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Sweet Wine

Ranging from medium-dry to almost cloyingly rich, these wines are sweet from the residual sugar left in the wine after fermentation has stopped. Sweet wines or dessert wines are produced in the same way as dry white wines; the difference lies in when the grapes are picked. By leaving the grapes on the vine for longer and harvesting them later in the season the grapes become fully ripe and develop a much higher sugar content.

When these high sugar content musts ferment, the yeast, which is converting the sugar to alcohol, tires quickly and the fermentation comes to a halt leaving behind unconverted natural sugars which is referred to as residual sugar content.

The most famous sweet wines such as Château D’Yquem of Sauternes are made from grapes purposefully left on the vines waiting to become infected with a type of rot called botrytis cinerea, better known as ‘noble rot’ (pourriture noble in French). This fungus dries out the grapes and gives them a much higher concentration of sugar as well as honey and apricot flavours but takes great skill and knowledge to bring about.

Sauternes is renowned for producing the best sweet wines in the world, though Alsace, the Loire Valley and other regions of France produce outstanding examples. Only certain grape varieties are fit for producing sweet wines. Amongst these are Chenin Blanc, Muscat, Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Riesling. Sweet wines naturally go well with sugary desserts and even cheese but also as an aperitif with dishes like foie gras. If not they are always delicious on their own. These wines are best served at 8-10°C.

  1. Torbreck, The Bothie, Barossa Valley, 2010 (Half Bottle)

    Torbreck, The Bothie, Barossa Valley, 2010 (Half Bottle)

    Australian "sticky" Muscat dessert wine which is sweet, crisp, silky and pure. Its freshness is atypical and all the more welcome for it.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Country Australia

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  2. Torbreck, The Bothie, Barossa Valley, 2009 (1/2 Bottle)

    Torbreck, The Bothie, Barossa Valley, 2009 (1/2 Bottle)

    Torbreck's 2009 vintage Bothie displays beautifully fragrant aromas of fresh pine/lime, melon and lychee accompanied by extraordinary floral notes.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Country Australia

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  3. South Coast Liqueur Red, Massandra Collection, 1945

    South Coast Liqueur Red, Massandra Collection, 1945

    A fortified red wine similar in style to Port albeit made with very different grape varieties.

    Details
    Colour Other Fortified Red
    Grape Variety Aleatico, Magarch Bastardo, Morastel, Saperavi
    Country Ukraine

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  4. Livadia Liqueur Cabernet Sauvignon, Massandra Collection, 1945

    Livadia Liqueur Cabernet Sauvignon, Massandra Collection, 1945

    Livadia Liqueur Cabernet Sauvignon is a fortified red wine of some breeding. Part of the renowned Massandra Collection it gets its name from Tsar Nicholas 2nd's summer palace Livadia.

    Details
    Colour Other Fortified Red
    Grape Variety Cabernet Sauvignon
    Country Ukraine

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  5. Domaine de l'Alliance, Sauternes, 2010 (50cl)

    Domaine de l'Alliance, Sauternes, 2010 (50cl)

    Quite possibly the best value sweet wine from Sauternes. Richness and complexity combine to produce a delicious wine.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Muscadelle, Sauternes Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon
    Country France

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  6. Domaine de l'Alliance, Sauternes, 2009 (50cl)

    Domaine de l'Alliance, Sauternes, 2009 (50cl)

    This delicious Sauternes is made by a quality-conscious producer whose wines regularly out-perform others from the appellation with bigger reputations.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Country France

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  7. Château Suduiraut, 1er Grand Cru Classé Sauternes, 1921

    Château Suduiraut, 1er Grand Cru Classé Sauternes, 1921

    Château Suduiraut has a long tradition of producing exemplary Sauternes dessert wines.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Muscadelle, Sauternes Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon
    Country France

    £799.99

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  8. Château Rayne Vigneau, Sauternes, 1988

    Château Rayne Vigneau, Sauternes, 1988

    The 1988 is somewhat lighter than some vintages of this wine and displays fine balance with good acidity and a consistent aromas of apricot and honey. It offers a clean and crisp finish which is not at all cloying.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Sauternes Blend
    Country France

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  9. Château Rabaud-Promis, Sauternes Premier Cru, 2005 (half-bottle)

    Château Rabaud-Promis, Sauternes Premier Cru, 2005 (half-bottle)

    Half-bottle of a very nice premier cru Sauternes that will drink for the next 15 years.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Sauternes Blend
    Country France

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  10. Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 2007 (1/2 Bottle)

    Chateau Guiraud, 1er Cru Classé Sauternes, 2007 (1/2 Bottle)

    Château Guiraud is the only 1er Cru Classé wine estate within the boundaries of the commune of Sauternes apart from the great Ch. d'Yquem.

    Details
    Colour White Wine
    Grape Variety Muscadelle, Sauternes Blend, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon
    Country France

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