Sweet White Wine : Discover The Best of Them - Wine by hearts
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Sweet White Wine : Discover The Best of Them

While many people in the United States prefer red wine (almost 47%), sweet white wine is often overlooked or dismissed as overly sweet and unsophisticated.

But in reality, sweet white wine can be just as complex, nuanced, and delightful as any other wine variety. From crisp and refreshing Rieslings to luscious and honeyed late-harvest wines, there’s a sweet white wine matched for even the pickiest tastebud!

In this blog, we’ll explore the different varieties of sweet white wine, and some of the best bottles for you to try on.

What Is Sweet White Wine?

macro shot of seaweeds

We can say Sweet white wine is a type of wine that has a higher residual sugar content than other types of wine, giving it a sweet taste.

It can be made from a variety of grape varieties and can range from light and refreshing to rich and decadent. It is often enjoyed as a dessert wine or aperitif and often has fruity, floral, or honey-like flavors.

They are typically served chilled and can range from light and refreshing to rich and decadent.

You May Also Check : French Sweet White Wines : Everything You Need to Know.

10 Sweet White Wine Varieties You Must Try.

two women holding glass of sweet white wine

You’re definitely going to find one of your favorite sweet white from this lot. Check it out!

1. Moscato Wine.

Moscato has long been regarded as a prized dessert wine due to its light sweetness and effervescent quality.

These qualities make it a refreshing and easy to drink for people who prefer sweeter wine. It has a fruity flavor, with hints of peach, apricot, and citrus with a floral aroma.

It’s prepared from 100% Muscat grapes that grow in abundance in the Mediterranean region. The grapes are harvested when they are still slightly unripe and then fermented at a low temperature, which gives Moscato its light and sweet character.

2. Riesling.

Riesling is a classic German wine that can range from dry to sweet. It is renowned for its sweetness, acidity, and complex flavor.

Riesling has a floral aroma, with notes of apricot, peach, and honey. It also has a rich taste with hints of honey, citrus, and apple.
Riesling is a popular choice for pairing with a variety of foods, including spicy dishes, seafood, and Asian cuisine.

3. Chenin Blanc.

Sweet white Wine Glass and Liquor Bottle

Often compared to Riesling, Chenin Blanc is a light and crisp white wine, featuring flavors of honey, pear, and apple. Its high acidity makes it a great food pairing wine, as it can stand up to rich dishes without being overly sweet.

You can also pair it with desserts, especially fruit-based desserts like apple pie or peach cobbler. Additionally, Chenin Blanc can be made in a range of styles, from sparkling to still, dry to sweet.

4. Gewürztraminer.

Gewürztraminer is a highly aromatic German wine. It has a unique flavor profile that strikes a balance between fruity and spicy, making it a great choice for many food pairings.

At the very first sip, you’ll come across the aroma of lychee and rose petals, with a hint of orange blossom and honey. The flavor is similarly sweet and spicy, with notes of apricot, peach, and ginger.

It has a light, crisp acidity, and low tannin levels, Due to its intense flavor profile and sweetness, Gewürztraminer is often paired with spicy or aromatic dishes, such as Thai or Indian cuisine.

It is also a popular choice for pairing with strong cheeses, such as Roquefort or Stilton.

5. Sauternes.

Sauternes is a serious desert wine that originated from the Bordeaux region of France. This wine is made primarily from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes, which are left on the vine until they are overripe, often affected by a fungus called Botrytis cinerea, also known as “noble rot.”

The process of noble rot involves the fungus drying out the grapes and causing them to shrivel, which concentrates their natural sugars and flavors.

These shriveled grapes are then hand-harvested and carefully sorted to ensure only the best quality grapes are used.

It has a golden or straw-yellow color and a sweet, concentrated flavor with notes of honey, apricot, peach, and caramel. On the palate, Sauternes is known for its intense sweetness, balanced by a high acidity that provides a refreshing finish.

6. Tokaji.

Tokaji wine has a long history and was once recognized as a high-quality, world-renowned dessert wine produced in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region of Hungary.

It is made from grapes that have been affected by noble rot, a type of fungus that concentrates the sugars in the grapes, resulting in a wine that is high in sugar content.

The traditional Tokaji wine is made from the Furmint grape variety, although other varieties such as Hárslevelű and Sárga Muskotály (Muscat Blanc) are also used.

It has an intense honey-like flavor, a golden color, and a unique, distinctive aroma of saffron and ginger. Tokaji is often enjoyed with cheese, fruit, or desserts, and makes a great aperitif.

7. White Port.

White Port wine is a fortified wine – a specialty of the Douro Valley region of Portugal and is made from white grape varieties.

