About Sweet Wine

About Sweet Wine
A dessert wine is just that, a wine made strictly to pair with desserts at the end of a meal. Dessert wines are sweet wines; while many are naturally sweet, some are sweetned through the addition of grape must.

Famous dessert wines include Sauternes from France’s Bordeaux region, Rutherglen Muscat from Australia and vendages tardives (“late picked”) from France’s Alsace region. Germany also produces many famous dessert wines, ranging from Spatlese to Eiswein (made from frozen grapes).

Dessert wines from Italy include Vin Santo, Recioto di Soave and Recioto di Valpolicella. While some dessert wines have alcohol in the 12-14% range, others such as Moscato d’Asti from Piedmont in northern Italy are very low in alcohol (5.5%).

Dessert wines can accompany certain specific foods, especially cakes, almond tortes and fruit tarts; however, Sauternes and foie gras is a classic pairing.

While some lighter dessert wines such as Moscato d’Asti or Brachetto d’Acqui are meant for consumption upon release, others such as Sauternes or Auslese from Germany can age for decades, thanks to their high natural sugar concentration.

Top Picks for Sweet Wine

Domaine des Bernardins 2017  Muscat
94 points
$40
Steely orange color. Aromas of ripe peach, honey-drizzled apricot, golden raisins, and lime peel with a round, crisp, sweet light-to-medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length orange blossom water and chamomile tea finish. A bright Beaumes de Venise Blanc that offers delicate notes of dried fruit and honey.
Grgich Hills 2014 Violetta Late Harvest Dessert Wine Napa Valley
94 points
$85
Golden yellow color. Complex aromas of beeswax, petrol, yellow apple confection, lily, rose petal, stewed apricot, and golden raisin with a round, vibrant, very sweet medium-to-full body and a silky, complex, long caramelized lychee, nata de coco, coriander, ginger, grapefruit marmalade, and coconut sugar finish. A beautifully textured, concentrated and stylish dessert wine to show off to Sauternes-loving friends; feel free to cellar.
Monte De Oro 2015 Legato Dessert Wine Cinsault
93 points
$39
Brown brick red color. Tropical aromas and flavors of overripe pineapple, brown sugar, apricot marmalade, quince, thyme, and fig paste with a satiny, lively, very sweet medium body and a warming, complex, medium-long finish revealing impressions of Spanish peanuts, Madeira cake, cinnamon pastry, and baklava with moderate oak flavor. A distinctive dessert wine with enticing tropical nuance and toasty complexity; a must-try.
Pend d’Oreille 2008 Oui! Red Dessert Wine Washington
93 points
$25
Dark burnt sienna color. Aromas and flavors of tiramisu, maple-fudge, cherry candies, and black pepper with a round, lively, sweet medium-to-full body and a peppery, layered, long finish with suggestions of baked Washington apple with blackberry jam, tamarind chutney, chocolate dipped black licorice, and dates with well-integrated, medium tannins and moderate oak flavor. Lively acidity and peppery nuance make this a craveable dessert wine to share.
Tom Eddy 2010 Old Vine Dessert Wine Zinfandel
93 points
$75
Garnet black color. Fruity aromas of raspberry, chocolate graham cracker crust, dried figs and raisins, and cinnamon babka with a round, lively, sweet medium body and a smooth, intriguing, medium-length chocolate silk, espresso crema, and caramel finish with no oak flavor. A lip smacking late-harvest zinfandel that will be a decadent after-dinner cheese pairing.
Fazeli Cellars 2013 Rumi Cinsault
91 points
$95
Brown brick red color. Aromas of cocoa powder, flourless chocolate cake, soy-glazed walnuts, and rosemary baguette with a creamy, crisp, very sweet medium-to-full body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length dried figs and dates, tiramisu, mint tea with cream, and toffee-covered nuts finish with moderate oak flavor. A delicious offering to extend the meal; will be a decadent treat with cheese.
Corte Bella  Rosso
90 points
$6.99
Best Buy
Ruby garnet color. Aromas and flavors of strawberry sorbet, pomegranate juice, rosehip preserves, and ume with a satiny, crisp, effervescent, fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-length finish conveying nuances of strawberry shortcake, raspberry gelee, and wet stone with no oak flavor. A delicious, fun and fizzy red that is sure to be a hit; drink up.
90 points $6.99 Best Buy
Gina NV Casa Rossa Sweet Red Italy
90 points
$12.99
Dark garnet color. Aromas and flavors of boysenberry creme brulee, cherry soda float, and strawberry jam on brioche with a tangy, moderately sweet medium body and a complex, medium-long finish that shows notes of orange-peach sorbet, pomegranate chutney, and macadamia toffee with dusty, fine, fruit tannins and no oak flavor. A fun and flavor-packed ride with balanced sweetness, acidity and varietal character.
90 points $12.99
Quady 2016 Essensia Dessert Wine Orange Muscat
90 points
$24.99
Light amber color. Aromas of dried apricot, honeysuckle, toasted crumpet with orange marmalade, and jasmine with a glycerous, crisp, sweet medium body and a smooth, medium-length peaches in syrup and stroopwafel finish with a suggestion of oak flavor. A caramelly dessert wine with lots of heady fruit.
90 points $24.99
Jam Jar 2018 Sweet White White Moscato
89 points
$9.99
Best Buy
Bright yellow straw color. Aromas and flavors of honeysuckle, clementine, ripe apricot, beeswax, and orange blossom with a satiny, petillant, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a warming, medium-length finish with accents of key lime pie. A bright, fresh Moscato for anytime indulging.
89 points $9.99 Best Buy