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Photo above: Late harvest method is letting the grapes shrivel on vine to concentrate the sugar in berries. In very lucky cases, noble rot develops to create flavor complexity in the resulting wine. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.org
Aahh, wines. This complex but also very versatile drink is a favourite among alcohol enthusiasts all over the world - and for good reason. It’s delicious. It goes well with anything and everything - from savory roasted chicken, salty cheeses and even some of your most loved sweets.
For seasoned drinkers - the more complex the taste, the more enjoyable it is. However, for those with a sweet tooth - it goes without saying that sweeter tasting wines are preferred. No judgment there! After all, different strokes work for different folks. If the latter speaks to you, read on as we talk about everything you need to know about sweet wines.
Sweet wines don’t come easy.
Just as any other type of wine. However, what makes sweet wines particularly different is that it is rooted from a tradition of winemaking that comes with tedious and costly labor. White grapes generally take more time to concentrate the sugars and hence, harvest time is done later than the average period.
Harvesting is done only by hand and it entails careful visual attention.
France and Germany are among the countries with the richest sweet wine making tradition.
These countries have among the richest wine making traditions. The French have this process called the "vin de paille" paille means straw wherein the grapes are picked and left on straw mats to dry further. Why straw? because it allows the air to pass through beneath not allowing any moisture to be entrapped. And traditionally this is done in barnyards where straws are most common.
As for the Germans, they practice adding an unfermented grape juice called süssreserve on dry wines. This is the sweet component only allowable to be added. Note that simply adding sugar is not allowed in winemaking discipline. Take note : not only in Germany but all over the world.
Photo above: Grapes are picked and left on straw mats to dry further. This method is called “vin de paille” Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.org
Ice Wine & Noble Rot
Ice wines and noble rot are two of the most sought after sweet wines. Ice wines belong to the dessert wine category and are made from grapes which were frozen while still on the vine. In doing so, the sugars do not freeze but because the water does, more concentrated grape juice is developed.
Noble rot, on the other hand, is produced through a unique process brought about by the beneficial fungus to grapes. This results in wine that has a distinctive, concentrated, exotic, flavor with a crisp, acidic finish.
Photo above: Making of ice wine is by leaving grapes frozen on vine until the sugar in berries concentrate Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.org
It’s a favourite - even of the popes!
Yup, you read that right! Sweet wine is loved by nobilities across all nations - it’s a favourite of royalties, emperors and as we have already mentioned, even some of the popes!
Sweet Wines to Try That Won’t Hurt Your Wallet
Ready to treat your taste buds for some sweet wines? Here are some of our selections sure to give you a bang for your buck. You may also want to discover traditional old world sweet wines made by other regions!