Wine is the perfect social lubricant for dinner parties and celebrations.
However, if you are somewhat of a sweet tooth, you might struggle to find wines that suit your palate and are enjoyable to drink.
Thankfully, you don’t have to grin and bear it with dry or medium wines.
There is a vast range of sweet white wines that are perfect for those of you who enjoy the sweeter things in life.
Because dry and medium white wines are more popular, it can be difficult to find sweet wines in a liquor store if you don’t know what you are looking for.
In this guide, we will look at some of the best sweet white wines to satisfy your sweet tooth.
If you are into sweet white wines, you have probably heard of Moscato before. This is one of the most common sweet wines.
It is most commonly considered to be a dessert wine but it is also the perfect wine to sip on a hot summer’s day.
Moscato is an Italian wine that is popular for its light flavor, slightly effervescent nature, and beautifully natural sweetness (see also “Italian Food Guide: Best Wine For Italian Food & Pasta“). Moscato d’Asti wines are made from the Muscat grape.
It is this grape that gives the wine its unique floral and fruity aroma. Most Moscato d’Asti wines have distinct aromas of citrus, apricot, and peach.
Moscato wine is often lower in alcohol than drier wines. This is because of the amount of natural sugar that is left in the wine to create its amazingly sweet flavor.
Another beautifully sweet white wine is Gewurztraminer. This is an incredibly versatile wine that has a wonderfully aromatic palate.
The thing that makes Gewurztraminer wine so popular is the spicy and floral notes that come through in the flavor.
This type of wine is commonly associated with the Alsace region of northeastern France.
The grapes that are used to make this wine have a beautiful pink hue which can make this a slightly darker wine than other white wines.
This wine is known for its unique and spicy notes of cinnamon and ginger. There are also floral aromas that come through when sipping this wine.
Gewurztraminer wine is higher in alcohol than other sweet wines and is perfect for pairing with spicy food thanks to its honey-like sweetness.
Another wonderfully versatile sweet white wine is Riesling.
This is a wine that actually comes in a variety of flavors and styles which makes it a great go-to sweet white wine. Riesling is originally a German wine.
However, it is now produced in wine regions around the world including Australia, The U.S., and France.
The most important thing to note about Riesling wine is that it can be very dry or sweet (see also “Discover The Driest White Wines“). Therefore, you should pay attention to the Riesling you are purchasing.
The wine is also available in a range of flavors. Some of the most common flavors include honey, apple, pear, lemon, and even petrol.
Riesling is a great sweet white wine that can be paired with a wide variety of food including seafood, pizza, and spicy food.
It is also a great wine for sipping by itself when socializing with friends.
Another deliciously sweet white wine is Viognier. This wine is made from a particular type of grape that is known for its floral aroma and full-bodied texture.
The grapes for this wine are mostly grown in the Rhone Valley region of France. However, they are also grown in Italy, Australia, and the U.S.
Viognier is a white wine that has fresh fruity and floral flavors including honeysuckle, apricot, and peach.
It is common for this type of wine to be blended with other types of wine to create a drink with more depth of flavor and complexity.
This type of wine is available as a dry wine as well as a sweet wine.
Therefore, it is important to make sure that you are selecting the right type of Viognier wine when shopping for the perfect wine for your dinner party or special occasion.
Another popular sweet white wine is Chenin Blanc. This wine is made from a grape variety that is grown around the world. The resulting wine is known for its crisp and fruity flavors.
Some of the most common top notes of this wine are pear and apple. The sweetness of this wine also has notes of honey.
This is another wine that is available in sweet and dry varieties so make sure that you check which type you are purchasing to avoid disappointment.
There are some amazing varieties of this wine that feature white chai tea and jasmine blossom aromas to round out the flavor of this drink.
One of the things that makes this type of wine so popular is the fact that it can be paired with almost anything.
It is perfect for cutting through the heat of spicy dishes, but it can also accompany light seafood dishes or creamy pasta dishes.
If you want an iconic sweet white wine, you can’t go wrong with a classic Sauternes. This is a sweet white wine that originates from Bordeaux in France.
Rather than being made from a single type of grape, Sauternes wine is actually a blend of different grape varieties to create a unique and beautifully sweet wine.
This wine is made from a combination of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and Muscadelle grapes. However, the grapes that are used in this wine are all affected by a fungus known as “noble rot”.
Although this might sound unsavory, the fungus causes the grapes to shrivel which concentrates the flavors and aromas. This helps to produce a sweeter and more complex wine.
The resulting wine boasts aromas of citrus, honey, and apricot which perfectly complements the stunning golden color of this wine.
The flavors of this wine are rich and incredibly sweet. They include caramel, apricot, and candied orange peel when sipped.
This is a sweet wine that you may not have heard of before. Ice Wine gets its name from the process used to produce the wine. Ice Wine is made from grapes that have been frozen on the vine.
This is another way to concentrate the sugars and flavors of the grapes without using “noble rot”.
Because of the process used to produce this wine, it is considered to be a specialty wine that warrants a heftier price tag than other sweet white wines on this list.
However, for the bigger price tag, you get to enjoy a wonderfully unique flavor that is intensely sweet. This wine is perfect for desserts or special occasions.
Because of the complexity of this wine, it is sure to leave a lasting impression on your and your guests.
It is perfect for pairing with rich and intense desserts or for sipping by itself and raising a toast for celebrations.
Another lesser-known sweet white wine is Tokaji wine. This is a type of wine that originates in Hungary. Tokaji is the ultimate hidden gem when it comes to sweet white wines.
