What is Sweet Dessert Wine
Food and wine have been paired for hundreds of years, most likely because folks believe some combinations just
taste better when they are together than when served alone. Conventional wisdom in respect of pairing is not often
followed for modern meals, partly because folks have found they prefer to rely on their individual tastes to decide
which combinations taste the best.
Sweet dessert wine, however, is usually served with fruit or bakery sweets, although it is occasionally enjoyed
alone after the meal. True appreciation of that type of wine, though, begins with knowing what sets it apart from
Even though many vintners will disagree, the creation of a fine vintage does not necessarily begin in the
vineyard. Of course, there are a few varieties that are known for being particularly sweet, but many of them need
additional flavorings to stave off tastelessness.
The sweetness of grapes can even be enhanced by harvesting them later or by exposing them to more sunlight, both
of which can be difficult to control. Consequently, many dessert wines are not a result of the grape growing
process, but of the amount of sugar added before or after fermentation.
In Germany, for instance, sugar is increased by adding grape juice after fermentation, which has the side effect
of lowering the alcohol content. Other techniques for increasing sweetness include using grapes that have a
specific type of mold on them, freezing out some of the water, or drying the grapes before fermentation.
Despite being a combination of grape variety, alcohol content, color and flavor, the classification of wines and
liquors varies greatly according to local laws. For instance, sweet dessert wine in America has more than fourteen
percent alcohol and include those that have been fortified with alcohol, while the same category in the United
Kingdon includes any non-fortified sweet wine served with a meal. The only point of agreement on the category seems
to be the sweetness, with these wines having the highest sugar content.
Wine selection and food pairings can be something of a contentious issue. Some experts claim that certain
combinations should always be served together, while others insist that selection and pairing should be based on
the individual palate. Nevertheless, both sides seem to agree that dessert wines should be served after the meal,
whether alone or with an actual dessert. They also concur, in this case, that selection and pairing with a dessert
involves actually tasting the wine to figure out what suits your individual tastes.