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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. Château Rieussec, Premier Cru Classé Sauternes, 1983

    Château Rieussec, Premier Cru Classé Sauternes, 1983

    Château Rieussec is a Premier Cru Classé Sauternes which is known for its good value and quality from this exalted appellation.

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

    £59.99

    Out of stock

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