America doesn’t like sweet wine — or we don’t like to admit it, at least. And that’s a strange stance to take, considering that sweet wines — those produced with considerable amounts of residual sugar, and that are typically destined to be dessert pairings — are among the most complex and age-worthy bottles in the world.
Key to the success of such bottles lies not only in their level of sweetness, but in delivering all-important acidity. This stops the wines from feeling cloying on the palate and also unlocks their ageability. Winemakers are able to achieve this balance via a number of different production techniques, which often rely on the specific climatic conditions of their regions. Before you dive into the following list, you can brush up on those and the world’s greatest examples of sweet wine in this guide.
Once you’re up to speed, you’ll be ready to dive into this roundup of blockbuster bottles. With examples arriving from Canada to Chile, made using mystical practices like noble rot and frozen grapes, these wines are a testament to the wonders of viticulture and vinification. Desserts and cheese boards at the ready: Here are 10 of the best sweet wines to drink in 2022.
Table Of Contents
- Best Sweet Red Wines
- Best Sweet White Wines
- Best Sparkling Sweet Wines
Best Sweet Red Wines
Sweet red wines can be made using numerous techniques, all which impact the flavor profile of wine in their own way and display the individual styles of each winemaker. Some winemakers stop fermentation early, allowing the grapes to retain higher levels of natural sugars. Others opt to dehydrate the grapes by allowing them to hang on the vine for longer periods or by drying out them in the sun after harvesting. In doing so, most of the water within the grapes evaporates, leaving behind highly concentrated sugars that create a sweeter wine.
While sweet reds can serve as a dessert all on their own, they often pair well with succulent treats like a chocolate torte or cheesecake. If sweet wines paired with more sweet food isn’t your style, they also work delightfully with a variety of cheeses and savory foods.
Dutton Estate Winery Sweet Sisters Late Harvest Syrah 2017
From the Russian River Valley, this 100 percent Syrah late-harvest wine is bold and fruity. Its aromas resemble decadent California red blends with a seasoning of black pepper. Chewy tannins add texture to the palate, where pulsing acidity helps counter the bold sweetness. This sweet wine displays the distinctive profile of Syrah and will appeal to port drinkers. Average price: $25. Rating: 93.
Feudo Montoni Passito Rosso Terre Siciliane IGT
Combining a blend of air-dried Nero d’Avola and Perricone grapes, this non-vintage Sicilian passito wine ages for seven months in oak then one year in bottle prior to release. There’s a raisined quality to its aromas and flavors, which span a broad spectrum of mocha, dark chocolate, blackberry coulis, and balsamic vinegar. With extreme concentration defining each sip, this luscious red will handle intense food pairings, such as stinky blue cheese, dark chocolate, or gamey meat. Average price: $48. Rating: 90.
Best Sweet White Wines
Despite most Americans shunning sweet whites in favor of drier, crisp wines, this is one of the oldest styles still produced today, and oftentimes among the most expensive.
Sweet white wines can be made by delaying harvest times or allowing grapes to freeze on the vine, both of which concentrate their sugar content. Some of the most stunning whites are produced by grapes infected with Botrytis cinerea, a bacteria more commonly referred to as noble rot. This fungus impacts the grapes by causing them to lose water content while maintaining sugar. While it sounds like a bad thing, the infection produces some of the finest and most unique wines in the world, such as those from the famous Bordeaux estate Château d’Yquem.
Carrying notes of golden fruit and honeysuckle with just a touch of acidity, sweet white wines pair wonderfully with a variety of cheeses and cured meats. They also work well with treats like cookies, crème brûlée, and fresh and dried fruits.
Abacela Winery Blanco Dulce 2020
A late-harvest sweet wine from the Umpqua Valley in southern Oregon, this expressive white is made from 100 percent Albariño. A sweet blanket of peach and honey aromas awaits in glass, underneath which lie crisp golden apple notes. Generous acidity keeps the palate lively and lends a refreshing spray to the finish. Average price: $30. Rating: 89.
