2. What are the different types of dessert wine?

by Wine

Dessert wines are a type of fortified wine that are usually served after meals and are usually sweeter than other types of wines. The sweetness of dessert wines is achieved by adding grape spirits to the fermenting must, or by leaving the grape juice to ferment for a longer period of time. There are several types of dessert wine available. Some of these include:

Sherry: A fortified wine made from grapes grown in the Jerez region in Spain, Sherry is one of the most well-known types of dessert wines. It ranges in color from pale yellow to deep gold and can have a nutty, caramel-like flavor.

Port: Port is a fortified wine that originates from Portugal and is made from red or white grapes. It has a sweet, rich flavor and comes in several varieties such as ruby, tawny, and vintage.

Madeira: Madeira is a type of fortified wine made on the island of Madeira, off the coast of Portugal. It has a distinct nutty flavor and can range from dry to very sweet depending on how long it was aged for.

Sparkling Wine: Sparkling wines such as Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava are also considered dessert wines. These effervescent drinks usually have a fruity flavor with hints of honey or citrus.Dessert wine is a type of sweet, fortified wine that is often served after a meal. These wines are usually higher in alcohol content than table wines and have an intense, concentrated flavor. They are made from grapes that have been left on the vine to become over-ripe, or from grapes that have been dried prior to crushing.

Popular types of dessert wine include Port, Sauternes, Marsala, and Sherry. Port is a sweet, fortified red wine made from Portuguese grapes. It has a rich flavor and can be served chilled or at room temperature. Sauternes is a sweet, white French dessert wine made from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. It has a honeyed flavor with notes of apricot and peach. Marsala is an Italian fortified wine made from white grapes. It has a sweet flavor with hints of spice and nuts.

Sherries are fortified wines produced in Spain using Palomino grapes that have been allowed to dry out on the vine or in straw mats before fermentation. Sherries come in many styles such as Fino, Amontillado, Oloroso, Cream sherry and Pedro Ximenez (PX). Fino sherries are light-bodied and dry while Oloroso sherries are full bodied and sweeter than Fino.

Dessert wines can be enjoyed simply on their own or paired with desserts such as crêpes suzette or tarte tatin. They can also be used in cooking to add complexity to dishes such as mushroom risotto or pork tenderloin with applesauce. Dessert wines should be stored carefully since they can spoil quickly if exposed to heat or light for extended periods of time.

Varieties of Dessert Wine

Dessert wine is a type of wine that is served with dessert. It is typically sweeter than other types of wine and can range in flavor from sweet to very sweet. There are many varieties of dessert wines, including fortified wines, late-harvest wines, and sparkling wines.

Fortified wines are those that have been blended with spirits such as brandy or sherry to increase their alcohol content and sweetness. Popular fortified dessert wines include Port, Madeira, and Marsala. Port is a full-bodied sweet red wine from Portugal, while Madeira is a fortified white wine from the island of Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean. Marsala is a fortified red or white wine from Italy’s Sicily region.

Late-harvest wines are made from grapes left to ripen on the vine for longer than usual. This causes the grapes to become sweeter due to increased sugar levels and results in a rich, sweet flavor profile. Late-harvest dessert wines include German Rieslings, Austrian Grüner Veltiners, and French Sauternes.

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Sparkling dessert wines are made by adding carbon dioxide during or after fermentation to create bubbles in the wine. These can range from lightly sparkling to fully sparkling with high carbonation levels. Popular sparkling dessert wines include Asti Spumante from Italy and Moscato d’Asti from France’s Piedmont region.

No matter what type of dessert wine you choose, it should be served chilled at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit in order to bring out its full flavor potential. Dessert wines can be enjoyed on their own or paired with any number of desserts such as cakes, pies, tarts, ice cream or chocolate-based confections like truffles or chocolate mousse.

Riesling Icewine

Riesling Icewine is a sweet, dessert-style wine made from frozen Riesling grapes. It has a unique flavor and aroma that is unlike any other type of wine. The intense sweetness of the wine comes from the high sugar content of the grapes when they are harvested. The fermentation process of Riesling Icewine is longer than with traditional wines, as the frozen grapes need more time to break down and release their sugars. This results in a highly concentrated and sweet wine that pairs well with desserts and other rich dishes. Riesling Icewine also has a high alcohol content, usually around 11-13% ABV. It is best served chilled to bring out its full flavor profile.

