About Dessert Wines

A sweet wine is one that contains enough residual sugar to be considered too sweet for dinner (= 5% RS). Some of these wines are naturally sweet, while others are fortified. Examples of the former category include Auslese from Germany or passito from Italy, while fortified sweet wines include port as well as sweet sherries such as PX.

Alcoholic levels vary with these sweet wines, from 5.5% for a Moscato d'Asti from Italy to 20% with a port or sherry. Colors range from light amber to deep gold for a non-fortified sweet wine, such as Riesling; these wines have aromas of honey, caramel and tropical fruits.

There are also sweet liqueurs, such as cream-based or fruit-based, produced from any number of fruits from raspberries and cherries to peaches and bananas.

Top Picks for Dessert Wines

Weis Vineyards 2019 Ice Wine Riesling
95 points
$59
A bright and juicy ice wine with mouthwatering acidity for spicy foods or cocktails.
Awards: 2022 Best Ice Wine
Il Duca NV Rosso Luxury Semi-Sweet Sparkling Red Wine Brachetto
94 points
$12
Best Buy
A very tasty, spot-on Lambrusco-like, Brachetto with nice layers and zippy acidity to hold it all together.
Awards: 2022 Best Sparkling Sweet Wine
94 points $12 Best Buy
Stella Rosa NV LOriginale Black Semi-Sweet Flavored Wine Italy
94 points
$13
Best Buy
Perfect to serve with a summer dessert cheese course and fruit.
Awards: 2022 Best Sparkling Sweet Flavored Wine
94 points $13 Best Buy
Weis Vineyards 2017 Ice Wine Riesling
94 points
$59
A delicious, spot-on ice wine with great flavor, balance, and intensity; will be excellent with cheese plates.
Johnson Estate 2019 Estate Grown Ice Wine Chambourcin
94 points
$49
An outstanding expression of Chambourcin; this is a great wine to let the grape's best characters shine.
Awards: 2021 Best Ice Wine
Stella Rosa NV Blueberry Flavored Wine Italy
93 points
$13
Best Buy
Well balanced flavor and structure to hold the sweetness; an excellent option for all of your summer grilling or waterside activities.
93 points $13 Best Buy
Parallel 44 2021 Pink Frosting Sweet Rosé Frontenac Gis
92 points
$19
Best Buy
A delicious sweet wine with refreshing acid; would make a fun summer Sangria.
Awards: 2023 Americana Cup - Best Sweet Wine
92 points $19 Best Buy
San Antonio Fruit Farm  Semi-Sweet Strawberry Guava Flavored Wine Italy
92 points
A bright and fruity summer sipper.
Stone Hill Winery NV  Concord
91 points
$10
Best Buy
This sweet red is spiked grape juice; you just can't hate a tasty juice box.
91 points $10 Best Buy
Domaine Bosc Long 2015 Muscadelle Doux Gaillac AOP
91 points
$14.99
Best Buy
A charming and distinctive Late Harvest wine with diverse fruity flavors and a warmly spiced finish.
91 points $14.99 Best Buy