Balletto Late Harvest Pinot Gris Vin de Paille 2017
This wine is made using the “vin de paille” method wherein picked bunches are laid out on straw mats and left to dry for a period before vinification. In this case, the Pinot Gris grapes came from Balletto’s estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley, and are slowly shriveled over a period of three weeks. Rich caramel and baking spices lead the concentrated nose, followed by floral and tropical fruit notes. Gentle acidity proves just enough to balance the saccharine nectar as it lands on the palate. Average price: $65. Rating: 95.
Domaine Sigalas VinSanto
Complex in every sense, this is an exceptional sweet wine. Made using a blend of Assyrtiko (75 percent) and Aidani (25 percent), picked grapes dry in the Santorini sun for around two weeks before being gently crushed and transferred into French oak. So high is the sugar content that fermentation can take up to three years to complete, while the wine ages for at least seven years in oak before bottling. That production process imparts incredible range and depth to the wine’s profile, with intense oxidative notes that run throughout, joined by caramel, molasses, and attractive floral tones. Average price: $109. Rating: 93.
Oremus Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2013
Puttonyos is an archaic unit of measurement used to highlight the residual sugar present in Hungary’s legendary Tokaji sweet wines. Relying on the magical effects of noble rot, this category is among the most age-worthy and complex of all sweet wines, and this bottle is a stunning and high-quality example. Its expressive nose serves wafts of stone fruit, citrus, floral, and honey notes, with hints of golden raisins and caramelized nuts following. An unmistakable chamomile note takes charge on the palate, lending a touch of dryness to the decadent mix of fruit, sweetness, and acidity. Average price: $108. Rating: 96.
Santa Julia Tardío Late Harvest Torrontés 2019
Native to Argentina, the white Torrontés grape shares much in common with the floral and tropical fruit scented Muscat of Alexandria, of which the former is believed to be a descendant. At $13, this late-harvest bottling offers an easy and approachable entry to the realm of sweet wine. Ripe stone fruit and candied citrus aromas give way to acidity and juicy fruit character on its pleasant palate. Average price: $13. Rating: 89.
Santo Winery VinSanto 2014
Another enjoyable Vin Santo from the Greek isle of Santorini, this bottle offers a slightly more affordable entry to the category, but doesn’t compromise on quality. Its Assyrtiko and Aidani grapes were sun-dried for around a week, fermented for 40 days, then aged in used oak for six years. Similar to sweet, complex sherry on the nose, the palate is balanced and delivers a juicy Maraschino cherry note on the finish, leaving a lasting impression of a Manhattan cocktail. That may sound like a strange wine tasting note but you will love it. Average price: $61. Rating: 92.
Schlink Haus Silvaner Eiswein 2018
This German ice wine delivers a captivating drinking experience. Pouring a striking shade of amber, notes of butterscotch and a hint of salinity lead the nose, followed by a sea of sweet, fruity flavor on the palate. A subtle hint of oxidation adds an extra layer to both nose and palate, and suggests hard, aged cheese as an ideal pairing. Average price: $64. Rating: 94.
Best Sparkling Sweet Wine
Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2019
Canada leads the world’s production of ice wine, with the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario providing the majority of the nation’s output. From a pioneering producer with almost 40 years experience in the industry, this sparkling example is made from the hybrid Vidal variety and fermented in pressurized tanks to maintain lively effervescence. Though not the world’s only sparkling ice wine, it is among just a handful of examples, making this something of a unicorn bottling. The wine’s profile lives up to the anticipation, serving floral and orchard fruit notes on the nose, and bright, persistent acidity that cuts through its velvet mousse. Gift this to the special wine geek in your life. Average price: $90. Rating: 94.
Published: February 9, 2022
What is the best wine in 2022? ›
- Best Overall: Gaja Barbaresco at Vivino. ...
