Sweet White Wines – Instant Smiles
“What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile.” -William Sokolin
Dessert wines, liqueur wines, fortified wines or choose the name you want depending of its origin, but…why we cannot call to this sweet wine club – awesome wines!
Sigh…I feel better now…it’d be your palate which gives the names because your sensations rule 😉
Well, if we’re doing a wine tasting of these sweeties what if we see something more about them; an important characteristic is that winemakers produce them in reduced form, the yields are very low and for that reason they are expensive…but worth them!
Raisins and Wine -Sound a Lavish Dessert-
Yes, it isn’t specifically a dessert, although it could be…the wines are made from raisins (the grapes are dried intentionally with dry-air or in the sun, giving a high concentration of sugar and sweetness later. Typical wine examples but rare, Italian, French and Spanish (quite obvious to mention these origins, aren’t they?)
Similar effects have with late harvest wines, the grapes are left deliberately longer than normal at the vine, getting – a very sweet grape must – for further preparation and /or aging in oak barrels.
Worthy representatives are Riesling, Semillon, Torrontes and to a lesser extent, it can be a Viognier, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Fungus and Wine…Bizarre Combination!
For natural processes or induced –Noble rot -makes that a fungus (Botrytis cinerea) affects grapes, generating raisins -it is necessary to have an especial climate in terms of moisture and heat- to produces the effect of grape dehydration, imparting an aroma and flavor that is typical, shining later in the wine bottle. By the way, have you ever drunk a wine glass of them?
Emblematic French sweet wines are the Sauternes wines in Southern France and the Semillon grape is appropriate.
Wine making is an art and they must do it very carefully, because if there’s too much moisture the fungus can spread and lose the entire crop; it isn’t easy to play with the nature!
Power to the Wines! a.k.a. Fortified Wines
Why fortified? That term is because the sweetness of the wine is accentuated with the addition of alcohol before the fermentation is finished. Yields a wine that has an extra amount of natural sugar unfermented that gives power and strength.
Originally, the addition of brandy was to preserve wine, allowing more time on the long journey of the ships and making them more stable.
Depending on what stage you’re adding alcohol is the ultimate sweetness. In early phases, it’s sweeter and afterwards, gives drier wines. Obviously the most sweets are my preferred 😉
The resulting alcohol levels are 18-20% by volume approx. therefore warning! these wines are very addictives and they lead express to the head!
I haven’t delighted with everyone because there’re many varieties, among others, the Port wine (a.k.a. Oporto a Portuguese type red wine), Vermouth (Originally from Italy white/red wine), Marsala (Italian, great for cooking and for desserts like Tiramisu!) and Sherry (or Jerez, Spanish white/red wine).
In general lines, these fine white wines have aromas of ripe fruit (delicious), notes of honey (more in cases when are aged in oak barrels), and they can also have fragrances to tropical fruits.
Depending on the type, if they’re sickly sweet, it is necessary an acidity quota to provide freshness and to counteract that extra sweetness.
Food & Sweet White Wines Pairing
These wine types combine best with all kinds of fruity desserts and fresh fruit tarts, ahh with creamy desserts like mousses or creme brulee are fantastic!
The Noble rot types are ideals with cheeses blue type, Stilton or Roquefort and some types of pates. Not much explored, but they’re very effective with sheep or goat cheeses like Pecorino, Manchego even type Crottin.
Certainly it’s traditional that these wines have high ratings with handmade pastry and the famous Turrones or Torrone in the festivities.
I’ve highlighted the more popular sweet white wines that you can find commonly in the world. Definitely there’re more specifics in some wine countries like (Tokaj) Hungary, (Ice wines) principally from Germany and Canada; I can go on and on…because today the new world winemakers are in the same “wave” with Europe, including US, Australia, New Zealand and South American wines -Hey here Present!-
Interesting wine links that I recommend checking out:
Which remarkable sweet white wines would you like to add to this post?
I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! 🙂
Hungry for more sweet? Enjoy this post about the power of dulce de leche!