Riesling Icewine has a long history in Germany and Austria, where it was first produced in the 18th century. As it has grown in popularity, it is now made all over the world, most notably in Canada and New Zealand. It is also relatively expensive compared to other types of wines due to its labor-intensive production process and limited availability of frozen Riesling grapes. However, its distinctive sweetness and complexity make it worth seeking out for special occasions or just for an indulgent treat.


Moscatos are one of the most popular white wines in the world. They are light and fruity in flavor, with notes of peach, apricot, and honeysuckle. Moscatos come in both still and sparkling varieties, making them a great choice for many different occasions. The sweetness of Moscato makes it a great pairing for spicy dishes or desserts. It also pairs well with fruit-based desserts such as cheesecake or poached pears.

When choosing a Moscato, it is important to consider the type of grape that is used. Moscato can be made from both red and white grapes, but typically has a sweeter flavor when made with white grapes. Moscato also comes in several different styles including the classic Italian Asti and the more modern Prosecco. Each style offers its own unique flavor profile and should be chosen based on personal preference.

No matter what type of Moscato you choose, it is sure to be a crowd pleaser! Serve chilled as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to your meal. With its light body and sweet flavors, it is sure to be enjoyed by all!

History of Sauternes

Sauternes is a sweet white wine from the Bordeaux region of France. It has a long history dating back to the Middle Ages, when it was first made by monks. The wine is made from Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes which are affected by noble rot, or Botrytis cinerea. As the grapes become infected with this fungus, their sugar content increases and the acidity decreases, leading to a sweet and flavorful wine. The harvesting of these grapes is done carefully and selectively over multiple passes through the vineyard. This process results in a unique flavor profile that has made Sauternes one of the most famous dessert wines in the world.

Taste Profile

Sauternes has an intense aroma of honey, apricots, peaches and tropical fruits. On the palate it is sweet but also balanced with good acidity that helps to keep it from being cloying. The finish can be quite long with lingering notes of citrus fruits, minerals and spices such as vanilla or cinnamon. It pairs well with desserts such as tarts, custards or cakes as well as cheese such as Roquefort or Gorgonzola.

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Sauternes production is limited due to its labor-intensive process and strict regulations. Only certain areas within Bordeaux are allowed to produce Sauternes wines; these include Barsac and Sauternes itself. The soil in these areas is particularly suited for producing high quality dessert wines due to its clay-limestone composition which helps retain moisture in the grapes even during dry periods. As a result, only a small amount of Sauternes is produced each year making it one of the most expensive dessert wines in the world.


Sauternes remains popular today thanks to its unique flavor profile and limited availability. It is often served at special occasions or paired with fine foods such as foie gras or truffles. Additionally, some vintages have been known to age for decades without losing any of their character making them highly sought after by collectors around the world. For those looking for an exceptional dessert wine experience, Sauternes is sure to delight!

History of Tokaji Aszu

Tokaji Aszu is a famous sweet wine from Hungary that dates back to the 16th century. It was first produced by Hungarian winemakers in the Tokaj region, which is now part of Slovakia. The name “Aszu” is derived from the Hungarian word for “dried,” and refers to the process of drying grapes before fermentation in order to create a sweeter wine. Over time, Tokaji Aszu became renowned throughout Europe and was even served at the coronation of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1867. It has since become one of Hungary’s most iconic wines and is widely enjoyed around the world.

Production Process

Tokaji Aszu is made from a blend of Furmint, Harslevelu, and Muscat grapes that have been infected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as “noble rot.” This fungus desiccates the grapes, concentrating their sugars and creating an intense sweetness. The winemaker then harvests these shriveled grapes and grinds them into a paste called aszú paste. The paste is fermented with neutral grape spirits to produce a sweet wine with high acidity and alcohol levels ranging from 12% to 14%.

Flavors and Aromas

Tokaji Aszu has a complex flavor profile that combines intense sweetness with notes of honey, dried fruits, nuts, and spice. On the nose it has aromas of honeycomb, orange peel, apricot jam, and raisins. The wine also has a distinct mineral character due to its terroir-driven production style.

