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Snooth User: w8ng2exhale

The Sweetest of the Sweet...

Posted by w8ng2exhale, Sep 5, 2009.

I have decided to learn about wines specifically because I was tired of going to restaurants and just picking "whatever everyone else picked". My brother, who had been a bartender for over 15 years told me to figure out what grape I liked and then sent me a video y John Cleese called "Wine for the Confused". :) After watching that video, I learned that my palate LOVES sweet wines. My brother then instructed me to learn about the type of grape I liked and after doing some reading (and a it of tastetesting! LOL) I learned that the Moscat grape seems to be where I should start.

The issue is....some of the moscat (or moscato) wines I have had have not really been "sweet" per say. Can anyone start me with the sweetest of the sweet wines and then I can go from there? Any suggestions?

NOTE: I have read about Icewines. Should I start with them?

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Reply by schellbe, Sep 6, 2009.

On the last note first, should you start with Icewines.... That depends on the size of your wallet. Dessert wines tend to quite expensive. Icewines in particular are made from grapes frozen on the vine in late season. You may be able to find a couple of inexpensive ones, but most will cost above $20 per half bottle. Generally, if you find a Muscat based wine in a half bottle (375 ml) it will be sweet, even if not an icewine. I believe Australia has some. Ask your merchant if in doubt.

You can also try Moscato d'Asti from the Piedmont region of Italy. This costs from ten to twenty dollars per bottle, and is moderately sweet and very low alcohol.

Try a half bottle of a Muscat dessert wine, or a (lighter) Moscato d'Asti, and see if you like them.

Muscat is a less common varietal than some others, such as Riesling, so eventually you might want to consider those. Generally the half bottles of Riesling are sweet, but ask your merchant if in doubt.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Sep 6, 2009.

I'll second schellbe's recommendation of Riesling.

And it's fairly easy to find the sweeter ones if you stick with German wines.

German wines include the level of ripeness on their labels. This does not mean the finished wines necessarily are sweeter but there are easy way to find out.

First off if a bottle says Trocken on the label it's going to be a dry wine, Trocken is German for dry.

Halb-trocken, or less commonly Feinherb, will mean that the wine is half dry, it will probably still seem dry to someone looking for a sweet wines though.

The German ripeness scale begins with the least ripe

Kabinett - lightly sweet

and goes to
Spatlese - noticeably sweet
Auslese - decidedly sweet

and then the dessert level
and Eiswein - Icewine

You can find something labelled as Spatlese Trocken for example but as a general rule:
Auslese is sweeter than Spatlese, and Spatlese is sweeter than Kabinett.

there is another group of lower priced wines that are generally labeled with proprietary names, "L" or "Dragonstone" come to mind, that tend to fall about midway between Kabinett and Spatlese sweetness.

As I said these are very rough guidelines but one way to further narrow your search is by checking the alcoholic content of the wine. The higher the alcohol the less sugar remained unfermented, so the drier the finished wine.

That should get you started on finding the right sweetness level for you!

Reply by basilwino, Sep 15, 2009.

Ice wines are going to be an expensive start. I would start with "Late Harvest" Rieslins from Washington State or Oregon. They are inexpensive, somewhat complex and Sweet. Once they become too sweet for you (that'll probably happen) then you can tone it down a notch and pick up some other flavors while still remaining on the sweet side. You might enjoy the Moscato d' Asti later.

Reply by amour, Jan 20, 2010.



Reply by dirkwdeyoung, Jan 20, 2010.

The sweetest most opulent white wine that I know is Sauternes, from France, it is quite expensive. It is also the most laborious to produce. It requires 7 vines to produce one bottle and the vines are picked at least three times in order to maximize the sugars. The most famous is Chateau d'Yquem. The grapes are late picked which allows the development of the pouriture noble, the noble "rot" which further develops the flavors.

It is funny to most people that these are known as dessert wines, because if combined with a modern dessert full of sweet chocolate and cream, etc. the result is quite sickening, but in olden days a fruit pie or tart, etc. was prepared only with the natural sugars of the fruit and the dessert was sweetened by the wine, refined sugar being very rare.