- Best French: Louis Latour Château Corton Grancey at Vivino. ...
- Best Italian: Emidio Pepe montepulciano d'Abruzzo at Vivino. ...
- Best Spanish Red: Vega Sicilia Único 2009 at Vivino. ...
- Best Portuguese: Prats & Symington Prazo de Roriz at Totalwine.com.
Riesling. When most people think of sweeter wines, Riesling is usually one of the first ones that pops to mind. While there are some types of Riesling that can be less sweet, in general it is known as a very sweet wine, and a go-to for those that enjoy a sweet glass.What is a real sweet wine? ›
Sweet wines are typically Moscato, White Zinfandel, Riesling, Port, Sauternes and mead. Mead in particular is sweet & fruity.What is the number 1 wine in the world? ›
What is the number 1 wine in the world? The best overall wine of the world is Catena Zapata Adrianna Vineyard Fortuna Terrae Malbec 2016, renowned for its rich, aromatic aromas, full body and elegant, layered notes.What wine is trending now? ›
The Best Trends in Wine Right Now, According to Wine Pros:
Indigenous grape varieties. White Bordeaux. Alcohol-free wine. Sustainable winemaking.
The dry, hot growing season has been good for vineyards, according to top producer Egon Müller, who'll start picking on Sept. 19 and expects a crop of healthy grapes and high quality. With similar weather conditions in all regions, the country is a winner in 2022.How do you pick a good sweet wine? ›
All you need to do is look at the alcohol by volume (ABV) on the wine label. Wines generally fall somewhere between 5.5 percent and 23 percent ABV. In table wines, the lower the alcohol content, the higher the residual sugar content and the sweeter the wine.Is moscato the sweetest wine? ›
Sweetness: People often venture into the wine territory with a glass of Moscato, as it is the sweetest wine. Riesling is also a sweet wine, but it is less sweet than Moscato. Riesling is perfect for those who do not prefer anything too sweet.What is the sweetest and easiest wine to drink? ›
Moscato is an excellent sweet wine for beginners as it is a dessert wine. Winemakers flavor this Italian variety with apricots and almonds, as well as peach or other fruity flavors, on occasion. It's slightly fizzy and undoubtedly the sweetest wine.Which wine is sweeter rose or Moscato? ›
Rose will get its color from a process called maceration, yet pink moscato is a combination of white and red grapes. As well as this, moscato is a sweeter wine and rose is much drier.
Which is sweeter pinot or cab? ›
Both Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are dry red wines with low residual sugar levels similar to Merlot and Petite Sirah wine.) However, Cabernet Sauvignon has higher tannin levels and tends to taste drier.
If you're looking for something slightly sweeter, fruity, and well-rounded, try the Pinot Grigio. If you're looking for something with higher acidity levels and a little drier, but still on the lighter side, go with the Sauvignon Blanc.What wine will get me most drunk? ›
- Most Shiraz — 14-15% Of course, the Australians make a great, high alcohol content wine. ...
- Red Zinfandels — 14-15.5% One word is commonly used to describe red Zinfandels: bold. ...
- Muscat — 15% ...
- Sherry — 15-20% ...
- Port — 20% ...
- Marsala — 20% ...
- Madiera — 20%
Chemically speaking, alcohol stimulates the release of several neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, and opioid peptides. These natural brain chemicals will produce pleasurable feelings like euphoria, reward, and well-being.What wine won't give you a hangover? ›
To avoid another killer hangover the next time you drink: Swap red for white wine. White wine contains almost no congeners, so if you're not ready to break up with wine, swap your red for white.What type of wine is moscato? ›
Moscato is a sweet, fizzy white or Rosé wine with a low alcohol content that pairs exquisitely with desserts and appetizers. Moscatos are made from the Muscat grape—a table grape also used for raisins—and typically feature flavors of sweet peach, orange blossom and nectarine.What is the most delicious wine in the world? ›
Pinot Noir takes the top spot in our top 5 most popular wines in the world. Now you know our favourite and most popular wines in the world.How much should you spend on a good bottle of wine? ›
If there were, it would be: $15 to $30 a bottle is fine if the giver is relatively young and still paying off student loans; $30 to $50 is a good range for most career and professional adults who want to give something nice without looking extravagant; and $50-plus is right if the giver and receiver are both wine nerds ...What is the most respected wine rating? ›
- 95-100 Classic: a great wine.
