Sweet wines are light, and they taste sweeter than the dry variety. This is the reason why they are often paired up with desserts. On the other hand, dry wines are less sweet or somewhat bitter, and more alcoholic. What gives sweetness to a wine is its residual sugar content, i.e., the sugar left in the fruit juice at the end of the fermentation process.
The longer a wine is allowed to ferment, the dryer it becomes. In other words, if the fermentation period is reduced, the wine becomes sweeter. However, the sweetness of a wine is also affected by factors, like acidity and the level of alcohol. Though sweet wines are usually considered somewhat inferior, they can be great for the beginners. Beginners can find dry wines too strong and bitter, and so, sweet wines are a preferred option for them.
Types of Sweet Wines for Beginners
Sweet wines are usually produced by reducing the period of fermentation, or by increasing the alcohol content of the wines. If the fermentation process is halted early, the resulting wine becomes lighter. Sometimes, grapes are dehydrated to concentrate its sugar content for making sweet wines. While choosing a particular wine, a beginner needs to take into account its alcohol content. It is better to start with a wine that is light or low in alcohol content and calories, and then gradually go for the stronger ones.
As the name suggests, dessert wines are a type of sweet wine that are usually served with desserts. A dessert wine is not only sweet, but also syrupy, for which beginners can find it extremely pleasant to their taste buds. Dessert wines are meant to be sipped along with food. However, they can be a bit expensive than the other types of wines. Along with grapes, several other fruits, like cherries and blackberries can be used to make dessert wines.
Fortified wines also have a sweet taste that beginners can relish. A fortified wine is prepared by adding brandy spirits to the wine during the fermentation process. The addition of brandy spirits can help arrest the fermentation process by killing off the yeasts, which are responsible for converting sugar into alcohol. This helps retain more natural residual sugar in the wine. Among the various types of fortified wines, port and Madeira can be ideal for beginners. Port is a sweet red wine, which has higher alcohol content than other regular wines.
Late Harvest Wines
As the name suggests, late harvest wines are made from grapes that have been left on the vine till late autumn, so that they can ripen completely and develop a greater concentration of natural sugar. Sometimes, the grapes are simply left on the vine to dry out, or they are picked and then laid on the ground. The grapes are thus allowed to dry in the sun till they attain a resin-like consistency. Some popular late harvest wines that beginners can try are, Riesling and Sauternes.
Ice wine is basically a type of late-harvest wine. This wine is made from the ripe grapes that have been left to freeze on the vine. The water present in such grapes freezes, but the sugars and other solid compounds do not freeze. When such frozen grapes are pressed, they yield only a small amount of juice. However, the juice is quite concentrated and sugary, and so, is the wine made from it.
Ice wine is mainly made in Germany and Canada. The most famous ice wine is the German Eiswein. The entire process of making ice wines is labor-intensive, and a lot of risks are involved in the process. Therefore, they are usually more expensive than other sweet wines. Nevertheless, the extremely sweet and savory taste of this wine is something that can be relished by all wine lovers.
These are only a few varieties of sweet wines. Taste them to find out which one has the best taste and flavor, and satisfy your sweet tooth. However, the definition of 'best wine' can vary from one person to another. For some, port wines can be the most delectable sweet wines, while others can consider ice wines to be the best. Many beginners may also find the taste of sparkling wines quite appealing. Brachetto, Champagne, Asti Spumante, and Alita are some light and sweet sparkling wines you can try out.