Sweet wines are everywhere. Previously eschewed for fear of being snubbed by snobs, wineries now proudly tout their full-frontal sugar on their labels. Consumers who love dessert for their appetizer should be in high heaven. Leading the pack is Moscato, whose popularity has shot up like blood sugar after a glass of it. But, sadly, most Moscatos lack balance. When I first started drinking wine in Europe, Swiss-grown Muscat (as it is called in French) tantalized my palate with sweetness and acidity. I reveled in its dry finish after my tongue feasted on a fruit salad of apricots, peaches and juicy, red apple. I had not experienced this same sensation in a wine until recently in Franciscan’s 2012 Equilibrium from Napa.
Read more: White wine review: Franciscan 2012 Equilibrium Napa Valley
There’s nothing like sipping a wine that smells like your grandmother’s powder room. It sends you down a memory lane of rose garden, violets and red fruits. Soothing and sweet, like grandma. And Moscato is likely what she drinks too. But whether that memory is pleasant or nightmarish relies on a good relationship with your relatives. And your relationship with sweet wines. Moscato — a low alcohol white wine that’s typically quite sugary and super fragrant — is so popular with millions of people (mostly women, which makes sense), there are actually rumblings of a grape shortage. California producers of this easy going, uncomplicated sipper are considering sourcing grapes from Italy just to fill the orders. Moscato is like the Pinterest of wine. Also called Muscat Blanc or Muscat Canelli, it originated in the Piedmont region of Italy, where it’s often made into a lightly spritzy quaffer to be enjoyed with brunch, fruit tarts and bears the name Moscato d’Asti — named after the region where it’s grown.
Read more: Sweet sweet wine love: A review of Moscato Allegro 2010 California
In my opinion, Rosa Regale is the quintessential romantic wine and chicks seriously dig it — a sweet, rich dessert sparkler from the Piedmont region of Italy. It’s an absolutely perfect sparkling wine for a wedding, served with a decadent wedding cake, or to accompany berry-laden tarts… even ice cream sprinkled with raspberries.
Read more: Sweet sparkling wine review: Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d’Acqui
Sexy, sultry, sensuous, luscious — ever wondered why these words are used to describe wine? Could it be that wine leads us down the road to romance? To desire? Wine certainly pairs with Valentine’s Day. But does romance have to rule the day on Valentine’s? What if this Hallmark holiday conjures up bitterness and resentment rather than romance? For the “singles” out there, it might be black and depressing. So I started wondering about how this day has become inextricably linked with romance.
Read more: Wines for Valentine’s Day: For romance, love or massacres?
Full-bodied and elegant, La Craie Vouvray explodes with fragrant fruit: peaches and apricots drizzled with honey, earthy chamomile. It has a burst of sweetness on the tongue but finishes dry and luscious. The best of both worlds.
Read more: Wine review: La Craie 2009 Vouvray
This brand has gotten HUGELY popular in the past few years, mainly by releasing sweeter, less complex wines for the masses. Unabashed in their promotion and their choice of tropical-tasting, fragrant grapes, the winemakers at Folie à Deux (the producer) have struck a chord — with seemingly everyone from critics to consumers in this Juicy Fruit Gum-like white wine.
Read more: Wine review: Menage a Trois 2008 White Blend
The uber-fragrant Muscat grape thrives in the hills of Italy’s Piedmont region, where artisans produce the effervescent and sweet Moscato d’Asti. It’s related to Asti Spumante, but only as you are to your hick cousins in West Virginia. Low in alcohol, these flowery dessert substitutes taste soft and lush, like this one from
Read more: Batasiolo 2007 Moscato d’Asti
Many Moscatos come from Italy’s Asti region but this one originates from the Chieti province in Abruzzo. Loaded with peaches, tangerine and honey, this sweet sparkler satisfies a craving but also pairs well with Asian food.3.5 stars out of 5. Sweetness=6 out of 10 (dry to sweet). $10
This family-owned boutique winery in California doesn’t make a large quantity of this truly remarkable wine (586 cases) but it’s worth the effort to find it. Chocolatey, with rich blueberry-pie-filling flavors and dried cherry. You’d think it would be cloyingly sweet with this flavor activity but it’s kept in check with a refreshing
Read more: Dashe 2006 Late Harvest Zinfandel Dry Creek
From one of Portugal’s oldest port houses in existence comes a relatively affordable juice. Lighter in style (but not in flavor) than many other tawnies, it’s raisiny with toasted hazelnuts, sweet toffee and a hint of pine.4 stars out of 5. Sweetness=7 out of 10 (dry to sweet). $26