Sweet red wines are often used as a gateway to wines or as transition wines if you are going from white to red. This is because a majority of wines are dry in nature. This simply means it is not sweet. It is also rather tannic or what you would call mapakla, which can be off-putting or unpleasant for some.
Conversely, sweet red wines have a palate-friendly taste with little acidity and tannins, making them rather pleasant to sip on. They are a versatile drink that can be paired with virtually any type of food - and yes, you can even drink a glass for breakfast! We'll walk you through all there is to know about sweet red wines as well as our top 10 picks!
Wine is made from the juices of fermented grapes. It gets its color because of the skins coming in contact with the juice. During the fermentation process, the sugar is converted into alcohol.
Sweet wine occurs when the fermentation process is halted early, which retains more sugar from the grapes. This results in a sweeter taste with less alcohol content as it contains more residual sugar (RS). The wine could also be filtered to remove the yeast and halt the fermentation process.
The ripeness of the grapes, as well as the region where they are harvested, could also affect the sweetness of the wine. The riper the grape, the sweeter it is. Sweet wines often use riper grapes. Also, the warmer the region, the riper the grape. In some cases, grapes are sun-dried, which evaporates water and leaves them with a high sugar level.
If you are new to sweet red wines it can get quite confusing. Here are some of the things you should consider before buying.
It may come as a surprise but sweet red wines also have their own variations! Perhaps you prefer to keep it light with a sparkling wine or maybe you want the full decadence of a fortified wine.
Sparkling wine is characterized by the telltale bubbles in the drink as a result of the presence of carbon dioxide from its fermentation process. Any wine can become a sparkling wine, although generally, we are used to white and rosé wines. But there are sparkling red varieties as well as it can come from every type of grape.
It has been described to be more festive and very versatile as it goes really well with food and can be paired with any type of meal – including breakfast! This makes it ideal for those who are looking for an all-purpose wine that they can easily serve for guests or for your wine and cheese nights.
It has notes of strawberry candy and cherry jam. It pairs well with foods that are earthy, peppery, and acidic such as tomatoes, capers, olives, and Parmesan cheese. Popular types of this wine include Lambrusco, the dolce variation, as this means sweet. Shiraz also has a sparkling variation as well as Brachetto d’Acqui.
Still wine is characterized by its lack of bubbles, making it well, still. It is a little heavier in the body than sparkling wine but isn't as heavy as fortified. It falls in the middle, making it great for drinking on its own or pairing with food as it is not full-on sweet. It is balanced out by just the right hint of acidity and dryness.
This type of wine boasts of red fruits such as cherries, blackberries, and cranberries. It also has notes of spiced herbs such as cinnamon and can have cotton candy sweetness. Look for Dornfelder, particularly the süss varieties, which means sweet. Schiava and Recioto della Valpolicella are also examples of still sweet red wines.
Fortified means strengthened, and this refers to their stronger alcohol content, ranging from 16-23% ABV due to the addition of spirits like brandy. It still has a sweet taste, so you might want to go for half a serving than usual as the alcohol could hit you pretty fast if you’re not careful.
It is served before or after a meal as the higher alcohol content keeps you relaxed with just one glass. It has dry and sweet versions with the dry ones usually mixed in with cocktails and the sweet ones often drunk after dinner as an accompaniment to dessert.
It has a woody and nutty taste, with notes of black currant, figs, and dates. It is great for pairing with cheese, cream, and chocolate-based desserts. It can also be used in cooking! Port is a notable example of fortified wine as well as Marsala, Madeira, and Black Muscat.
The alcohol percentage in wine is expressed in terms of alcohol by volume or ABV. The alcohol content is a good indicator of a wine’s sweetness level. A good rule of thumb is that the lower the ABV, the higher the residual sugar and the sweeter it is.
You want to look for wines in the 8-11% ABV range, as it is more likely to fall in the sweeter category. Anything higher will be on the drier side. Though keep in mind that fortified wines are an exception as it naturally has higher alcohol content.
To make your wine hunting simpler, you could also take a look at their country of origin. The majority of sweet red wines hail from Italy, Germany, and Portugal. You could also check out wines made from Australia, as they are famous for their sparkling Shiraz.
The labels can also give you an idea whether it is a sweet wine or not. Look for terms such as late harvest, dolce, dulce, or doux as this indicates sweetness or residual sugar present in the wine.
Whether you are looking for something easy to sip on for nights when you want to unwind or want to ease your transition to wines, sweet red wines have got your back!
Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico
Lambrusco dell'Emilia Rosso
Natural Sweet Red
A Versatile Wine That Can Take You From Dinner to Dessert
Sweet and Spicy, a Christmas in a Bottle Drink
Switch Up Your Grazing Boards With Sparkling Wine
Lusciously Sweet to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Your Valentine's Day Partner
A Velvety Wine to Pair With Pastries
Delicate and Fruity With a Hint of Bitterness
Delicately Balanced Sweetness and Dryness
Light and Frizzy, It Won’t Make You Dizzy
An Affordable Option for Everyday Drinking
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This Valentine's Day, follow Claire's lead and make this light and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate soufflé. It is also decadent without being over the top. Pair this with your favorite red wine to make the perfect dessert for Heart's Day!
Sweet red wines are a great accompaniment to desserts since they bring out the decadence of these sweet treats. Pair your drink with these chocolatey treats to end your meals on a sweeter note!
If you're looking for an all-around red wine that could cater to a lot of people's tastes, look no further than sweet red wines. It is easy on the palate and stands up to any occasion. Its taste is something that can be enjoyed by everyone from breakfast to dessert!
Author: J. Cuizon
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