How to choose a sweet wine? Discover different types of sweet wine – TMG Academy

Sometimes being stereotyped and referred to as the “girly” drink, sweet wines are perhaps one of the most overlooked and underrated wines available on the market. Some either associate them with an over-festive vibe as a must-have complement for desserts, or claim sweet wines to be costly without a matching level of quality. However, if you are able to find your favorite type of sweet wine and pair it with the right food, it would, in fact, be an exceptional drinking experience that goes beyond imagination. Not to mention that sweet wines make perfect gifts and are ideal in all serving situations. Still, the key is to understand how to choose between various styles of sweet wines out there.

With that said, here are some introductions to different types of sweet wines. Whether you have a sweet tooth in nature or a liquor aficionado that is skeptical about dessert wines, this article has all you need to know about sweet wine.


Why are sweet wines sweet?

Just like any other wine style, the category of sweet wine encompasses a mix of styles and methods of production. Different regions and climatic conditions bring us distinct wine styles. Speaking of sweet wines, many might picture an almost-gooey, honey-colored and overwhelmingly sweet wine made from white grapes purely and most likely can be found in some sort of carnival or celebrations. In fact, sweet wines can also come in the color pink (aka the very popular rosé), red, sparkling or even as spirits like ports and sherries.


Technically, most of the sugars in sweet wine types come naturally along with the grapes harvested and used. In wine production, these sugars would transform into alcohol and turn the liquid into dry wines. However, if the fermentation process stops before this happens, the level of residual sugar would then determine how sweet a sweet wine gets. Meanwhile, the aroma of the wine hinges on the ripeness level of the grapes at the stage of fermentation. If the right amount of acidity is maintained for a sweet wine, the perfect balance is achieved to curate a freshly finished sweet wine that hits every wine lover’s sweet spot.


What are the different types of Sweet Wine?

In order to know how to choose a perfect bottle for your cellar, you must first explore your sweet wine options.


Ice Wine

 Ice wine is a world-famous sweet wine type coming from wine-producing regions that has a freezing climate like Germany, Austria, and Canada. In these countries, temperatures often drop below zero. Healthy grapes are then frozen with the juice inside the grapes turning into ice, concentrating the sugars to maintain an intense sweetness level and fruit aroma in sweet wines produced with these grapes.


This is also one of the most highly-priced sweet wines on the market, given that it depends purely on the weather of that chosen year as an art of nature. As such, no winemaker in the world can promise an annual, regular ice wine harvest, especially in Europe, when the law states that iced grapes can only be picked at –8ºC, often in the middle of the night.


Botrytis cinerea or ‘Noble Rot’ sweet wine

Botrytis cinerea, a fungus that infects and often destroys grape plots, shrivels and speeds up the rotting of grapes. Some producers turn this vino nightmare into an opportunity to create a special type of sweet wine, “Noble Rot” when the sugar, acidity and flavors are all concentrated. Because of the fungus, ​​Noble Rot sweet wine is often very complex with distinctive honey-glazed fruits, marmalade, candied lemon zest, marzipan nites or even beeswax aromas.


Again, since Noble Rot sweet wine can only be produced in unpredictable and rare circumstances, the supply is extremely low and hence, leads to a supremely high price.


Late-harvest sweet wine

As mentioned, mastering the balance between ripened sugars and refreshing acidity is the key to creating the perfect sweet wine. Day by day, the level of sugar in grapes increases while acidity drops accordingly. Many experienced winemakers harness the power of the “late harvest” technique to moderate the ripening of wines and deliberately pick grapes when they are pushed to ideal ripeness. Sweet wine produced with this method often has rich, tropical and ripe fruit notes such as peach and pineapples.


Sweet wine made from dried grapes

One of the most commonly used methods to produce sweet wines is to leave grapes to dry out on their own for a while, from weeks to even months after harvesting. The water molecules would evaporate naturally and concentrate the sugars in the fruit. Among all wine-making countries, Italy has the most wineries that create sweet wine with this approach.


Now that you know much more about sweet wines and their different types, time to discover and sip the best bottle on Two More Glasses’s online shop with a free delivery service available for orders over $2,500.

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Two More Glasses (A Little Bit More Trading Limited) was founded by two wine and spirits enthusiasts and is one of the most active importers and distributors in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. We exclusively represent family owned labels such as Marquis de Vargas, Allouchery Perversal, and many more from around the world.

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