Wine Talk

Snooth User: bozy

Is there a such thing as a sweet red wine?

Posted by bozy, Dec 25, 2009.

I have started to drink red wine... Is there such a thing as a sweet red wine?

Replies

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Reply by mousking1, Dec 25, 2009.

yes. the two i know of off the top of my head are lambrusco, and vermentino.

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Reply by GregT, Dec 26, 2009.

Many many many. Why wouldn't there be?

Port is one that comes to mind. Banyuls maybe. In Malaga and other parts of Spain there are sweet wines made from grapes like monastrell and garnacha. In eastern Europe, for example Georgia, there is a long tradition of sweet reds, and also they are made in Greece.

You can make a late harvest wine from pretty much any grapes, and I have some late harvest cabernet sauvignon from Napa in CA, also wines like Ca Togni, made from black muscat, come to mind, as several winemakers use this grape. There are any number of late harvest zinfandels and other grapes - Ridge for example, makes Essence, which is a petite sirah sweet wine. Then you can find sweet cabernet franc from a few people in Canada.

Italy has several, from Brachetto mentioned above, to Aleatico in Tuscany and sometimes Amarone, although those are usually fermented dry. Anyhow, those are a few to start you.

Remember - do not confuse "fruity" with "sweet". We tend to associate them but you can taste a wine that reminds you of cherries and blackberries but has next to no sugar. Fruity wines might include any number from hot climates like Barossa Valley in Australia, the South Rhone in France, or parts of California or southern Spain. But those wines may not be sweet in the sense of having much sugar. You said sweet, so most of the wines I've mentioned are in fact sweet, not simply fruity, although usually they are both.

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Reply by bozy, Dec 26, 2009.

thanks! great information!

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Reply by Laurapal, Dec 26, 2009.

From Italy there are some great late harvest red wines (passito - the grapes are allowed to partially dry before fermentation). As well as the Aleatico that Greg mentions, you could try Recioto della Valpolicella DOC or Sagrantino DOCG Passito. These are red dessert wines and are quite something!

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Reply by dmcker, Dec 26, 2009.

One distinction that needs to be made, perhaps, is whether you're talking about off-dry table wines, or rather dessert wines. Another distinction might be between fortified (brandy or similar liquor added to stop fermentation and retain sugar, while concomitantly upping the alcohol content) and unfortified wines. If you're looking for fortified wines, then there're ports and madeiras (that one's more brownish) from Portugal, Banyuls from France, oloroso and similar sherries from Spain (also brown rather than red), marsalas (brownish), and vin santos from Italy (some stunning vin santo made in Tuscany from sangiovese). An interesting twist on a vin santo style is the Samos Nectar from over in Greece, though it's not fortified and is more coffee colored (it's made from sundried muscat grapes). Greg can talk about options from Hungary, though I think you've got quite a bit to go on already... ;-)

Oh yeah, and there are even off-dry red sparkling wines from Italy and elsewhere....

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Reply by dmcker, Dec 26, 2009.

Sorry I had to run while in the middle of writing the last post, but am back for a moment so can flesh that last part out a little. What I meant was that yet another distinction to make was between sweet red still wines and sweet red sparklers, several of which are from Italy. Some Lambrusco are sparklers, as are the brachetto d'acqui already mentioned. Fragolino sparklers are also very sweet, with distinctive strawberry-like flavors.

If you are looking for sparkling wine that's sweet, and they are using French terminology, what you want is not Brut, but Sec or Demi-sec or Doux. Of course there are a lot of rose sparklers, so if you're interested you should look for those having these names attached.

Finally, you might also try a sparkling shiraz from Australia, some of which are sweet.

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Reply by amour, Dec 29, 2009.

You may see the words ....LATE HARVEST.
THIS MEANS SWEET. The grapes are allowed to remain on the vines longer than usual. And so the sugar buids up and is concentrated.

There is the GERMAN LATE HARVEST RIESLING...TROCKEN BEER EN AUS LESE....
(I broke it up for you !).
There is also MUSCAT.

Of course...there is the KING.....FRENCH SAUTERNES.....CHATEAU d'YQUEM ($200.
per bottle)
There is HUNGARIAN TOKAJI......FANTASTIC hard to find...I BUY IT IN LONDON, ENGLAND.
Once had a wine in TENNESEE, USA called SONATA....IT WAS LIKE PORT....(SYRAH GRAPES) ...thick and sweet......from BEACHAVEN VINEYARDS,TN.
And of couse you can find a ten dollar FRENCH...that is sweet.....GUIGAL COTES DU RHONE (red) 2005...SYRAH AND GRENACHE 50% each....VELVETY and BERRYFRUIT SWEET....QUITE A DELIGHT AT THAT LOW PRICE, I DARE SAY....

