A sweet wine primer

Sweeet wines were the most prized tipple in the 19th century, often costing more then the highly regarded chateaux of Bordeaux. Most regions, depending on the location, over time learnt to create specialty wines with names we might not be familiar with. Those producer’s range, will likely include a sweet wine – meaning not fermented dry, from either white or red grapes. In areas along Europe’s coast, sweet wines often are made by arresting fermentation by adding distilled spirits (fortification). Regardless of the technique, these wines with residual sugar – dessert, sweet, or stickies, can be some of the longest lived wines with highly complex aromatics that surely mesmerize ones senses.

In our selection today, we suggest five easy drinking off dry and sweet wines that can be enjoyed chilled as an aperitif, with savory or spicy dishes, plus of course cheeses and desserts. They are crafted, but do not undergo complex or long processes that can be make them very expensive. Since natural grape sugar remains in these, the wines often have lower alcohol degrees. Below, we describe the wines from easy and fruity to more sweet or complex.

Braida Moscato d’Asti Vigna Senza Nome 2020, Piedmont, Italy

Often called the day-time Champers for its light alcohol, measuring a mere 5.5% ABV; this grapey, juicy and aromatic wine shows frothy orange blossom, rose and musk. Deliciously effervescent. thb 890; special @ thb 750

Domaine Aubuisieres Vouvray Plan de Jean Moelleux 2015, Loire, France

The great food-friendly Chenin Blanc from the Loire still could be more widely known and can be found bone dry, off dry, very sweet or also made into complex Cremants. The Moelleux here describes a wine that “is sweet, soft, tender, smooth and mellow”. Something for on its own, or with Blue and Hard Cheeses, or also moderately spicy or salty dishes. 12% ABV. thb 1,300; special @ thb 1,100

Weiser Kunstler Riesling Trabacher Schlossberg Kabinett 2018, Mosel, Germany

From a warmer side valley off the steep-sloped Mosel landscape is this textured and layered Kabinett wine. In this warmer vintage, the German Kabinetts could be confused with a Spatlese by ripeness and sugar levels. Gorgeously juicy and subtly creamy. 9.5% ABV. thb 1,200; special @ thb 1,000

Hofgut Falkenstein Riesling Spatlese Euchariusberg Kabinett 2018, Saar, Germany

The lightest and most transparent among German Rieslings, this Saar late harvest captures the grape’s slatey minerality with ripe, intense and concentrated aromatic profile. Long lasting flavors, and also a good distance runner for aging to gain complexity. 8.5% ABV. thb 1,400; special @ thb 1,100

Julien Schaal Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru 2017, Alsace, France

The pride and joy of the village of Bergheim is this Altenberg Grand Cru, known and celebrated for greatness since the 12th century. Julien Schaal is well connected to a large estate owner, and can sell organic Riesling and Gewurztraminer for this complex cuvee. 13.5% ABV. thb 1,400; special @ 1,100

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