Sweet Red Wine:
Not Just For Dessert Anymore

There are several types of sweet red wine. Choosing which you want to have depends on when you want to drink it.

There are some that are great on a hot summer's day with lunch or dinner. Others are terrific as an introductory type of red wine. Still, there are more that are great dessert wines. 

You will find out about all of these (plus more!) here.

sweet red wine, amarone wine, types of sweet red wine

My Two Favorite Sweet Red Wines

My absolute favorite sweet red wines are perfect to enjoy with or without a meal. The first is Beaujolais, which is a French wine made from this year's grape crop. It is an early wine and is highly anticipated every year in Burgundy. It is a light and fruity wine that will pair well with chicken, pork, veal, salads or even white fish.

My second favorite sweet red is Amarone. Amarone is an Italian wine that pairs nicely with hard cheese like Parmesan, pasta or red meats. Basically, any Italian-style dish would pair very nicely with Amarone.

Other Sweet Red Wine I Recommend

I also enjoy Red Moscato by Beringer Vineyards. This is a fruity wine that has a wonderful flavor of cherries. You could drink this wine with a light meal or by itself.

Other sweet wines I recommend are:

  • Barefoot Sweet Red
  • Gallo Sweet Red
  • Black Oak Sweet Red
  • Liberty Creek Sweet Red
  • Oak Leaf Sweet Red

You can find all of these delicious wines for under $15. These can all be enjoyed with or without a meal. Try them with chicken, veal or salads.  

There are only two I would caution on chilling too much: Amarone and Beaujolais. These are the least sweet of all these wines. 

Find out what the best serving temperature for sweet red wine is here.

To Chill Or Not To Chill?

Just make sure that when you try these wines that you chill them first.  It may seem strange to chill red wine, but these are just fine to put in the refrigerator and enjoy as chilled as a white wine.

Remember, they are sweet just like some white wines, so they taste great at the same temperature.

Dessert Wines

Ice Wine

Ice wine (also called Eiswein - same pronunciation) is made from grapes that are left on the vine into the winter.

The grapes are picked and pressed while frozen, and make a terrific sweet wine that is perfect for dessert.

You can drink this by itself, or use it as a syrup. It tastes great as an extra treat on ice cream.

Fortified Wines

Fortified wines are sweet wines that have brandy or grape spirit added to them.

These wines stay sweet because the added alcohol incapacitates the yeast, leaving unfermented sugar in the wine.

These wines were very popular for many years in the United States after Prohibition.

Here's a list of sweet wines in this category:

  • Madeira, my personal favorite, and the favorite of George Washington
  • Marsala, which has a nice nutty flavor
  • Sherry
  • Port

How Sweet Wine Is Made

Some red sweet wine is made by adding grape juice to the wine. This, like with fortified wines, overwhelms the yeast and leaves the wine nice and sweet.

There are various methods to made fortified wines. Sherry is made by adding the brandy after fermentation and goes through a special aging process.

Madeira is made by adding the fortification during fermentation.

Tawny and wood ports are aged in barrels for many years, just like regular red wine. These however, are ready to drink when they are sold.

Vintage ports age for a shorter time period and finish their aging process in the bottle.


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