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Reply by madmanny, Dec 29, 2009.

manischewitz

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Reply by amour, Dec 29, 2009.

I do apologise for taking the liberty to pronounce on WHITE WINE SWEET when you specifically "ruled" RED.
I WILL RECONVENE ON REDS / SWEET !

Meanwhile, try that GUIGAL COTES du RHONE.....RED, of course....

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Reply by kiprosopia, Dec 29, 2009.

Commandaria is another legendary wine to be recommended. An amber-coloured dessert wine, it is know to be produced in the island of Cyprus since 4000 years ago. Produced by local Cyprus grapes mavro (black) and xinisteri (a fruity white grape), initial references about Commandaria date back to ancient Greek poet Homer who mentions a sweet wine produced in Cyprus. The most legendary of expressions date from Richard Lionheart while bewedding Berengaria, in the 12th century, who pronounced that Commandaria was the “wine of the kings and the king of the wines”.

Commandaria gets its name from the Gran Commanderie, an area surrounding the well preserved Kolossi Castle which is located west of Limassol - an emerging area in Cyprus for producing special wines.

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Dec 30, 2009.

All of the above is great info, just so long as you have reasonable expectations for what "sweet" will mean in a wine, particularly a red. You won't find any red that will be the kind of sweet that a riesling might offer up, for example.

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Reply by dmcker, Dec 30, 2009.

Can you explain your point a bit further, Vegas?

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Reply by fibo86, Dec 30, 2009.

I think I'll have to disagree with you Vegas as the sweet red wines from Brown Brothers can have the same amount of residual sugars as some of the sweeter style Rieslings but don't go as far as a sticky or as cloying as some Muscats. The last wine in the Brown brothers wine list is least sweet of the list.
As recommended as well there are some lovely sweet styles coming from Cyprus but from memory they are native and other than the prefix Mavro I can't remember the rest of the spelling of them.. Sorry.

Red- all must be chilled
http://www.snooth.com/wine/brown-br...
http://www.snooth.com/wine/brown-br...
http://www.snooth.com/wine/brown-br...

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Reply by Adam Levin, Dec 30, 2009.

I'm not sure what price range you're looking in, but if you're looking in the inexpensive range, Sutter Home Winery makes a wine called "Red" that's a sweet red table wine that should be served cold. This wine will probably be sweeter than the many of the others mentioned above.

Disclaimer: I work for Sutter Home, so obviously this wine comes to mind, but thought it would be appropriate to mention here.

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Dec 30, 2009.

My point was just that the "sweet" characteristics in sweeter white wines are not the same qualities that will make a red wine sweet. It's rather like apples and oranges. Of course we can offer up late harvest zins and ports and other fortified reds, or just the softer reds like lambrusco, some pinot noirs, beaujolais, etc. I just think the originator of this post will have to try and explore the suggestions. I personally think that there really aren't any reds that are the type of "sweet" implied, but I might be misjudging the meaning also.

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Reply by dmcker, Dec 30, 2009.

You're still not being clear on the qualities you are supposedly discussing, Vegas. Are you talking about differences between varietals, acidity profiles, retained sugar, specific hints of other fruits, other aspects of the aroma and flavor profiles or....? Have you had many of the wines discussed above? If you're thinking of the 'sweetness' (vs. fruitiness as GregT discusses above) in pinot noir and gamay beaujolais, then that's not what I and many others above were discussing.

Regardless, Happy New Year. I hope 2010 is good for you and any others who read this. May all our wines (and the rest of our experiences) be delicious ones! ;-)

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Dec 30, 2009.

I wasn't getting that in depth with wine terms, just using "sweet" as its own descriptor. Asti is a "sweet" sparkling wine. In terms of that definition of sweet, I was merely pointing out that no red will have that same "sweetness". Perhaps a Brachetto d'aqui or something might, but it'd still not be as "sweet". I was just trying to set a benchmark for what the originator of the post meant by "sweet".

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Reply by dmcker, Dec 30, 2009.

You're still vague with that word 'sweet' if you want to say there are no reds that are that sweet. Can't set a 'benchmark' that way, nor be all that persuasive for that matter. If you were to try all the reds (and 'browns') I mention higher in this thread you might be surprised.

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Reply by VegasOenophile, Dec 31, 2009.

True, some reds are sweeter than other reds. My point was that there really exist no reds that I have encountered that are the same sweetness as a sweet white wine, save fortified wines or the like.

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Reply by fibo86, Jan 1, 2010.

Sorry sunshine, but I wouldn't put a Pinot or Beaujolais as sweet red I might put them in with fruity red but certainly not sweet. I recommend you try the Brown Brothers wines I mentioned above as (i would say) they can be as sweet as an Asti and even as sweet as a Traminer but they aren't fortifieds.

If you have the opportunity please let me know what you thought?


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