There are thousands of wine types available on the market, so how will you know you’ve picked the right one? Of course, many wine drinkers will tell you they have a red or white preference, but within a red or white category, there are many different types, brands, and variations that can be tasted and enjoyed. Often a wine drinker can get pigeonholed inside of a red or white category and forget to venture into the many other types of wine that exist on the market.
Red wine is notoriously popular with just about anyone, but what about white? It might surprise you that white wine, even sweet white wine, pairs magically with just about all food types! Exploring the different types of white wine and understanding the complexity of sweet with acidic, fruity and smooth, will allow your palate to expand and grow.
This article will educate you on six of the most popular types of sweet white wines and arm you with the most important information you need to know for your next dinner party, wine tasting, or a romantic night out.
What is a sweet white wine?
What is a sweet white wine, and what makes a white wine sweet? Sweetness in a wine or a preference for sweet wine is simply a preference over dry wine, as fruity is on the opposite side of the spectrum from dry. The key to a sweet wine is found in the fermentation process. A grape possesses natural sugars which are converted to yeast during fermentation. A winemaker is able to control the fermentation process, elongate the process or cut it short to derive the type and taste preferred.
Once the fermentation process is stopped, any of the remaining unconverted sugar is either turned into alcohol or will compose as a residual sugar found in wine. A fruity tasting wine will use both the smell or aroma of the wine alongside the taste to create an entire spectrum of taste.
So, when is a white wine sweet? A fruit-forward wine isn’t just about the taste of the fruit, but has as much, if not more, to do with the aromatic properties of the wine. The fermentation process will have a lot to do with the taste, but so will the taste without the use of your nose.
A good tip to find the “true taste” of the wine, is to cut off the nose. Plugging your nose will allow your taste buds to take over and give you a better idea of the sweetness of a wine. A true fruit-forward wine will, of course, taste sweet!
How to tell if a white wine will be sweet
Not everyone wants to dive in and try out a glass of wine before deciding if they like it or not. Thankfully, there are ways to tell if a wine will be sweet without plugging your nose and tasting the wine itself. Types of sweet white wine labels will offer clues as to how the sweet white wine will taste. If you aren’t familiar with sweet white wine types, check out the alcohol content.
Another tip is to look at the short description of the wine label in question. Usually, the label will indicate if the wine is fruit-forward and what the “hints” and “notes” will taste like. You will be able to get a vague idea of the taste. Peach, pear, fruit, apricot, and other sweet fruits are great indications that you are in for a sweeter white wine.
6 types of popular sweet white wine
When in doubt, check out the type of wine. There are six major classifications of sweet white wine, but of course, you will have hundreds of variations of each major type once you get into the thick of white wine decisions. For your convenience (and for a cheat sheet) we have created a sweet white wine list you can objectively refer to the next time you are getting ready to make a sweet white wine purchase.
Oaked chardonnay: most popular
Chardonnay is one of the most popular white wines on the planet which makes it a great start to your white wine journey. Oaked chardonnay is sweeter than most variations of the wine with hints and tones of vanilla due to the aged process in the oak barrel. Rich in flavor, easy to drink, and perfect for any occasion, Oaked chardonnay is the gateway to all sweet wine.
Unoaked chardonnay: fruity and sweet
Oaked chardonnay, not your thing? No problem. You can pick up a bottle of unoaked chardonnay which has been aged stainless steel or neutral oak to get the same fruity, sweet taste of the wine without the vanilla, woody tastes. So, if the chardonnay doesn’t taste oaky, what does it taste like?
In short, an unoaked Chardonnay will taste buttery and smooth with hints of green apple, lemon, and even super fruity tastes like pineapple and pear.
Sauvignon blanc: light wine
Moving on to the sweeter, more summery wines lives the fruity, light sauvignon blanc. This French-born wine has moved from its birthplace to areas in New Zealand where the taste has morphed to a sweet and zesty version of the original. Oddly, descriptions of this wine range from fresh-cut grass to hints of lemonade.
Pinot grigio: perfect palate refresher
Pinot grigio, not to be confused with pinot noir, is the most popular Italian wine and for good reason. Pinot grigio wines are super sweet and light at the same time. Many popular taste descriptions for a pinot grigio include lime, lemon, green apple, and crisp apricot. Perfect with shrimp, fish, and other seafood, this light, crisp wine is a perfect palate refresher at a wine tasting or during a meal.
Riesling: dry and sweet
Dry and sweet riesling are vastly different in their notes and tones, but they are similar as they are both classified as a sweeter wine. Before you open the bottle you will want to know the forward tones and notes of the wine include: lemon, lime, strawberry, pineapple, apricot, and even cotton candy.
Sparkling wines: fun and flirty drinks
Sparkling wine or fizzy wines include Moscato, Champagne, and even some Mostato. These refreshing and tasty wines are sweet and can even be dry at the same time. Fruit forward like its sister sweet wines, these fun, flirty drinks are perfect for summer days, picnics, celebrations, and even with your favorite meal.
Interested in having a glass of sweet wine? Look no further, Castello Del Poggio has the best sweet wines on the market that are perfect for your next celebration or occasion. Browse through our wines or more articles about the types of wine we provide for our customers across the world.