Are you one of those people who don’t like sweet wines? Well, prepare to have your mind blown and be ready to drink your dessert because nothing wows your guests like having a dessert wine after your meal! These tongue- pleasing sippers are ideally enjoyed as an accompaniment to desserts or as a dessert itself.
Dessert wines are sweet, usually served at the end of your meal and often accompanied by a dessert. That's the reason dessert wines are often called pudding wines in the United Kingdom.
However, when describing sweetness in a wine, keep in mind that we are referring to the amount of residual sugar it has, i.e., the amount of sugar that remains after fermentation. This happens when the fermentation is stopped before the yeast has converted all the sugar into alcohol. Dessert wines are often made from very sweet grapes, so you can expect most wines to be high on both alcohol and sugar. This may explain why there is such a wide array of dessert wines out there from light bright and crisp to intensely aromatic and rich.
How to identify sweet wines?
When looking for sweet wines, look for the following terms on the label: Dolce, Dulce, Doux, Moelleux. Conversely, if you don’t want a full-on sugar bomb on your palate, opt for vinos that have just touch of sweetness. Look for the following description: Amabile, Semi-Dry, Demi-Sec, Semi-Seco.
To be precise, when reading a technical sheet:
- When sweetness is below 1%, wines are considered ‘Dry’.
- Above 1% sweetness, wines are considered ‘Off Dry’ or ‘Semi-Sweet’.
- Wines above 5% sweetness are noticeably ‘Sweet’.
- ‘Dessert wines’ start at around 7- 9% Sweetness.
- *For clarity, 1% sweetness is equal to 10g/L Residual Sugar.
Wine recommendations for those who like it sweet
Sula has been a pioneer in introducing different styles of wines to India and dessert wines are no exception. Sula produced the first Late Harvest Chenin Blanc in India which is not only the first dessert wine to be produced in India but also the first wine made from Late Harvest Chenin Blanc grapes. It is intensely fruity & rich on the palate with the luscious notes of honeycomb & rich tropical fruit. It pairs very well with a wide range of desserts from Panna cotta to rich Indian sweets like Gulab Jamun! Easily among one of India’s best dessert wines!
A unique addition to the range of wines leaning towards sweet is an elegant and fruity, medium sweet Sula Sparkling Shiraz. This wine is juicy with mouth-watering aromas of pomegranate, dark berries, and sweet spices. It can be enjoyed by itself, as an aperitif and pairs with both sweet and savoury. Try it with your favourite chili chicken, a mutton rahra and even with desserts, especially the ones made from dark chocolate.
The newest wine on the block is India’s first wine sparkling wine made from Muscat; The Source Moscato Sparkling. This vibrant bubbly has intense notes of citrus, peach and lychee with a lingering marmalade and honeyed finish. A sweet sparkling wine with refreshing acidity and low alcohol, this is the perfect wine for any occasion and for those who like light, fruity, sweeter styles of wine.
Dessert wine and food pairing
With wines, food pairing plays a very important role. If the right wine is paired with the right food, it can enhance your overall dining experience and vice versa. In India people really love their desserts, thus most good restaurants & hotels stock at least a couple of dessert wines. Usually, the wines paired with desserts tend to be as sweet as or sweeter than the dessert.
In today’s health-conscious lifestyle, the phrase “dessert” wine could leave most people worried and they may tend to have a reputation for being unhealthy. If you ask any group of wine enthusiasts, you are likely to get mixed reactions. Some wine drinkers wouldn’t even think of having a sweet or fortified wine, while others wouldn’t dare end a meal without a delightful dessert wine. There is a place and time for dessert wine, and it can be more versatile than you might realise. Who knows! You might love it and that’s the beauty of wine. However, you drink it, wine is one of life’s pleasures that helps everything else go down just a little bit easier. Cheers!