Sweet red wine is ultimately produced when the residual sugar in the wine is high. Residual sugars are defined as the remaining sugar in the wine after final fermentation. There are few traditional red wines that are considered sweet.
Most of the time, this type of wine is just fruitier and lighter. Sweet wine can be made from grapes that are attacked by noble rot. This is a fungus that leaves the grapes high in sugar and fruit flavors. These grapes are referred to as Botrytis affected grapes.
List of Sweet Red Wines:
Young wines like the Beaujolais tend to be lighter and fruitier and therefore sweeter than other red wines. Beaujolais wines tend to be favored by red wine drinkers that prefer a lighter wine that can be enjoyed during the day or without food.
Late Harvest wines are made from grapes that are left on the vines into the late autumn season. The grapes are then allowed to dry in the sun and ripen to their fullest. Late Harvest wines tend to have deep fruit flavors and therefore a sweeter taste. Look for "Late Harvest" on the label.
Fortified Wines like Port are produced when brandy is added to the wine during fermentation. This will kill the yeast that normally breaks down the sugars in the wine making process, resulting in a high sugar and alcohol content wine. The sweetest of any type of red wine are the Ports.
Port wines and Late Harvest Wines are considered by many to be the best sweet wine and are also referred to as: dessert red wines.
Remember when serving these wines they are to be served with sweet foods. The wine should be at least as sweet as the food served. To learn more about food and wines please visit our wine and food pairing page
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