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Sweet Wines

Sweet wines are characterized by their noticeable sweetness, which is a result of residual sugar remaining in the wine after fermentation. The sweetness in these wines can come from the natural sugars in the grapes or be added during the winemaking process.

  • Residual Sugar: The presence of residual sugar is the defining characteristic of sweet wines. This sugar can be the result of halting fermentation before all the grape sugars are converted into alcohol, or it can be added after fermentation is complete.
  • Sweetness Levels: Sweet wines can vary in sweetness levels, from slightly sweet to very sweet. The sweetness is often categorized on a spectrum, with terms like "off-dry," "medium-sweet," and "sweet" used to describe different levels of sweetness.
  • Flavor Profile: Sweet wines can have a diverse flavor profile, with notes of ripe fruit, honey, floral elements, and sometimes a touch of spice. The specific flavors depend on the grape variety and winemaking techniques.
  • Dessert Wines: Many sweet wines are considered dessert wines and are often served at the end of a meal. Examples include Late Harvest wines, Ice wines, and Noble Rot-affected wines like Sauternes.
  • Pairing: Sweet wines pair well with desserts, cheeses, and certain savory dishes. The sweetness can complement the flavors of desserts or balance the saltiness of certain cheeses.

Examples of sweet wines include:

  • Riesling (Late Harvest): Late Harvest Riesling wines can be sweet and are known for their aromatic qualities.
  • Muscat: Muscat wines, such as Muscat Beaumes de Venise, are often sweet and aromatic.
  • Port: Port wines, especially those labeled as Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) or Vintage Port, can be sweet and are fortified.
  • Sauternes: Sauternes is a sweet white wine from Bordeaux, France, often affected by noble rot, which concentrates the sugars.

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