- 90-94 Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style.
- 85-89 Very good: a wine with special qualities.
- 80-84 Good: a solid, well-made wine.
- 75-79 Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws.
- 50-74 Not recommended.
So, if you're wondering what is the most refreshing wine, then go with a glass of light red wine for the summer. Some of the choices include Grenache, Pinot Noir, and Barbera. These wines usually have less than 12.5% alcohol content. They have fewer tannins, are easy to drink, and pair well with a number of foods.
What is the smoothest wine to drink? ›
With that basic understanding of not too tannic and not too acidic, sommeliers know just the right wines for anyone asking for something smooth. Dustin Wilson, master sommelier and owner of Verve Wine, considers Pinot Noir, Gamay, Grenache, Trousseau, and Poulsard classic examples of smooth wine.What is the number 1 red wine? ›
1. Château Lafite Rothschild (Bordeaux, France) With 400 years of winemaking history backing it, Château Lafite is undoubtedly one of the world's oldest winemakers.Which country has the best wine 2022? ›
Perhaps the world's best known wine region producing some of the world's finest wines. Bordeaux is a must visit for any wine lover, a pilgrimage of sorts, to see first hand what makes it the most emulated wine in the world.
New York, NY (November 22, 2021)—Wine Spectator, the world's leading authority on wine, today announced Dominus Estate Napa Valley 2018 as the 2021 Wine of the Year. The full Top 100 list is now available on top100.Is the year on wine when its bottled? ›
Look out for the year the wine was produced on the wine label – this is called the 'vintage'. If it's not immediately clear on the front label, take a look on the neck of the bottle or on the reverse side. This year indicates the year in which the grapes were harvested.How can you tell if wine is sweet? ›
The wine's sugar content is ultimately the best way to determine its sweetness level—and the sweetest wines can have over 200 grams of residual sugar per liter. "These can be almost sticky and syrupy on the palate, and are also much lower in alcohol, generally below 8 or 9 percent ABV," says Grewal.Which is sweeter pink or white Moscato? ›
Pink is sweeter but white is crisper and I like it better!Is Moscato a dessert wine? ›
Moscato (pronounced mo-ska-toh) is a sweet Italian wine known for its fruity notes. Made from the Muscat grape, this white wine is typically thought of as a dessert wine with a hint of fizz.Which is sweeter Prosecco or Moscato? ›
During the alcoholic fermentation, the yeast transforms the sugar in the grape juice into alcohol. Grapes with high residual sugar will therefore produce dry wine with a high ABV. Moscato is sweeter than Prosecco hence you should expect a lower ABV for it.Do you have to refrigerate Moscato after opening? ›
Opened Moscato will last for up to 1 week after the cork is popped if you store it in a refrigerator standing upright with a quality wine preserver like Vacu-Vin to retain the freshness.
Should Moscato be refrigerated? ›
How should Moscato wine be served? Moscato, excluding fortified ones, is best enjoyed chilled. While the actual serving temperature depends on the style, chilling Moscato softens its sweetness so all of its fruit and floral flavors can shine.What wine gets you least drunk? ›
Riesling and Pinot Blanc (white grapes) are amongst them. For red wine, Beaujolais and Valpolicella usually have slightly lower alcohol. Obviously, a wine with lower alcohol will not make you drunk as quickly, but ultimately too much wine always will.What wine should I drink if I like sweet? ›
- Port Wine. Port wines are sweet, fortified wines made in Portugal. ...