The most commonly used grape varieties for White Port are Malvasia Fina, Viosinho, Rabigato, Gouveio, Moscatel Galego Branco, and Codega.

It’s made by stopping the fermentation process of the grape juice by adding clear brandy, which preserves some of the natural sweetness of the grape and increases the alcohol content.

White Port can be dry or sweet and is aged in wooden barrels before bottling. Dry White Port is usually aged for a shorter period of time and is lighter in color and body, with flavors of citrus and almond.

Sweet White Port is aged longer and has a richer, more complex flavor profile with notes of honey, orange caramel, and dried fruits with a silky texture.

8. Ice Wine.

Sweet white wine

Ice wine, also known as Eiswein in German, is a type of very expensive dessert wine made from grapes that have been left to freeze naturally on the vine. You will understand why it’s expensive in a while!

The grapes used to make ice wine are typically Vitis vinifera, a species of grape commonly used in winemaking. In particular, the most popular grape varieties used for ice wine production include but are not limited to Riesling, Vidal Blanc, and Cabernet Franc.

The grapes are usually harvested in the early morning hours, while they are still frozen, and pressed while still frozen.

Because the water in the grapes is frozen, only the concentrated sugars and flavors are extracted during pressing, resulting in a small amount of very concentrated juice.

The juice is then fermented at a low temperature for several months, producing a rich and complex wine with a high level of sweetness and acidity.

Ice wine is considered a luxury product due to its labor-intensive production process and the limited yield of grapes, which makes it relatively expensive. To truly bring out its depth and flavor, you should age it for a decade or more.

9. Viognier.

Viognier is the origin of the Rhône Valley region, in France. But is now produced in various countries including the United States, Australia, and South Africa.

It is known for its floral aromas and flavors, with notes of tangerine, peach, mango, rose, and honeysuckle. It is often described as having a full-bodied texture, with a rich and creamy mouthfeel.

Viognier grapes are difficult to cultivate, as they require a warm and dry climate to ripen properly. The grapes are typically small and have thick skin, which contributes to the wine’s full-bodied texture and rich flavor.

10. Late Harvest.

Late Harvest sweet wines are made from grapes that are left on the vine longer than usual, allowing them to become overripe and develop a high sugar concentration.

The grapes are typically harvested several weeks or even months after the regular harvest, hence the name “late harvest.”

Late Harvest wines can be made from a variety of white grape varieties, including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Sauvignon Blanc, among others. The wine is typically fermented slowly and at a low temperature to preserve the unique flavors and aromas of the grapes.

Top 5 Bottles of Sweet White Wine.

person holding glass bottle on round brown wooden table

Still not sure what to choose? Try any of these highly-acclaimed whites and get hooked.

1. 2015 Chateau d’Yquem.

The 2015 Chateau d’Yquem is a highly-regarded vintage, with critics praising its depth, complexity, and ageability.

It has received numerous accolades, including a score of 100 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and 98 points from Wine Enthusiast.

On the nose, you’ll find the exotic aroma of ripe pineapple, orange blossom, green mango, and lemon tart with a hint of lime zest, jasmine, and crushed rocks.

2. 2007 Royal Tokaji Essencia.

This critically acclaimed vintage has a brilliant aroma of plum, honey, orange blossom, and molasses. On the palate, you’ll the intense flavor of marmalade, orange, and honey.

It is a rare and expensive wine that is typically served in small quantities as a special treat and pairs well with rich, creamy desserts or blue cheese.

3. Peller Estate Signature Series Vidal Oak Aged Icewine 2018.

On the nose, you’ll get the hint of ripe peach and plum, tropical fruit, and sweet spices. And on the plate, you’ll be greeted with the flavor of guava, tropical fruit, guava, and butterscotch, balanced by refreshing acidity.

4. 2015 Dolce, Napa Valley, Late Harvest.

This signature wine has a fresh, fruity aroma of orange, lime, and apricot with hints of honeysuckle. It has a thick, satisfying mouthfeel and a long citrusy finish.

5. Domaine des Bernardins Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise.

Made from the Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains grape variety, which is known for its aromatic qualities, this wine has honeysuckle, peach, apricot, and melon notes. This one is another highly acclaimed sweet white!


selective focus photography of clear glass wine glass

Overall we can say that sweet white wine comprises a whole lot of categories in itself.

You can either go for a light and refreshing Moscato, a rich and decadent Sauternes, a crisp and balanced Riesling, or a completely different finding of your choice.

But one thing is for sure – you’re going to love every sip of it! Cheers!