Sweet wines are making a comeback and Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to pick up a bottle or two and see why some sugar in your vino can be a good thing.
These varieties are excellent treats for dessert and many of them are ideal for pairing with the other V-day essential – chocolate. Whether it’s for Valentine’s Day proper or just because you’re having an impromptu romantic meal here are the top five sweet wines to drink with your sweetheart.
A great place to start on the sweet sale is with Moscato, a type of wine made with Muscat grapes that are popular for their sugars and floral notes. The grape can be grown in many countries, but the best way to educate your palate is with a sweet and sparkling bottle of Italian Moscato d’Asti. The sweetness makes a bottle of this the go-to dessert wine and the light and citrus-spiked flavor means it pairs well with everything from key-lime pies to chocolate to crème brulee.
This white wine has become synonymous with a sweet flavor profile, and most people use the word “sweet” as a polite way to say “bad.” There are actually a lot of dry Rieslings, rife with notes of minerals and acid, but delicious sweeter labels are readily available. These won’t be as sugary as the Moscatos, but you will notice a sweet hit underneath boquets of fruit. If you’re trying to locate a sweet bottle – head to the German section of your wine store as these will be more fruit forward. Try to find a bottle that says “Kabinett” – this way you’ll avoid the cheap stuff and see how sugar brings these labels to the next level.
3. Ice Wine
These labels, traditionally served during dessert, are made with grapes that are frozen on the vine (as you can image, the best varieties of this vino come from the Northern latitudes). The frozen grapes concentrate the sugars, making these some of the sweetest varieties available. They are usually served in a smaller bottle since they are so sugar packed that a single glass will usually do. Canadian winemakers do a lot of great things with frozen grapes, so a good place to start would be with a bottle from Ontario or British Columbia.
This Italian red is ideal for drinkers who are scared of sugar – most labels are a tad sweet without being overly saccharine. While not as bubbly as a glass of Prosecco, there will be some sparkle in the mix. You can drink this during your dessert course (pairs great with cheeses and carrot cake), or have a glass to kick off your meal. The fruity notes and light sugar will get your appetite going without overwhelming your palate and spoiling the first savory course.
Port, a type of fortified red wine made in Portugal, is a good dessert wine for those who want something a little boozier than the typical pour of light-alcoholic white or Prosecco (fortified essentially means that booze has been added). You’ll get notes of blackberries and other fruits, and a good label will be sweet without letting the sugars completely overwhelm the tannins. These are great to pair with dark chocolate.
nybarfly knows his drinks and also where to get the best sauce in Manhattan. Check out his blog site, NYBarfly and his Tablespoon profile — be sure to continue to check Rock UR Party for more tips and suggestions for discovering new bevvies.