Of all the sweet white wine types, what are the best tasting wines? The truthful answer to that question depends on the person. It all comes down to personal taste preference because everyone likes different things. For you to truly find the answer to that question, you’ll need to explore and actually try tasting the many different options to find out which one you like best. To help you find your answer, I’ve selected 7 good wines to start. Give them a try and see which one you like best, then go on from there.
Sweet Wine Types
Let’s quickly talk about the different types of sweet white wines. The sweetness will vary from wine to wine. However, sweet wines generally fall into three categories: very sweet, sweet, and semi-sweet.
What is a very sweet wine? A very sweet wine will have will typically have over 100 grams of sugar per liter. The sugar is called residual sugar; it’s the fruit sugar that comes from the grapes used to make the wine. If you were to measure the amount of sugar by teaspoon, it would be about 4 teaspoons or more per glass of wine.
Sweet wine will usually have over 30 grams of sugar per liter of wine. You’re looking at about 1-4 teaspoon of sugar per glass.
Semi-sweet are just as their name implies; they’re kind of sweet, but not so much. Some people also label them off-dry and others call them semi-sweet. Either way, you can think of them as being in middle of very sweet, and dry. Semi-sweet wines generally have over 10 grams of sugar per liter of wine.
Let’s go on to our list of the 7 white tines you shouldn’t ignore.
Gewurztraminer is a lesser known wine compared to some of the more popular options, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less delicious. In fact, many consider this a hidden gem. While it is considered a semi-sweet wine, it’s sweet and aromatic. If you take the time to appreciate its aromas, it will smell almost like the lychee fruit.
Gewurztraminer is lighter in alcohol content, which makes it a little easier and smoother to drink. Many consider it very comparable to Moscato.
Ice wine, also known as Eisweins, is a very sweet wine. It is very rich and sweet; thus it categorized as a desert wine.
The process of making this wine that is very high is residual sugar is a little different. The work is tough and the yield is lower, so expect to pay a little more for this wine.
Ice wine isn’t made from specific grape variety. A wine maker can use any grape variety as long as it is harvested and process correctly. The grapes are only harvested after the first frost. The grapes are left to freeze on the vine during the cold season. This is usually when the first frost comes.
While the grapes are still frozen on the vines, the grapes are harvested by hand. Harvesting
Late Harvest Wine
Late harvest wine is kind of like ice wine. The difference is late harvest wines aren’t harvested at first frost; they are instead, harvest very late in the season. Although late harvest wine isn’t as sweet as ice wine, they are still very sweet. Letting the grapes ripen late into the season makes for a more concentrated and sweeter grape—which results in a sweeter wine.
Moscato is probably one of the most popular options for sweet white wines. Being semi-sparkling, semi-sweet, and light makes it very easy to drink (not to mention the familiarities it has that our taste buds are already attuned to). Moscato is a beginner friendly, but it is also loved by many seasoned wine drinkers for the reasons stated above.
Riesling can dry or sweet. To make sure you grabbed a bottle of sweet Riesling, you’ll have to pay attention to the label. While some wine labels won’t tell you if it’s sweet or not, fortunately, that’s not the case with Riesling.
The International Riesling Foundation developed a helpful little label system is encouraged for wine makes. Good thing for us, many of them have agreed to use this little sweetness label system. Take a look at the back of the bottle of Riesling. There is small scale that tells you how sweet the wine is.
Sauternes is a fench wine, and comparable to the Hungarian wine, Tokaji. It is a very sweet wine and that sweetness is achieved by a special process. The wines are left on the vine until it is affected by noble rot, a fungus. This results in a more concentrated sugar content in the grapes.
Sauternes’ strong sweetness is balanced by the high acidity. Due to the high sugar content and high acidity, sauternes is a great wine what ages very well. Quality sauternes can age for decades. Allowing the wine to age will intensify the flavor and darken the color.
Tokaji is also a very sweet wine. This Hungarian wine is a good desert wine because it’s so sweet. The level of sweetness can be determined by the Puttonyos rating on the label. A lower Puttonyo number means it’s less sweet. A higher Puttonyo number means it is sweeter.
Just like Sauternes, Tokaji is made from grapes that have been affected by noble rot (bodrytis). The fungus might sound nasty, but it’s actually what makes it so good. It adds sweetness and complexity to the juice from the affected grapes; resulting in a more complex and sweeter wine.
Sweet White Wines for Beginners
Beginners should look for sweet whine wines that are lighter and semi-sweet; meaning they should have less alcohol content and a little bit of residual sugar. Having less alcohol content makes it taste smoother and having a little sugar keeps our taste buds comfortable because it’s something we know and love. Because we drink so much soda, semi-sparkling wines will also be a big plus for our taste buds.
With that said, some recommended wines for beginners include:
- Riesling (sweet or semi-sweet)