Want to discover all about sweet & fruity white wines and buy the best ones for your collection?
If you are not much of a wine drinker, you should try these sweet, fruity-tasting white wines and be labelled an “alcoholic juice drinker”. It is never too late to experiment with your palate.
In this article, we will look at what makes a wine sweet or dry, differences between sweet & fruity wine and the best ones for you to buy Now!
Not a fan of sweet white wine? Don’t worry, we have brought a list of Best Sweet Red Wines for Beginners. Read Now!
When is a Wine called “Sweet”?
Wine can be called sweet depending on the level of residual sugar (RS) that it contains. This is a form of natural sugar (fructose) in grapes which remain intact in the wine after alcoholic fermentation.
It is measured by grams per litre, with 1% of sweetness equivalent to 10 grams per litre of residual sugar.
Yeast converts sugar into alcohol during fermentation. Therefore, more the alcohol in the wine, less the residual sugar.
How do you choose a sweet wine?
A good sweet wine can be indicated by the ABV i.e., Alcohol by Volume level. A wine with an ABV of less than 12.5% will likely be sweet. From Moscato, Rose to Riesling, all have an ABV under 10%.
Factors affecting Sweetness & Taste of White Wine
- Wine Aroma
A wine that smells sweet and ripe is likely to taste sweeter. If a white wine has sweet floral aroma notes, like Moscato smelling of a tropical fruit may taste sweet.
- Wine Acidity
Don’t get confused between acidity and tannin. While acidity is a flavor, tannin is more of a sensation.
Acidity gives wine a sour, crispy and tart taste but that doesn’t mean sweet white wines aren’t acidic. It helps in balancing the sweetness in wines. Sweet German Riesling, for example, has high acidity.
Tannins come from the grape skins, stems and seeds, which are sometimes negligible in white wines. Its presence causes an astringent feeling in your mouth and a bitterness making your lips pucker.
Sweet vs Fruity Wines
If a wine has a predominant taste of a fresh fruit, it is called “fruit forward” and it does not mean the wine is sweet.
It only means that the flavor of the fruit other than the grape is the dominant flavor of the wine. Green Apple and Pineapple, for example, are the taste of unoaked Chardonnay.
However, some aromatic wines like Moscato are considered sweet and fruity both.
Types of Sweet and Fruity White Wines
Sauternes and Barsac-
Originated form the Bordeaux region of France, it is one of the world’s sweetest whites, while Barsac is a little lesser known. Both of these are sweet with tropical notes on the palate. High in sugar content, both of them age really well intensifying their flavors and darkening the color of the wine.
Sauternes and Barsac Wines to Try:
- Chateau d’Yquem ($199-$799)
- Chateau Doisy- Daene ($219)
- Chateau Grillon ($30)
These wines range from dry to sweet. The sweet Riesling wines are a great combination of sweet and acidic, making it perfectly balanced. They are well-known for their mineral flavors giving the drinker a sense of terroir. Fruity flavors in the wine include apples and apricots.
Must Try Riesling Wines:
- Horse Heaven Hills Eroica Ice Wine Riesling ($59.99)
- Eroica Riesling ($17.99)
- Riesling Eiswein ($29.99)
Read our latest blog on Differences between Chardonnay vs Riesling vs Pinot Grigio vs Sauvignon Blanc to choose the best one for you before buying!
Originated from Italy, this sweet wine is made of Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes. Vin Santo wines, often called straw wines, are made of harvested grapes which are dried on straw mats to concentrate the sugar level. They age well.
Vin Santo Must Buys:
- San Giusto a Rentennano Vin Santo ($54.99)
- SantoWines Vin Santo ($30)
- Badia a Coltibuono Vin Santo ($47.99)
Tokaji Aszu or Tokay-
This Hungarian sweet wine comes in varying levels of sweetness. Noble rot affects these grapes, adding additional depth and concentration of flavors. It is the world’s oldest sweet wine and single varietal versions are also made.
- Chateau Megyer Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos ($82.99)
- The Royal Tokaji Wine Company Red Label 5 Puttonyos ($49.99)
- Disznoko Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos ($47.99)
Any white wine grapes can be turned into an Ice Wine. They are made from the grapes left on the vine after the first frost which in turn concentrates the juices making the residual sugar level higher than those harvested before the frost.
Must Try Ice Wines:
- Inskillin Vidal Ice Wine ($119)
- Jackson Triggs Vidal Ice Wine ($39.95)
- Kiona Ice Wine ($79.99)
Late Harvest Wine-
These wines are sweet because the grapes are left on the vine for a longer duration, even after the traditional harvest. This allows the sugars in the grapes to reach higher concentrations but still deliciously sweet.
Late Harvest Wines to Try:
- Hogue Cellars Riesling Late Harvest ($10)
- Far Niete Dolce Late Harvest ($85)
- Jules Taylor Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc ($21.99)
Sweet & Fruity White Wines make a wonderful addition to your collection with a great potential for aging, like Sauternes or a Tokay. Easy to drink and pair with food, these wines are perfect for new drinkers and wine lovers.
Well, if you don't like sweet wines, you can always go for a dry one. Check out our latest blog on Best Dry White Wines of 2021.