Love them or hate them, sweet wines are produced all over the world and in a variety of different ways. Luscious sweetness and high acidity are mixed with intense fruity flavours (think citrus, apricot, peaches). When aged, the wines become darker and intense, giving vegetal flavours of nuts, honey and coffee.
How They Are Made
Many sweet wines will be made from Noble Rot (or botrytis cinerea). This is a mould that attacks the grape and weakens the skin causing the water to evaporate quicker and the grapes to shrivel. The result is that the sugars and acid are concentrated, whilst the mould adds a hint of unique flavour.
Where To Find Them
Sweet wines made of noble rot are found in Bordeaux, in the region of Sauternes. The main grape used here is Sémillon, although Sauvignon Blanc can sometimes be added. The result is luscious sweetness with citrus and peachy flavours. In Hungary you will find Tokaji. These wines have more dried fruit flavours, with hints of spice. Other places that produce sweet wines include Germany, Alsace and the Loire.
Muscat and Eiswein
Interrupting the fermentation before all the sugar is converted to alcohol is process used for fortified Muscat wines. Vins Doux Naturals from Southern France, Moscatel de Valenica wines from Spain, and Rutherglen Muscats from Australia are all made this way. Another type of sweet wine that you may come across is Eiswein (icewine).This wine is made in Canada, Germany and Austria, where the grapes are crushed whilst still frozen and the result is a very pure, intensely fruity sweet wine.
When To Drink Them
Sweet wines are also known as dessert wines, so it is not hard to work out what food works well with them! Think cheesecake, apple pie, and chocolate. Sweet wines are also a perfect partner for cheese. Try Sauternes with blue cheese for a wonderful taste and flavour combination.
Choose from a wide range of sweet wine here.