SPLENDOR IN THE GLASS: There is always room for dessert | Glade Sun

In today’s health-conscious age of sugar-free this, fat-free that, low carb, keto, vegan diets and

In today’s health-conscious age of sugar-free this, fat-free that, low carb, keto, vegan diets and living, who wants such a sweet wine that can send your insulin levels through the roof? 

It would seem to signal the death of sweet wines. 

Hold your horses — not so fast. 

There is a time and place for dessert wine, and they can be more versatile than you might realize. 

Let’s talk dessert wines.

In its broadest sense, a dessert wine can be any wine that is enjoyed before, during, or as a dessert. 

More specifically, des-

sert wine is usually sweet with more flavor and lower alcohol content (around 10%). 

Unless it has been fortified with cognac or brandy, then it will be higher, as much as 20% ABV. 

When describing sweetness in wine, I’m talking about the amount of residual sugar that remains after fermentation. 

The more residual sugar there is, the sweeter the wine; the less sugar there is, the drier the wine.

Winemakers produce dessert wines in a number of ways. 

It can be produced by stopping the fermentation process early on so that the yeast doesn’t eat all the sugar and turn it into alcohol. 

It could be made with late-harvest grapes that have been left on the vine much longer, so they can raisinate and their sugar content increases. 

Sometimes sweet wine is made by adding sugar, or a simple syrup, but that is illegal in most regions and strictly regulated. 

If you want sweet wine, then sweet you shall have. 

When reading wine la-

bels, look for the words Dolce, Dulce or Doux Moelleux. 

If you don’t want a full-blown sugar bomb, try wines that have just a touch of sweetness. 

Look for the words Amabile, Semi Dry, Demi Sec, Semi Secco.    

Here are a few dessert wines worth looking into. 

Port: A fortified wine

from Portugal, it ranges in styles from rich reds to dry white and dry rosé variations. 

Red tawny port and ruby port are excellent when paired with chocolate cake, chocolate truffles or salted caramel desserts. 

Madeira: Another fortified wine from Portugal’s Madeira islands, it is loved for its nutty, brown sugar, and burnt caramel notes. 

Enjoy darker, older, sweeter versions of this amber-hued wine on its own

after a meal or sip alongside desserts such as toffee pudding, tiramisu or spicy

desserts like chocolate truffles.

Sauternes: A coveted white (and expensive) sweet wine from France’s Sauternais region, it is prized for its honeyed notes of apricot, peach, butterscotch and caramel. 

Sauternes is one of the “noble rot wines” made from grapes affected by the botrytis cinerea fungus. 

I know, it sounds gross, but this fungus consumes the moisture and leaves the sugar that intensifies the grapes sweetness, adding a honeyed flavor and aromatic character. 

Sauternes is delicious with fresh and dried fruit as well as richer desserts like crème brûlée, cheesecake and custards. 

Sherry: Hails from Spain. Although sherry is often enjoyed as an aperitif before a meal, give it a try when you’re winding down after

a scrumptious feast; it has been known to settle the stomach. 

Rich, dark and sweet dessert sherries like Pedro Ximénez, my favorite, are perfect complements for creme brulee, anything chocolate, or on their own. 

Tokaji Aszu wine from Hungary and Eiswein in Germany are special types of wines that comes from grapes that were frozen on the vine before harvesting. 

For that reason, this dessert wine can only be made in cold climates. 

It’s also why it’s a fairly pricey wine at $50 for a half bottle.

Available in both red and white grape varieties, consider pairing the red version with chocolate desserts and the white variety with cheesecake. 

I’ve enjoyed many Eiswiens, but only a few Tokaji.

Now that you know a little more about dessert wine, it’s time to apply that knowledge to some real-world situations. 

Like any other category of wine, dessert wines encompass a variety of flavors qualities and prices. 

Even though there are plenty of “rules” thrown around when it comes to drinking wine, the bottom line is, there are no rules. 

If you want a sparkling Brut or crisp rosé with those Funfetti cupcakes you just pulled out of the oven, then, by all means, go for it. 

Who knows? You might like it. 

It’s all about trying new things, having the experience, memories and finding out for yourself. 

That’s the beauty of

wine.  However you drink it, red, white, dry or sweet, wine is one simple plea-

sure that helps everything in life go down just a little easier.

Happy Drinking,

Chris