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There are different methods to elaborate sweet wines, although the most usual is the elaboration from the partially dried grapes (which have higher sugar volume). In order to maintain residual sugar, the winemaker don’t let these grapes finish completely the fermentation process and then add wine based alcohol to compensate the alcohol lose produced during the fermentation process.
How can the grapes have more sugar concentration? For the grapes to have more sugar, there are different procedures: 1) the grapes can be dried in the sun (like most Pedro Ximenez sweet wines); 2) the grapes are picked up once they have started to dry (the so called late-harvest grapes); 3) the vineyards are infected with the bacteria Botrytis Cinerea -as done with Tojak and Sauternes wines-; 4) the grapes are freezed so that the water crystallize and be removed before fermentation (resulting in what we know as ice wines).
The most common grapes for sweet wines are the white Chenin, the Gewürztraminer, the Pedro Ximenez, the Malvasia and the Moscatel. Red sweet wines are usually made from the Syrah, the Grenache and the Tempranillo.
Sweet wines are usually paired with desserts, chocolate, hard-cheeses or foie.
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