Dessert wine - could any other word couple sound more pleasant to an oenophile with a sweet tooth? Here's a comprehensive sweet wine list to refer to, if you wish to stock up on some sweet, fermented nectar!
And water is on the Bishop's board and the Higher Thinker's shrine, But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine. ~ G. K. Chesterton
Wine - the bottled legacy of human civilization and hospitality, the elixir of socialization and the result of an elevated sense of cultural refinement that refused to come to terms with the fact that grapes were meant to be consumed merely as fruits!
Proceeding towards sweet wine, these wines are also known as Dessert Wines and typically have a higher sugar and lower tannin content than regular varietals. These types of wine are best paired with fruits, sweets or traditional desserts.
However, their taste can be best appreciated when consumed alone, unaccompanied by any other food item. Having said that, let's take a brief tour of a comprehensive sweet wine list and check out the intoxicatingly wide variety of options therein.
List of Sweet Wines
The following segment is being further segregated into two separate lists of white and red sweet wines to make understanding easier for wine virgins - those who intend to get initiated to the arts of oenology and wine tasting.
Sweet White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc (Saw-veen-yawhn BlahN)
Pinot Gris (Pee-noe Gree)
Pinot Blanc (Pee-noe BlahN)
Grasă de Cotnari (closest I can get to this one is Graas-uh duh Kotnar-yh)
Coteaux du Layon (Coat-toe duh Ley-ion)
Chenin Blanc (Shay-naN BlahN)
White Zinfandel (Zin-fuhn-DELL)
White Bordeaux (Bore-DOH)
Auxerrois Blanc (Aus-ser-whah BlahN)
Sweet Red Wines
Beaujolais Nouveau (Boe-zho-lay Noo-woh)
Madeira (Mah-DER-ah) Wine
Kiddush Wine - a Jewish sweet red wine, often made from raisins instead of grapes
Recioto della Valpolicella
Cagnina di Romagna (Kanee-nya de Roma-nya)
Random Facts about Sweet Wine
Although often used interchangeably, sweet wine and dessert wine do not refer to the same type of liquor. Sweet wine includes any wine which has a higher sugar content than regular varietals.
Dessert wine includes only those wines that are paired with meals and this term excludes fortified and white wines that are high on sugar and low on tannins (the chemical that imparts the dry taste to the palate).
Since sweet wines undergo special harvesting and fermenting processes and are aged for a longer duration than the regular dry varieties, these wines are expensive. However, a cheap sweet wine list would typically include the Zinfandel varietals and port. Rosé is also relatively cheaper than most other high-end sweet varietals such as Shiraz or Merlot.
All raisin-based and ice wines (also called Eiswein) tend to be on the sweeter side of the taste-scale as in both variants, the grapes get dehydrated, concentrating the sugar content. The Colorado Riesling ICEWINE from the Whitewater Hill Vineyards, is a good Eiswein option and a Recioto della Valpolicella is an example of a wine made from raisins.
If you are an avid oenophile then it is difficult to picture a world deprived of the material and spiritual pleasures of experiencing the company of a glass of fine wine along with such gourmand magnets as bittersweet chocolate, French cheese, truffle and caviar!
The Cabernet-Shiraz variety has a great, full-bodied feel without being too dry on the palate. The price, however, is Northbound but mind you, once you taste it, you'll agree that every dollar spent on it is worth it!
That concludes the list of various varieties of sweet wine - both red and white. These are the primary varieties/varietals of sweet/dessert wines that are extremely popular with wine enthusiasts and seasoned sommeliers.
However, the degree of sweetness of each variety/varietal varies and what may appear sweet enough to one may not suffice for another. Therefore, the best way to judge a wine's sweetness is to let your taste buds take over and allow your palate to decide.