Some wines can be slightly sweet while some can be very sweet. Sweetness of the white wine varies with the type of wine. Leaf through the following article which provides information on sweet white wine brands, types, and varieties.
Wine is perhaps the most favorite alcoholic beverage consumed by people all over the world. It is made from fermented fruit juice, mostly from grapes. A thousand types of wines are available in the market. Their color and taste mainly depends upon the grape types used and the process of making them. They are mainly categorized into red wine and white wine.
Types of White Wine
- Gewurztraminer wine
- Riesling wine
- Chardonnay wines
- Pinot Grigio
- Sauvignon Blanc
Dry white wine is obtained after fermenting the grapes long enough, so that no natural sugar is left in the wine. This results in high alcohol content and lack of sweetness. This type of wine is good for cooking.
Types of Sweet White Wine
White wine which comes with residual sugar in its finished form is referred to as sweet white wine. As the name suggests, these wines taste sweet. But ‘sweet’ can be a confusing term as some wines are slightly sweet (‘off dry’) while some are super, sticky sweet. Some Italian and German producers produce exotic sweet wines. It is very difficult to determine which one is the best sweet white wine. It depends upon your own liking. Chardonnay, Muscat, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling are some of the popular white wine brands that are known for their sweetness.
Chardonnay: It is produced mainly in France and Australia. It comes with apple, tangerine, lemon, lime, melon, and oak flavors. It’s called a common man’s drink because of its affordable price.
Muscat: It is produced in almost all parts of the world. It is mainly produced from grapes Muscat Blanc and Muscat Canelli. It is recognized by different names in different parts of the world.
Sauvignon Blanc: It is more popular in France and the US. You should serve it at around 52 °F. It comes with herbal, grassy flavor or other flavors like apple and smoky. You should not keep this wine for many years.
Chenin Blanc: Chenin Blanc grapes are grown in the Loire Valley of France and also in California. You need to serve it at 48 °F and you may keep it for 4-5 years as it ages well.
Riesling: It is sought after for its fragrance. It is manufactured in Germany, the US, South Africa, Italy, Russia, and Australia. Riesling grape is native to Rhine valley in Germany. This wine goes well with oriental dishes. It should be served at 47 °F. Sweet dessert wines like Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese from Germany are very popular.
Gewürztraminer: It is produced mainly in Germany, Alsace France, and in smaller amounts in California and Australia. It comes with aroma of roses and lychees. It is served at around 50 °F.
Pinot Gris: It is also known as Pinot Grigio. This wine is produced mainly in Italy. French Pinot Grigio is more fruity and flowery than the Italian one. It is known for the mineral aroma and is available in various fruity flavors in the market.
Sake: It is a rice based wine and has been in use in Japan since 3rd century. This wine is transparent, and it contains around 15% to 17% alcohol. You can keep it for one year.
Semillon: Semillon grapes have very thin skin, and they ripen early. This wine comes from Bordeaux, France. It can be consumed young or can be stored for aging. It is served at around 50 °F.
Chablis: This wine is produced only in the Chablis section of Burgundy, France. The finest quality wine is aged for about 10 years. It is enjoyed with seafood and poultry. It is served at around 52 °F.
Traminer: The Austrian wine grape traminer is also known as Sauvignin or Savagnin Blanc. This wine is from France and it comes with a nutty flavor. This wine is crisp and very light. These grapes are known as ‘Fumé Blanc’ in the U.S.
Verdelho: It is mainly produced in Australia. The sweet Verdelho goes well with Asian dishes. It is reasonably priced, and should be consumed within two years.
White Bordeaux: As the name suggests, it is produced in the Bordeaux region of France. This is one of the most expensive and prestigious wines of the world.
Viognier: Sweet late-harvest dessert wines are made from viognier grapes in Rhone valley, France.
Pinot Blanc: Pinot Blanc produced in France, Italy, and Hungary is dry but that produced in Germany and Austria is either dry or sweet. They carry aromas of apple or citrus fruit.
Italian White: Asti is the most famous sweet Italian wine. It is also known as poor man’s champagne. Asti Spumante comes with peach and apricot flavors. Asti is a slightly sweet sparkling wine.
Marsanne: It is mainly produced as a dry wine but in Rhone valley of France, some producers produce sweeter varieties also.
Rkatsiteli: It is a traditional variety from Georgia. This variety is popular in Russia.
Scheurebe: This wine is produced in Germany and Austria. They come with aromas of blackcurrant, grapefruit, blood grape, and honey.
Seyval Blanc: This wine produced in Missouri comes as a semisweet wine. It goes well with pork and Asian food.
Pedro Ximenez: This is a popular dessert wine of Spain. It is also referred to as ‘PX’. Fortified variety is the sweeter variety of PX.
Hárslevelü: Some varieties of this wine are produced as semi-sweet wines. It is produced in Hungarian and Slovakian wine regions.
Furmint: By following the method of noble rot, extremely sweet wine is produced from furmint grapes in Hungary.
Malvasia: Malvasia or Malmsey is a popular sweet white wine from Italy. It is also produced in other parts of the world like Portugal and California.
How Sweet White Wine is Made
One of the processes followed to make sweet wines is called ‘noble rot’. The grapes are allowed to decay on the vines. By this way, concentration of sugar increases and you get sweet wine. To make sweet wine, grapes are harvested late. Mostly, white grapes are used to produce white wine. While making Port Wine, grapes are not allowed to ferment completely. Before complete fermentation, high proof brandy is poured to kill the left over yeast. Thus, you get some sugar residue in the wine. Some sweet wines are produced by adding sweet grape juice after fermentation. This process is known as ‘süssreserve’. Those who want to lose or maintain their weight should check white wine calories.
You must have heard of sweet white wine names like ‘Eisweine’ or ‘Amarone’. Producers of ‘Eisweine’ in Germany and Austria leave the grapes on vine during winter. This results in freezing of the water in the grapes and concentration of sugars. In Italy, grapes are dried by spreading them on straw mats in well ventilated warehouses to produce ‘Amarone’ and ‘Recioto’ wines. These luscious wines are rare and very expensive. Good sweet white wine is light, fragrant, and crisp. Here are some examples: German Rieslings like Auslese, Spatlese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, and Eiswein. These wines belong to the group of dessert wines. Moscato d’Asti, an Italian fizzy is perhaps the most sought after wine. Gewürztraminer wine from Alsace (France) is also very popular. Asti Spumante, an Italian sparkling wine is good for beginners.
There are thousands of white wine varieties that can be called sweet. It is impossible to describe all sweet white wine types here. In the U.S., wines are labeled by the variety of grapes while in Europe, they are labeled by the region in which the grapes are grown. Beginners usually prefer sweet white wine because sweet wines taste more like desserts than alcohol. I love sweet wines for their distinctive fruity flavor and aroma.