Tastes vary from person to person, which means that wines are going to taste different depending on what you like. Just because you and a friend seem to like the same things, doesn’t mean that you will like every type of wine they like, and a big part of that taste difference comes down to sweet and dry wines.
We’ve talked about what makes a wine sweet or dry in the past, but the basics of it boil down to how much sugar is left in the wine after the fermentation process. The sugars in the grapes are broken down during fermentation to produce alcohol and depending on how much of that sugar resides in the wine after that process, will determine how sweet or dry a wine is.
And when we say “dry” we’re not referring to the liquid itself. Obviously, the liquid is still wet in its liquid form, but the “dry” moniker is given due to the way it makes your mouth feel after each sip. Dryer wines, with higher level of tannins, will leave your mouth with a dry feeling, whereas sweeter wines will not.
You can find dry wines in both red and white, as well as all different varietals of wine, but today we wanted to take a look at the sweetest types of wines out there.
What Are the Sweetest White Wines?
Moscato & Moscatel Dessert Wine
Moscato & Moscatel wines are typically known as a dessert wine. They can be very sweet with a lower alcohol content that a typical glass of wine. Because of this combination, it’s a great wine to sip after dinner, when you’re winding down your evening, but want to have a little something with your dessert.
Sauternes wine is a French wine produced in the Sauternais region of the Graves section in Bordeaux. It’s unique in that the grapes used to produce it are fairly rare and partially raisined, which gives it a distinct flavor.
Sauternes is a very sweet wine containing hints of fruit flavor. Apricot, peach, and honey are common flavors found in this wine.
When most people think of sweeter wines, Riesling is usually one of the first ones that pops to mind. While there are some types of Riesling that can be less sweet, in general it is known as a very sweet wine, and a go-to for those that enjoy a sweet glass.
Riesling is known to have a fruitier flavor profile with hints of lemon, apricot, pineapple and lime. It also pairs very well with foods like chicken and pork. If you’re looking for a safe, sweet, wine, then Riesling is a good bet.
What Are the Sweetest Red Wines?
Tawny Port / Port
Port wines originated from the Douro Valley region in Portugal. It has become known as one of the most popular dessert wines due to full-body, less acidic, and sweet nature. The Tawny Port is a barrel aged port that has a flavor profile consisting of caramel, hazelnut, dried fruit and spices.
Port wines are one of the sweetest red wines you can find, but it’s also very high in alcohol content and it’s a heavier, richer, wine than most red wines. In most cases this wine is drank after you finish your meal, and not paired with it.
Banyuls wines hail from France and, like the Port wines, are typically known as a dessert wine. These wines are typically made of Grenache grapes, and also Grenache blanc grapes, if you’re looking for a white wine version of Banyuls.
Banyuls wines are also very sweet, just like the Port wines, but contain slightly less alcohol content. They are known for having earthy overtones with hints of chocolate, mint, and strawberry flavors.
Have you noticed a pattern yet? Most of the sweeter wines tend to be dessert wines, and Vin Santo is no different.
This sweet dessert wine comes mainly from the Tuscany area in Italy and is typically an extremely sweet wine, although it can be produced in a way that makes it dry. In most cases though, it is served as a dessert wine that pairs extremely well with biscotti in Italy.
It’s full-bodied in nature with hints of caramel, hazelnut, and honey, and is a great wine if you’re looking for a sweet red.
When it comes to wine drinking, everyone is going to have their own preferences. Some people prefer red wine, some prefer white. Some prefer sweeter wine, some prefer dry. The best way to determine what type of wines you like is to sit down and try them for yourself. This is why it’s a great idea to head out to a winery in your area and sample the different types of wine they offer.
Not only will you be able to save money by not having to go through a full bottle of wine to determine what you like, but you’ll also have the expertise of the staff to help guide you through the selection process.
Remember, you’re not going to have the same palate as someone else when it comes to wine flavor, but if you know that you like sweet wines, then this list is a good place to start.