It is interesting to note that sweet wine is a technical term. For those who are curious, a sweet wine is a wine that has more than 30 grams of residual sugar per liter of wine. In contrast, a wine with less than 10 grams of residual sugar per liter of wine is called a dry wine. As for the wines that can be found between these two categories, they are called off-dry wines. With that said, it should be noted that there are plenty of people who speak about sweet wines without referring to this meaning. Sometimes, they use sweet wines to refer to dessert wines. Other times, they use sweet wines to refer to wines that were made in what is called a candied style. As a result, sweet wine is a term that can encompass a rather diverse range of wines out there.
Here are five famous kinds of sweet wines that people might want to consider sampling:
Piedmont is a region with a rich history when it comes to wine-making. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that its wine-making tradition has its roots in Roman times, which is rather remarkable to say the least. Primarily, Piedmont is famous for nebbiolo, which is a kind of red wine that is native to the region. However, it is important to note that it produces other kinds of wines as well, with an excellent example being Moscato d'Asti. Simply put, Moscato d'Asti is a dessert wine produced in the province of Asti and nowhere else, which is made using the same kind of grape as the Asti.
Tokaji is the name of a wine region. In fact, it is the name of the first wine region to be demarcated as such that can be found in the entire world, situated in Eastern Hungary. Tokaji produces a number of interesting wines, but its sweet wines have a particular history to them. For those who are curious, Tokaji Aszú is produced from grapes that have been infected by the noble rot, which is actually grey fungus. While this can sound rather unpalatable, the result is rich but nonetheless possessing a number of subtle flavors.
Sauternes is the name of a town in Bordeaux. Furthermore, it is the name of the sweet name that is produced in the region centered upon said town. Like the Tokaji Aszú, Sauternes makes use of noble rot to produce a better flavor. However, it makes use of three separate grape varietals. Moreover, it is interesting to note that the region can see significant variation from year to year, meaning that there can be similar variation in its products.
Beerenauslese is a German wine-making term that translates to something along the lines of "selected harvest of berries." Essentially, it refers to late harvest wines, meaning those made from grapes that have been left on the vine for longer than normal. There is a wide range of Beerenauslese wines, but those made from Riesling grapes tend to have a particularly excellent reputation. Perhaps unsurprisingly, such wines are very sweet, which is made possible by the wine-makers' choice to pick out those affected by noble rot, which leaves the grapes in a raisin-like state.
Technically, ice wine isn't a single kind of wine that can be found in a single region. Instead, ice wines can be made in a number of different wine-making regions so long as they can experience freezing conditions. For those who are curious, ice wine is made by leaving the grapes on the vine until they have frozen. Then, the frozen grapes are pressed, which results in a more concentrated wine that is sweeter because of it. With that said, ice wine production is actually horrendously risky. This is because of the fine timing needed for the grapes. Should the frost arrive late, it is possible for the grapes to rot on the vine, which would ruin the crop. However, even if the frost arrives on time, ice wine-makers need to have a sizable labor force on hand to pick the frozen grapes within a few short hours because otherwise, they will lose the crop as well. Due to this, ice wine is quite expensive, though its unusual sweet but acidic taste makes it worth it for a lot of people out there.
Written by Garrett Parker
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