards all over the world. They are topped with distilled alcohol.
  • Malvasia. It is a type of grape that is also used in the production of sweet wine. Malvasia is a white grape but it also has a red variation, called black Malvasia. Nowadays Malvasia is not produced so much because of its low resistance to diseases and its more neutral taste than others, so it is a relegated vine.
  • Monastrell. This grape is the most harvested grape in the world and offers a delicious sweet red wine. These grapes are left to ripen in order to achieve a high sugar content. Monastrell wines do not need to be blended with alcohol as their fermentation does the job, giving them a natural alcohol content.

Uses

There is no doubt that one of the most important factors to take into account when buying a sweet wine is the use you can make of it. In the case of these wines, which are not usually drunk as regularly as other bitter or semi-bitter wines, there are three specific uses you can give it and you will see them below.

Cocktails, one of the uses that has risen again in recent years is the use of sweet wine in cocktails. As it has a neutral taste compared to other wines, it is excellent for mixing with other alcoholic beverages, syrups and more. Some cocktails with sweet wine are:

Lounge Chair Afternoon, Improved Dunlop and First wind.

Gastronomic, the use of alcoholic beverages in gastronomy is not something new but sweet wine raises the level. This type of wine is perfect for a touch of sweetness, citrus and a delicious aroma that will enhance any dish. Preparing meats or preparing a dessert improves when you add a little sweet wine.

To accompany desserts, no matter what kind of dessert it is, a cake, a pie, a muffin, some chocolates or dried fruits, sweet wine goes amazing with them. In fact, the most common use for sweet wine is precisely to accompany sweets. If you have not yet experienced such a thing, you should take advantage of it as soon as possible.

Alcohol Content

One of the characteristics that wines have is that the alcohol degrees are not really big. In fact, you can find in the wine market bottles of less than 10 degrees of alcohol. The truth is that, when it comes to alcoholic volume, you have to be careful if you do not usually drink this kind of beverages.

Alcohol addiction or dependence is a very serious problem. Having problems due to indiscriminate consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause accidents and incidents. It is therefore necessary to be careful when consuming wine, even when it is sweet wine and its alcohol content is low.

Type of production

In addition to the taste provided by the vine to the sweet wine, its elaboration determines the final result. When it comes to sweet wine, there are different ways of elaborating it, either by letting the fruit dry, by taking advantage of the help of bacteria or by making use of the climate. We will show you the characteristics of each type.

  • Dehydrating. One way to make sweet wine in a natural way, that is to say, without adding any extra sugar, is through dehydration. This consists of drying or dehydrating the grapes, which helps the fruit to get rid of the water and keep only the flavour and sugar. The dried grapes are then used for the fermentation stage.
  • Extra ripening. When we eat a ripe fruit it usually has a natural sweetness, now imagine leaving it to ripen further. This type of sweet winemaking is called extra ripening. Using this principle of late harvesting, winemakers take advantage of a higher sugar content to make wine.
  • Botrytising. Possibly the rarest form of sweet wine making. By allowing the bacteria called Botrytis cinerea to act on the grapes, they produce an effect that we call botrytising. The bacterium leaves ashes on the fruit that modifies the grape inside, giving a sweet and intense flavour to the wine that is about to be prepared.
  • Freezing. Another way to make sweet wine is to be helped by the weather or the seasons, specifically winter. In certain countries where winter comes early, the frozen type of winemaking is used. The grapes are allowed to freeze, causing the sugar and water to separate inside the fruit. This helps to make a very fresh and palatable sweet wine. It never hurts to know how the sweet wine you are about to buy was made. It is very likely that you will choose one that is made with the technique you like the most. You are now ready to make the perfect purchase. 

(Featured Image Source: Oldiefan/ Pixabay.com)

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