For those just starting their wine journey, it can be a challenge to find wines that suit their palate. From light and fruity to rich dessert wines that are perfect for sipping, there are many styles of sweet wine that new wine drinkers can enjoy.
Sweet wines are fun, diverse and often under-appreciated. From light moscato d’Asti and White Zinfandel to off-dry Riesling, Vin Doux Naturel, Demi-Sec and Doux Champagne, Port and Sauternes, these fun wines will delight new wine drinkers with their bold fruit flavor that can be enjoyed on its own or paired with a wide range of dishes.
Moscato is a popular sweet white wine for beginners that is undoubtedly the sweetest of all sweet wine styles. Typically made from muscat grapes, moscato can be produced in a variety of different ways such as still moscato d’Asti, dessert moscato and moscato d’Asti spumante (semi-sparkling). These wines tend to have a low alcohol content and light flavors that are often flavored with apricots, peaches, orange blossom and other fruits. These wines pair well with spicy foods, Asian cuisines and a wide range of desserts.
One of the best sweet wines for beginners is Dornfelder. A rare wine from the Alpine regions of Italy and Germany, this light-bodied schiava wine is described as tasting like cotton candy. Its distinctive deep red hue and berry fruit flavors make it a delicious sweet wine that can be sipped on its own or paired with grilled meats and other hearty dishes.
Riesling is another wine that can be both dry and sweet, so it’s important to check the label when purchasing a bottle. If you’re looking for a sweet Riesling, look for the words “late harvest” on the bottle to ensure you are getting a true sweet wine. Riesling is a very versatile wine that can be enjoyed with a wide array of dishes and pairs exceptionally well with spicy, salty and creamy foods.
Lambrusco Salamino is an ancient native Italian grape that can be both dry and sweet. Generally, this wine is served in a frizzante or semi-sparkling style and can have flavors of violets and cherries. Its bold, deeply colored structure and floral aromas pair well with hearty dishes such as burgers and Tokyo-style ramen.
Sauternes is a full-bodied, late harvest sweet white wine from the Bordeaux region of France. These wines are typically crafted using grapes that have been affected by noble rot, a type of fungus that shrivels the wine grapes and concentrates their sugars to create a sweet, delicate and complex flavor. Sauternes has a unique taste that pairs well with bold cheeses, tropical fruits and sweet desserts.
Another popular sweet wine for beginners is Ice Wine. This dessert wine is made in cold climates such as Germany and Canada using a unique process where the grapes are frozen before being crushed and fermented. These wines have a high concentration of sugar and typically contain intense flavors of citrus, honey and stone fruits.