My preference for drinking of sweet white wine is Jurancon. Produced in the hills around the Pyrénées-Atlantiques region of France, it has a delightful sweetness that is not overstated and a charming complexity of flavor that is bound to please. I am looking forward to your remarks after trying.

My Snooth friends who know me a little also know that I am a huge fan of Muscat de Rivesaltes from far southeast of France off the Med. coast, this is the French version of your Moscato wines I believe. I just love it. cheers, Dirk

Reply by amour, Jan 21, 2010.

If you so love a must get hold
of the JURANCON made by the late DIDIER DAGUENEAU
at the foot at the PYRENEES...LES JARDON de BABYLONE
(so delicious), but almost impossible to find.
His son is carrying on the winery .

Reply by amour, Jan 21, 2010.


Reply by Gantt Hickman, Jan 21, 2010.

Definitely a Riesling in this matter...

But I must ask my fellow Snoothers. Would you not consider trying Guwurztraminer? To me it can be a pretty sweet wine, but I also like dry. That might be what shapes my opinion.

Forgive me if I overlooked this being talked about above.


Reply by dirkwdeyoung, Jan 21, 2010.

Amour, mmm, that sounds good, I will keep my eyes open :)

Reply by Uwe Kristen, Jan 21, 2010.

You should not start with an ice wine, unless you are rich. As pointed out above, it's a very labor-intensive wine and therefore must be expensive - unless the grapes were picked much earlier in the year and put in the freezer (which is sometimes done in the New World). It's technically an ice wine, but a far cry from the real thing.

I would recommend a German Spätlese Riesling to start with. Pick a good producer (see Snooth tasting notes) and look out for the alcohol level. If it's between 8-9% then the wine will be sweet (the lower the alcohol, the more residual sugar from the fruit is left in the wine). If you happen to like that wine, try an Auslese from the same producer (Auslese will be more expensive, but worth the money if you liked the sweet Spätlese.

Also, I encourage you to join the Riesling group here in on Snooth.

And please share your experience with The Sweet.


Reply by amour, Jan 23, 2010.

2008 Late Harvest Vidal .......has the monarch butterfly on the bottle!
Pelee Island Winery (Canada)

sweet, honey-rich, apricot flavoured, dessert wine....


Reply by amour, Jan 23, 2010.

Pelee Island Winery is fantastic!
Their icewines are super.
Let me know if you taste them!

Reply by napagirl68, Jan 23, 2010.

Some of my favorite california Muscats are from Amador county:
Shenandoah Vineyards 2008 Orange Muscat
Shenandoah Vineyards 2008 Black Muscat (Wonderful.. like violets!)
(these are considered dessert wines, so very sweet!) I sometimes mix them with Champagne.

Deaver Vineyards (amador county, ca) Barbera Port is yum, yum too.

Was also thinking you might like Malvasia Bianca.. maybe try a 2008 Birichino Monterey Malvasia Bianca (monterey, ca).

You can get these wines online through the wineries directly, or a third party shop like

Lets us know what you discover!

Reply by amour, Jan 23, 2010.

Sounds interesting, napagirl68.
Thanks for sharing.
I would like to try Barbera Port.
Is it widely available across USA?

Thank you. Cheers !

Reply by napagirl68, Jan 24, 2010.

@amour- No, i think not. It seems to be a california thing.... many of these varietals we discuss on here as "rare" or uncommon are quite easily found in California (but not outside of CA). You have to contact the winery directly via the website I posted and order it. Almost all wineries here in CA will do it.. and hopefully you live in a state to which they can legally ship. I think you would really like it!!!

Reply by amour, Jan 25, 2010.


Reply by amour, Jan 27, 2010.

How about what Obama served at the White House Governor's Dinner.
This is an ice wine from Michigan's BLACK STAR FARMS and it
is called.......Capella Riesling and costs $80. for a half bottle.

Check it out !
Thank you.

Reply by queendom, Jan 27, 2010.

I love a good riesling. Pacific Rim has a variety, and it's great for about $12-$15 a bottle.

Reply by amour, Jan 27, 2010.

I know a bit about PACIFIC RIM.
Thanks for the cost-effective reminder queendom.

Reply by queendom, Jan 28, 2010.

@napagirl. I never thought about blending dessert wine with champagne...I think I wanna try that.

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