Sweet wines are a category of wine that has been growing in popularity in recent years. Made from grapes with a higher concentration of sugar and lower acidity levels, sweet wines are often enjoyed as a dessert or aperitif. They are produced in various styles and can be found all around the world. In this article, we'll explore what sweet wines are, how they're made, and the different types of sweet wines available.
What are sweet wines?
Sweet wines are wines with a residual sugar content of more than 5 grams per liter. They can be made from a variety of grapes, including Riesling, Muscat, Chenin Blanc, and many others. The sweetness in these wines can come from a variety of sources, including the grapes themselves, added sugars, or the use of special yeasts that leave more sugar in the wine.
Sweet wines are often served as a dessert wine or paired with sweet dishes, such as fruit or chocolate. They can also be used in cooking to add flavor to sauces, marinades, and reductions.
How are sweet wines made?
The process of making sweet wines involves harvesting grapes later in the season than would be done for dry wines. This allows the grapes to develop higher levels of sugar and lower levels of acidity. Once the grapes are picked, they are crushed and the juice is fermented.
During fermentation, yeast consumes the sugar in the grape juice and produces alcohol. In the case of sweet wines, fermentation is stopped before all of the sugar is consumed, leaving residual sugar in the wine. The amount of residual sugar left in the wine can vary depending on the desired sweetness level of the finished product.
Types of sweet wines
There are many different types of sweet wines, each with its unique flavor profile and production method. Some of the most popular types of sweet wines include:
Late Harvest Wines: These wines are made from grapes that are left on the vine longer than usual, allowing them to develop higher sugar levels. They are often rich and full-bodied, with flavors of honey, apricot, and peach.
Ice Wines: These wines are made from grapes that have been left on the vine until they freeze. When the grapes are pressed, the frozen water is separated from the sugar, resulting in a concentrated, sweet wine.
Botrytis Wines: Also known as "noble rot" wines, these are made from grapes that have been affected by a fungus called Botrytis cinerea. The fungus causes the grapes to dry out, resulting in a concentrated, sweet wine with flavors of honey, apricot, and fig.
Fortified Wines: These wines are made by adding distilled spirits, such as brandy, to the wine during or after fermentation. This increases the alcohol content of the wine and stops the fermentation process, leaving residual sugar in the wine.
How about still sweet wines like Moscato?
Absolutely, still sweet wines like Moscato are also a popular type of sweet wine. Moscato is made from the Muscat grape, which is known for its sweet and floral flavors. Moscato is often made in a still, or non-sparkling, style and can range in sweetness from semi-sweet to very sweet.
Moscato is a popular choice for those who enjoy sweet wines, as it is light and refreshing with a low alcohol content. It pairs well with fruit, cheese, and light desserts. Moscato is also a great wine to enjoy on a warm summer day, as its sweet and fruity flavors make it a perfect choice for outdoor gatherings and picnics.
Like other sweet wines, Moscato is produced by harvesting grapes later in the season and leaving residual sugar in the wine. It can be made in a variety of styles, including still, sparkling, and fortified. Some Moscato wines are also blended with other grape varieties to add complexity and balance to the wine.
Overall, still sweet wines like Moscato are a popular and delicious option for those who enjoy sweet, fruity wines. With its refreshing taste and versatility, Moscato is a great wine to add to your collection and enjoy with friends and family.
Check out Mr.D Wine Merchant's sweet wine selection here