For people who want to ease into wine tasting or love a delightfully different varietal, try something a little sweet. Warm weather is ideal for sipping on a cool glass of sweet wine, before or after a meal. Visit area sommeliers and wine merchants to find sweet wines for any palate and to learn more about some sweet varietals.
Try these sweet and not-too-dry wines:
- Sauterne is a sweet white wine that comes primarily from the Bordeaux region in France, and varies in color as it ages, turning from a pale yellow to light brown. Sauterne has a full flavor and moderate acidity, which highlight the honey and apricot notes found in this varietal. Sauternes are notable dessert wines, and pair well with rich, fatty foods, such as creamy custards and cheeses.
- Port is a great finish to a meal or an accompaniment for picnic fare. It is a red wine, served slightly cooler than room temperature, so it travels well, and is found in a wide range of types and varietals. Port originates in Portugal and, depending on the grapes, is offered in ruby red (least expensive typically) to rose Port (rarer and pricier) to the finely aged white Ports, which usually cost a bit more.
- Prosecco is a sparkling Italian wine that is often confused with champagne, however it is made from a variety of different type of grapes. While Prosecco is not officially considered a sweet wine, it does fall into the less dry category of wines known as demi-sec. It pairs nicely with seafood and light fare, and is a popular choice after a meal or with fruit and sweets.
- Muscato is a very sweet, often fruit-infused wine that is found in red, pink, and even white varietals. It is produced globally, and is considered to be a summertime wine. Keep an eye out for sparkling Muscato for a sweet and refreshing treat to celebrate or enjoy any time.
- White Zinfandel is sweeter than rose, but drier than other sweet, pink wines. White Zinfandel is best served cold, and the level of sweetness varies depending on the winery, grapes, and vintage. While the wine's name often refers to the types of grapes used, White Zinfandel actually references the process of making this light, delicate wine.
- Spumante is often compared to champagne, but is an entirely different wine-making process. Spumante comes from Italy, and is perfect for punches or mimosas, when serving a crowd and looking to impress guests. Spumante is not inherently sweet, but there are sweet varieties available; check the bottle to determine how dry the wine is.
- Muscadine is made from Muscadine grapes, which are primarily grown in the Eastern U.S. This sweet, dark wine emerged in the 16th century and added sugar contributes to the sweetness of this varietal especially enjoyed in the Southern United States.
Novice wine drinkers and enthusiasts alike will enjoy sampling these sweet wines, and most are widely available at wine shops and restaurants. Try something new and ask your sommelier for a sweet recommendation; pick up a bottle for a sweet treat at home!