Port, Madeira and Cream Sherry
Before yeast converts all the sugar to alcohol, extra grape spirits can “fortify” a wine to kill the yeast and leave some sugar remaining in the higher-alcohol result. The Iberian peninsula is the birthplace of these full-bodied, complex after-dinner wines, where ships destined for the US and Britain were once filled with the stuff!
Moscato & Brachetto
In Piedmont in northern Italy, Muscat and Brachetto grapes respectively create this pair of white and red semi-sparkling summer dazzlers. Moscato d’Asti has a pear and apricot flavor profile while Brachetto delivers with Strawberry, raspberry and rose notes. Drink them with fresh fruit and cheese platters at your next picnic.
When grapes are left on the vine during the season’s first frost, the resulting juice squeezed from the frozen fruit is decadently sweet – a result of the water ice staying frozen while the sugary juice (which does not freeze at the same temperatures) flows under gentle crushing. Canada has built a worldwide reputation for the best ice wines, which are only produced under the strictest regulations. For more info: Ice Wines
Botrytis Wines – Sauternes & Tokay
Chateau d’Yquem is the most famous wine affected by the Noble Rot mold called Botrytis, yielding a complex and unique taste from the blend of late-harvested Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon grapes in France’s Sauterne area of Bordeaux. It is the historical benchmark for similar wines produced worldwide.
Tokaj is a specialty of Hungary made from the Noble Rot grapes and is available in varying levels of sweetness, ranked increasingly sweet with higher “puttanyos” numbers on the label. The Hungarian Wine Society can tell you more about this elixir.
Dried Grapes – Vin Santo & Recioto
Vin Santo is a product of Tuscany made with partially dried grapes, lending a raisiny quality to the full-bodied and nutty character. It makes a perfect match to almond and pecan desserts. Recioto is made in the Veneto area of Northeast Italy near Venice, made from the dried red grapes of Valpolicella. Its flavors are deeper, richer, and more suitable for chocolate explorations. Originally, dried-grape wines were invented by the Greeks, who coined the name Vin Santo.
It’s time for adults to enjoy the sweet tastes
There are many more sweet wines on the market, which pair beautifully with salty cheeses, spicy Asian and East Indian cuisines, fresh fruit as well as sweet desserts. Don’t miss out on your opportunities to experience these complex and unique expressions of the winemaking art as part of your passage through adulthood!