While it might be easier to come across Moscato or Riesling wine, it can be worth trying to track this wine down in a more niche liquor store.
This wine may also be under the name Tokay depending on the brand. The wine is made from grapes that have been affected by the same fungus as Sauternes wine.
As we mentioned above, this makes the grapes much sweeter naturally.
Tokaji wines come in a range of sweetness from sweet to super sweet. Each variety of Tokaji wine has a certain level of acidity that helps to balance out the sweetness so that it is never sickly sweet.
All Hungarian Tokaji wines must adhere to strict standards of quality that have been in place since Queen Victoria’s reign when she referred to the wine as the “wine of kings, the king of wines”.
Late Harvest Wines
A late harvest wine is the perfect sweet wine to add to your dinner party or gathering with your friends. As the name suggests, these wines are made from grapes that are left on the vine longer than other wine grapes.
This allows the grapes to ripen more fully than grapes that are harvested earlier. This additional time on the vine means that the grapes develop a naturally more intense sweetness.
The specific levels of sweetness in late harvest wines can vary between brands.
However, they all have a distinctive honey flavor with a luxurious texture that makes the wine incredibly smooth on the palate.
This type of wine is perfect if you want a beautifully sweet wine that is much less expensive than Ice Wine.
If you want the ultimate late harvest sweet white wine experience, you should look for wines that are made with Riesling grapes. This pairs particularly well with apple pie or creme brulee.
The next wine on our list is Muscat. This wine can often be called Moscato wine by certain brands. Both Muscat and Moscato are incredibly sweet.
However, they are different wines. Muscat wine is made from Muscat grapes. These grapes are known for their distinctive aromas of fruit and floral notes.
Muscat wine has a unique taste that is very refreshing and crisp.
The wine is made all over the world with the grapes being grown in Australia, Italy, France, and California. Muscat is another white wine that ranges from dry to sweet so it is important to pay attention to the type that you are buying.
The sweetest varieties of Muscat wines are generally served as dessert wines. This wine pairs particularly well with desserts that get their sweetness from fruit. Desserts such as pies or cobblers are perfect for this wine.
However, it can also be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif wine before your dinner party.
Sweet white wines are often reserved for aperitifs and desserts. However, these wines are much more versatile than that and should be celebrated for all their flavor and aromas.
There are many different types of sweet white wines that you can purchase, all of which have various aromas and flavors.
You can use this guide to help you experiment with sweeter wines to find one that works for you and your tastes.
Frequently Asked Questions
The simple answer to this question is, yes. As a general rule, all white wines should be chilled before serving.
Some people choose to chill their white wine with ice cubes but this isn’t a generally accepted practice.
The thing that complicates chilling sweet white wines is the specific temperature at which they should be chilled.
The style of the wine helps to determine the temperature at which the wine should be served.
Light-bodied wines such as Riesling should be served between 47 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Full-bodied wines such as Viognier should be chilled to 50 degrees Fahrenheit before serving.
When your sweet white wine is served at the right temperature it ensures that you can experience the true flavor and aromas of the wine.
If you serve the wine warmer than the ideal temperature, you will be able to taste the bitterness of the alcohol rather than the fruity or floral aromas.
Serving wine that has been overly chilled means that the fruity and floral aromas will be muted and the wine will be less flavorful overall.
When you are shopping for wine, you may notice that the alcohol content of sweeter wines is generally lower than that of drier wines.
If you have been wondering why, it actually has a very simple and logical explanation.
Grapes, like all fruit, have a certain level of natural sugars. During the fermentation process that turns the grapes into wine, these natural sugars are converted into alcohol.
The longer the fermentation process lasts, the higher the alcohol content will be because more sugar has been converted.
Sweet white wines are sweet because of the natural sugars that remain in the wine.
This means that not all of the sugar in the grapes has been converted. The higher the sugar content of the wine, the lower the alcohol content naturally is.
It is worth noting that there are some sweet wines that have been fortified. These wines are incredibly sweet and also have a higher alcohol content.
In these wines, the natural fermentation process is stopped to preserve the sugar content.
The substance that stops the fermentation process is alcohol in itself which helps to boost the overall alcohol content of the wine.
Yes, the sweetness in sweet wines is completely natural. Despite the fact that the sweetness of some wines is manipulated during the fermentation process, no artificial sweetener is added to the wine.
As we mentioned above, all grapes that are used to make wine contain a certain amount of natural sugars. It is this sugar that converts into alcohol when the grapes are fermented.
When the fermentation process is cut short, some of the natural sugars remain in the wine. It is these sugars that bring the sweetness to the wine.
We also mentioned fortified wines above which have additional alcohol in them.
Despite the fermentation process being artificially shortened through the addition of an alcoholic substance, the sweetness of the wine is entirely natural.
The addition of alcohol stops the fermentation process and allows a larger percentage of the natural sugars to remain in the wine.
Having read about wines made from grapes affected by noble rot, you might be left wondering if these wines are actually safe.
You will be relieved to know that drinking wine made from noble rot grapes is perfectly safe to consume.
The grapes that are used to make these wines are not infected and then left to rot uncontrollably.
In fact, the fungus used in this process is closely controlled throughout the wine making process.
Although fungus often contains harmful toxins and bacteria, these are carefully eliminated through the process of fermentation and aging of the wine.
This means that you get all the benefits of the fungus concentrating the natural sweetness of the grapes without any of the harmful aspects of fungus spores.
Therefore, although noble rot might sound unappealing, it actually helps to make some of the most delicious and flavorful sweet white wines on the market.
Because of highly monitored and legislated production practices, these types of wines are perfectly safe to consume despite the means of production.