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Sweet Red Wine: What Is It And Some Popular Types

Red wine comes in all sorts of different styles and flavors, but sweet red wine is one that often surprises people. What exactly is sweet red wine and where does it come from? In this blog post, we will explore sweet red wine in more detail and take a look at some popular types. We will also discuss sparkling wines, which are a type of sweet red wine that many people enjoy!

How Is Sweet Red Wine Made?

Sweet red wine may be produced in a variety of ways.

Winemakers may sometimes purposefully kill the yeast in wine to stop the fermentation process. This implies that the yeast cannot convert all of the grape’s natural sugars into alcohol, resulting in a wine with more residual sugar and a sweeter taste.

Winemakers use fermentation to turn unfermented wine into sparkling red. Winemakers add a sugary wine combination (known as a dosage) to the wine during this stage, boosting the sugar level and giving it its sparkle.

Sweet red wines may be produced utilizing noble rot or botrytis. Noble rot is a fungus, but winemakers can utilize it by piercing the grapes’ skin, resulting in the water within the grape evaporating. This indicates that the grape juice contains more sugar, which is why it is sweeter.

Sweet red and sweet white wines are produced in much the same way. The main distinction is that red sweet wine contains the grape skins. The grape skins in this wine give it its deep crimson color as well as tannins and other complex tastes.

Sweet Red Wines That Sparkle

Sparkling red wines are far less popular than white varieties — even the most diehard wine enthusiasts may not have ever had a glass of sparkling red bubbles. 

Sweet sparkling red wines, while no longer as popular as they once were, are still quite delicious and ideal for an alfresco dinner party.

Let’s have a look at some of our favorites.

Lambrusco

Sweetness varies widely across the different types of Italian sparkling red wines. There are many different sweetness styles available; from extremely dry to very sweet. Look for “dulce” or “semi-seco,” which translates to sweet and semi-dry in Italian, if you’re looking for a nice sweet wine.

  • Tasting notes: blueberry, sweet cherry, red fruit, violet
  • ABV: Lambrusco is a great choice for those watching their alcohol intake; it comes in at about 10-12%.
  • Acidity: Medium-High
  • Tannins: Low-Medium

Brachetto d’Acqui

Brachetto d’Acqui, a deliciously sweet sparkling red from Piedmont, Italy, goes great with chocolate. This tasty yet complex wine is a delightful treat, and it’s also low in alcohol so you could easily drink the whole bottle.

  • Tasting notes: rose, raspberry, cotton candy, cherry
  • ABV: 5.5-6%
  • Acidity: Medium-High
  • Tannins: Low 

Sparkling Shiraz

From South Australia, this sparkling Shiraz is a world away from its Italian counterparts. This fizzy beverage complements a variety of BBQ foods thanks to its deep, savory tastes and plenty of acids.

  • Tasting notes: blackberry, tobacco, pepper, licorice
  • ABV: 12.5%
  • Acidity: Medium
  • Tannins: Medium-High 

Full and Medium-Bodied Sweet Red Wines

Sweet red wines with a medium to full body tend to have a rich, fruit-like flavor on the tongue rather than being overly sweet. If you dislike powerful, robust reds like Merlot, you might prefer something slightly sweeter.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Dolcetta

This medium-bodied red wine is named for its high alcohol content, which literally translates to “little sweet one.” While it isn’t as sweet as some of the other wines on this list, Dolcetta is exceptionally flavorful.

  • Tasting notes: violet, plum, black pepper, blackberry
  • ABV: 11.5-13.5%
  • Acidity: Low-Medium
  • Tannins: Low

Dornfelder

Dornfelder is a sweet red wine that German wine drinkers adore, despite its relatively modest popularity in the United States. Dornfelder comes in three to six varieties, ranging from dry to semi-sweet to extremely sweet. It also has a low alcohol content and a lot of fruity tastes.

  • Tasting notes: cherry, blackberry, herbs, spices
  • ABV: 11.5-12%
  • Acidity: Medium
  • Tannins: Medium

Light-Bodied Sweet Red Wines

For people who appreciate light-bodied wines with a higher sugar content, these two delicious red wines are the best option.

Beaujolais Nouveau

The world’s quickest wine, Beaujolais Nouveau is produced in France and is known for being ready in only 60 days. It’s a wonderfully fruity red with low tannins and high acidity levels.

  • Tasting notes: candied fruit, figs, banana, bubblegum
  • ABV: 10-11.5%
  • Acidity: High
  • Tannins: Low

Gamay

Gamay grapes are used to produce both Beaujolais Nouveau and Gamay, but the two wines have distinct origins. Gamay, on the other hand, might be just what you’re searching for if you’re looking for a light-bodied red with fruity sweetness.

  • Tasting notes: pomegranate, violet, blackberry, potting soil
  • ABV: 10-11.5%
  • Acidity: High
  • Tannins: Low

Sweet Red Fortified Wines

Red wines aren’t always robust and tannic, and some of the sweetest wines in the world are red! Red dessert wines are something we enjoy, but be cautious; we mean sweet when we say sweet. Some ruby Ports have a sugar content comparable to Coca-Cola.

Ruby Port

Ruby Port, traditionally served as a dessert wine, is a Portuguese invention. Even though they come in a variety of types, such as white Port, rose Port, and tawny Port, port wines are mostly consumed red.

  • Tasting notes: plum, chocolate, raisin, black cherry.
  • ABV: 15% and over
  • Acidity: Medium-High
  • Tannins: High

Black Muscat

Black Muscat is a little less sweet and more alcoholic than Port, making it a rare and exquisite red wine. If you’re fortunate enough to encounter one, prepare yourself for an extremely fragrant, very delicious dessert wine with notes of candied fruit and cinnamon.

  • Tasting notes: candied apple, rose, violet, cinnamon
  • ABV: 10%
  • Acidity: Medium
  • Tannins: Low

How to Serve Sweet Red Wine

Serve chilled, just as you would a white sparkling wine, for sparkling reds like Lambrusco. You can even get personalised glasses.

This effervescent crimson beverage may be paired with a variety of meals, but pizza is an excellent choice to maintain it in line with its Italian roots.

Sweet red wines should be served slightly cooler than room temperature, ranging from light to full-bodied. A wide glass with a big bowl is ideal for capturing the distinct aromas as you sip.

Served in a small dessert wine glass, fortified wines should always be consumed because they are quite alcoholic and a little goes a long way. Blue cheese, in particular, goes wonderfully with port. For a really decadent treat, try it with a delicious dessert-like chocolate cheesecake.

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