Roses, chocolate and dessert wineâ€¦what could be sweeter?Â In the wine world, dessert wines are the sweetest style of wine made around the world and are a real treat!
So, what exactly are dessert wines?Â Dessert wines, as the name suggests, are very rich and sweet wines that most often have gone through a special step in the winemaking process.Â There are three main styles of specialty dessert wines that are available: Late Harvest, Beerenauslese (Botrytis), and Ice Wine.
Late Harvest wines are a lighter style of dessert wine. Â The grapes that are used for Late Harvest wines are left on the vines longer than a typical wine.Â This additional time on the vine allow the grapes to ripen more and develop richer flavors and aromas.Â As the grapes ripen, the sugar content (referred to as residual sugar) of the grape increase.Â
Beerenauslese or Botrytis wines take Late Harvest wines a step further.Â Grapes selected for Botrytis wines are left on the vine even longer for maximum sweetness and complexity.Â The grapes are left on the vine until they become so overripe that they essentially begin to rot andÂ develop a â€œnoble mold.â€ Â Grapes are then hand selected and hand picked to produce a very rich and sweet style of wine.
Ice Wine is one of the most sought after dessert wines in the world.Â Grapes for Ice wines are left on the wines even later in the season than Botrytis winesâ€¦until the grapes actually become frozen on the vines.Â Ice wines are one of the most difficult wines to produce because the winemaker has to rely on nature to freeze the grapes before they rot on the vines.Â For Ice wines, the winemaker does not want the grapes to enter a state of Botrytis.Â Ice wines have a level of sweetness similar to Botrytis wines.
Botrytis and Ice Wines tend to be fairly expensive because it takes twice as many grapes to produce these wines and because of the special circumstances required to produce these wines.
Here are a few selections that would be great served with dessert or even served as a dessert course:
RENWOOD ORANGE MOSCATO:Â Renwood Orange Moscato is a lighter style dessert wine with flavors of melon, papaya and honey.Â This sweet Moscato would be delicious paired with cheesecake.
LA JOYA LATE HARVEST GEWURZTRAMINER:Â La Joya has the sweet flavor expected of a late harvest wine, but the Gewurztraminer grape adds a lighter, crisp finish.Â The floral aromas lead you to sweet flavors of peach and hazelnut.Â Try with a variety of fresh fruits.
DEINHARD BEERENAUSLESE RIESLING:Â Deinhard Beerenauslese is loaded with velvety, smooth sweetness and flavors of apricot, pear and red apples.Â Pairs best with and dark chocolate or any rich chocolate desserts.
COVEY RUN SEMILLON ICE WINE:Â Covey Run in Washington is home to one of theÂ tastiest Ice Wines produced in the United States.Â Rich flavors of honey, peach and sweet pineapple.Â Best served with cream-based pastries or CrÃ¨me Brulee.Â This wine is perfect served all by itself for dessert!