Sweet wines are dessert wines. Characteristic for all dessert wines is the residual sweetness in the taste. During fermentation in the wine cellar, a large part of the sugar is converted into alcohol. If the residual sugar is still contained in the taste of the wine, it is referred to as off-dry, semi-dry or sweet wines. Very sweet wines with high residual sugar are sweet wines such as Beerenauslesen and Trockenbeerenauslesen.
Different processes are used to produce high-quality sweet wines:
On the one hand, there are fortified wines such as sherry and port, in which the fermentation of the must is stopped by adding high-proof alcohol and the unfermented residual sugar remains in the dessert wine. These wines harmonize wonderfully with intense desserts or with spicy cheeses.
On the other hand, there are naturally sweet wines whose sweet taste results from unfermented fruit sugar without the addition of alcohol. For these dessert wines, the ripeness of the grapes plays a fundamental role. Due to different production methods, there are sweet wines with very different aromas and degrees of sweetness. The residual sugar content can vary between about twenty grams and several hundred grams per liter.