Dessert wines are to be indulged in small quantities and drunk in small glasses. The five main types of dessert wines are dessert sparkling wine, richly sweet dessert wine, lightly sweet dessert wine, sweet red wine, and fortified wine.
Dessert wines are, by definition, very sweet. This starts with selecting grapes that are sweeter. Fermentation is stopped before the yeast turns the natural grape sugar into alcohol.
There are several different techniques for obtaining this result. In all the methods, an environment is created in which yeast can’t survive.
Certain grapes are used more often than other varietals for the purpose of having dessert wines, and this comes down to two main reasons. The first reason is a purely historical convention. The other reason is that certain grapes are inherently sweeter than other grapes, making them more appropriate choices.
Sparkling Dessert Wines
The high concentration of acidity in sparkling wine, coupled with the texture of the bubbles make this wine taste less sweet than it really is. Different wines of this kind may have identical levels of sugar, but the aroma can be more or less sweet from one grape to the next and may lead the drinker to find obvious differences.
Richly Sweet Dessert Wines
These are made from premium quality grapes. They can be kept for up to 50+ years. Their sweetness and acidity keep the flavours intact. Late harvest is an example of a richly sweet dessert wine.
Lightly Sweet Dessert Wines
These wines are often enjoyed on hot days. They are meant to be enjoyed at their most fresh, are full of fruit flavours, and pair well with fruity and vanilla-based desserts.
Sweet Red Wines
Sweet red wines are in decline, but the cheaper versions are still popular. These usually come from Italy.
These are formed when grape brandy is added to a wine. It can be dry or sweet. Fortified wines often have a higher alcohol content and have a longer shelf life after opened.