- White Zinfandel. The White Zinfandel was discovered by accident. ...
- Moscato. ...
- Riesling. ...
- Sauternes. ...
- Ice Wine. ...
- Tokaji Aszu. ...
- Recioto Della Valpolicella.
And the sweetest wine in our lineup is our Barefoot Bubbly Peach. Bubbling with all the decadent flavors of a ripe Georgia peach, this sweet treat is packed with a symphony of fruity aromas.Is Barefoot Pink Moscato sweet? ›
This deliciously sweet wine has flavors and aromas of Moscato with additional sweet layers of juicy red fruit. Subtle notes of cherry, raspberry and pomegranate complement its vibrant finish. Pink Moscato is versatile and pairs well with spicy appetizers, Chinese take-out or fresh strawberries and whipped cream.Is Moscato stronger than wine? ›
To reiterate: red and white wines have the highest alcohol content. Rosé tends to hover in the middle, while Moscato and sparkling wine usually have the least. Region and wine quality will have a big say in these percentages, however, and you should always double-check to see if the wine bottle has been fortified.Is Stella Rosa Moscato d'Asti sweet? ›
Stella Rosa Moscato & Moscato D'Asti keeps you on your A-game. This semi-sweet, semi-sparkling wine is the perfect choice for girls-nights (and guys-nights), date nights, daytime activities, and you-time.Should you refrigerate open red wine? ›
Refrigerate Open Wine Bottles to Preserve Them
Cold temperatures significantly delay oxidation reactions, but the open wine bottles will still be changing in your refrigerator. Just as you store open white wine in the refrigerator, you should refrigerate red wine after opening.
Sauvignon Blanc is a refreshing drop and tends to be sweeter than Chardonnay with primary flavours of lime, passionfruit, white peach and green apple, making it quite flexible on the food pairing front.What is a sweet moscato? ›
The moscato that most people know and love is moscato d'Asti, the popular off-dry/sweet wine from northern Italy. When vinified well, these pleasantly effervescent wines are sweet and balanced by tons of acidity, and when coupled with their signature low-ABV, they are seriously easy to drink.
How many glasses of wine do you get from a bottle? ›
Standard Bottle – A standard bottle of wine is 750ml, or 25 fluid ounces, and will net you about 5 glasses of wine.What wines should I serve at my wedding? ›
Look into whites wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde, unoaked Chardonnay, Verdejo, Pinot Grigio. These wines will please your crowd, and they are especially good for summer weddings. For the classic choice on a budget, seek out oaked Chardonnay from Chile or Spain for a great value.What's sweeter Chardonnay or moscato? ›
Both Chardonnay and Moscato wines can be quite sweet, but on average, Moscato is sweeter. Chardonnay tends to be on the drier side, whereas the popularity of today's Moscato has encouraged wineries to produce sweeter and sweeter wines.What is a sweet wine for beginners? ›
Moscato wines are popular sweet wines for beginners and come in a variety of styles including still moscato, dessert moscato and moscato d'Asti (semi-sparkling) or Asti spumante (sparkling).Which is tastiest wine? ›
- Pinot Grigio. Quintessential pinot grigio, particularly from Italy, is known for being dry and easy-drinking, making it one of the world's most popular wines. ...
- Chardonnay. ...
- Pinot Noir. ...
- Rosé ...
- Cabernet Sauvignon.
Rosé wines are typically the better option if you are looking for a wine that is sweet, as they are able to offer both sweetness and often a hint of fruity undertones. Interestingly, the majority of rosé wines are made from red wine grapes, but produced like a white wine. What is this?What is a good sweet wine from Barefoot? ›
Barefoot Moscato is a sweet, lively white wine with a light, crisp acidity. Tropical aromas of pineapple and orange blossom meet highlights of juicy peach, honey and lemon zest for a perfectly refreshing finish.