Serving Suggestions

Tokaji Aszu pairs well with desserts such as tarts, cakes, cookies, or crepes. It can also be enjoyed on its own or with cheese platters featuring sharp blue cheeses or pungent goat cheeses. For a truly unique experience try pairing it with foie gras or wild game dishes like venison or boar.

History of Vin Santo

Vin Santo is a traditional Italian dessert wine produced in the regions of Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna. It has a long history, first appearing in written records from the 15th century. The name translates to “Holy Wine”, and it was originally intended for religious ceremonies. Over time, it gained popularity as an after dinner treat, and today it is widely enjoyed as an accompaniment to dessert. Vin Santo has a unique flavor profile that is sweet and nutty, with notes of raisins and dried fruit. It is typically served chilled or at room temperature, and pairs well with biscotti or other sweet treats.

Production of Vin Santo

Vin Santo is produced using a variety of methods depending on the region in which it is made. In Tuscany, grapes are harvested late in the season and then dried on reed mats or straw mats for several months before being crushed into must (unfermented grape juice). The must is then aged in small oak barrels for up to five years. In Emilia-Romagna, the traditional method involves drying grapes on straw mats for several months before pressing them into must. The must is then aged in large casks made of chestnut wood or oak for up to five years.

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Varieties of Vin Santo

Vin Santo comes in a variety of styles depending on the region where it is produced. In Tuscany, it can be dry or sweet; dry versions are typically aged for two to five years while sweet versions are aged for a minimum of three years. In Emilia-Romagna, there are two styles: dry (aged for four years) and sweet (aged for five years). Some producers also make sparkling varieties by fermenting the wine in bottle rather than barrel aging it.

Food Pairings with Vin Santo

The nutty sweetness and rich texture of Vin Santo make it an excellent pairing with biscotti or other types of Italian cookies. It also goes well with fruits such as figs, apples, pears, apricots, and peaches; nuts such as walnuts and almonds; as well as hard cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano or Asiago cheese. For those who prefer something savory to go alongside their glass of Vin Santo, prosciutto di Parma ham pairs nicely with its flavors.


Port wine is a type of fortified wine made from grapes grown in the Douro Valley in northern Portugal. It is a sweet and full-bodied wine with a rich, dark color and is often used as an after-dinner drink. The fortification of port wine involves the addition of distilled grape spirits during fermentation, which gives it its distinctive flavor. Port has been enjoyed for centuries and is now one of the world’s most popular fortified wines.


Port wine dates back to the late 17th century when British merchants began importing it from Portugal. It quickly became popular in England and by the 18th century was a staple at dinner parties throughout Europe. Over time, the production of port has become increasingly sophisticated with advances in winemaking technology and modern viticultural practices. Today, port is produced by many wineries throughout Portugal and exported around the world.

Types of Port Wine

Port comes in three main varieties: Ruby, Tawny, and White. Ruby port is a young red wine that has been aged for several years before bottling; it has a fruity flavor and deep red color. Tawny port is aged for longer periods than ruby port; it has an amber color with hints of nuts and caramel on the nose. White port, which is much less common than ruby or tawny, is made from white grapes; it has a light golden hue and subtle flavors of citrus fruits such as lemon or grapefruit.

Serving Port Wine

Port should be served at room temperature or slightly chilled; never serve it too cold as this will mask its flavors. To preserve an opened bottle of port, pour out what you plan to drink immediately into glasses or decanters; then store the rest in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Serve port with desserts such as chocolate cake or fruit-based desserts like apple tart; it also pairs well with cheeses such as blue cheese or cheddar.


Dessert wines are a popular category of sweet wines that can be served as an after-dinner drink or enjoyed with desserts. There are many different types of dessert wines, each with their own unique characteristics and flavor profiles. Some of the most popular varieties include fortified wines such as port, sherry, and Madeira; late harvest wines such as Tokaji and Sauternes; botrytized wines such as Vin Santo, Icewine, and Trockenbeerenauslese; and sparkling dessert wines like Champagne, Prosecco, Moscato d’Asti, and Lambrusco. No matter what type of dessert wine you choose to enjoy, it is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

When selecting a dessert wine for a special occasion or special meal, consider the types of foods being served and the tastes of those attending. This will help you find the perfect bottle that will complement your meal perfectly.



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