Best California: San Antonio Cardinale Red Blend
Courtesy of Drizly.com;
With roots in northern Italy, Californias San Antonio Winery has been in operation by the Riboli family for over four generations. From grapes grown in the dry and warm climate of their Paso Robles appellation, this Cardinale red blend is about as sweet as a wine can get.
This is medium-bodied with notes of cherry and plum. Sweet like marmalade, this wine is smooth and reminiscent of a moscato. It is bold and bright with a short and pleasant finish.
Buying Guide For Best Red Wine
Red wine is a globally beloved drink, enjoyed by many groups of people for all kinds of occasions. Red wine, created by fermenting grapes, has been around for millennia. Red wines are made around the world, from France to Australia, America to Chile, and South Africa to Italy.
While there are 32 or so main varietals of red wine, there are countless other types and blends, and each region, vineyard, and season offers something distinct and enjoyable. Whats more, a bottle opened today would probably have a different taste than if you opened the same bottle in three years time as wine grows in complexity as it ages. Wine varies greatly, and there is a red for everyone.
All you really need to know about wine is what you like. Our buying guide will help you differentiate between types of red wine so you can find the right bottle for you. For our five favorite red wines, see the matrix above.
The Different Types Of Wine
Cabernet Sauvignons are rich, robust red wines from the Napa Valley. These wines are full-bodied and are made up of dark fruit flavours mixed with spices and earthy aromas. Its one of the worlds most widely recognised red wine grape varieties and is most commonly aged in French oak.;
Chardonnay is the most popular wine varietal in North America and is characterised by its medium to full body and its buttery mouthfeel. It combines crisp flavours like apple and pear with citrus aromas and hints of vanilla.;
Malbec is known for its plump, dark fruit flavours and inky dark colour. Its grapes grow mostly in Argentina although it was originally produced in France. Malbecs have moderate tannins and are typically made up of ripe flavours like plum, black cherry and blackberry.
Merlots have milder flavours and lower tannin levels than other varieties of red wine. Although still a type of dry red wine, theyre sweeter than Cabernet Sauvignons and are made of dark blue-coloured wine grapes. Merlots are a fruit-forward wine with plenty of flavours, with spicy and sweet notes that come from ageing in oak barrels.;
Most Sauvignon Blancs are left as dry white wines, with a few brands preferring to leave a small amount of residual sugar for a richer consistency. Its a crisp and light wine with flavours of citrus like green apple, lime and vanilla.;
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Fuleky Pallas Tokaji Late Harvest
This Hungarian dessert wine is a perfect intro wine for those interested in discovering the Tokaj grape. The wines sweet flavor profile is balanced by a structured acidity. Ringing in at a low 10.5;percent alcohol, this is a perfect before-bed choice. Pair with strong cheeses and fruit-based desserts. Average Price: $25
Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco Grasparossa Di Castelvetro Amabile
Cleto Chiarlis Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Amabile is made from Lambrusco grapes grown in Emilia Romagna, Italy. Like all Amabile wines, it has a semi-sweet taste. It is rich in fruity aromas that span a full range of grape scents. This is one of the best sweet and fruity wines around.
This fantastic sweet red wine goes well on its own, as well as with Italian cuisine. If youre serving it with food, pizza, lasagna, and cured meats are your best choices.
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The 10 Best Sweet Wines For 2021
When sweet wine is mentioned, what comes to mind is grandmas favorite Riesling or Manischewitz. And while these choices tend to be technically sweet, theyre just a drop in what a delicious bucket full of sweet white and red wines has to offer. There are, in fact, a plurality of styles and directions to go within the category, united by higher residual sugar content but vastly diverse in terms of taste, fragrance, and build.
We also tend to equate cheap and poorly made with sweet wines another common mistake. Highly revered and expensive options like Sauternes have earned icon status over the years. Here at The Manual, a sweet wine made it onto our best wines list, with a lot more coming very close to making the cut. You get the point. There are some fantastic sweet wines out there, from complex Port;to late-harvest Gewurztraminer made in the ice wine style.
The next time youre after a sweeter wine to accompany a funky cheese or to sip on post-meal, consider these fantastic offerings. You can also check out the best wine subscription box services for more.
Excellent Sweet Fruity Inexpensive Wines
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Buying Guide For Best White Wine
Although it often takes a back seat to its more popular cousin, white wine shouldnt be overlooked. It can be light and sweet or bold and dry, and it encompasses just as much variety and versatility as red wine. White wine is ideal for serving with fish, chicken, Asian cuisines, cheese plates, and fruit.
In general, white wines are known for their zesty, floral, and fruity tastes, though some are aged in oak barrels to add rich, bold notes. There are dozens of varietals and countless unique blends, made all around the world. Whats more, white wine features 10 distinct flavor profiles, including creamy, floral, tropical, and honey, among others.
All that means there is a lot to consider when buying a bottle of white. Our guide will help you navigate the wide world of white wine. For our top picks for the best white wines, see the matrix above.
Enjoy A Bottle Of Sweet Bubbly
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Lets be real: many find themselves cringing at the mention of sweet as a sparkling wine descriptor, especially as societys attention of late has been laser-focused on the dry end of the spectrum, where Brut Nature, Extra Brut, and Brut live in ascending level of sugar content. From there, we begin to venture into the sweet side of things: Extra-Dry, Sec , Demi-Sec, and Doux, with Doux being the sweetest of them all .
If you dont already know, sugar is actually a normal component of Champagne and has been for centuriesin fact, most of the Champagnes throughout the 1800s were made on the sweeter side in order to cater to the palate preferences and winemaking trends of the times. Again, weve grown to favor drier sparkling wines between then and now, but theres always a time and a place for a sweeter style, whether as a nod to history, a great pairing tool, or a simple matter of taste. To help sort through all the options available we tapped some top wine experts.
Here are our picks for the best sweet Champagnes to drink.
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Best Port Wines: Quinta Do Noval
Port wines come from Portugal, and Wine Enthusiast Magazine notes Quinta do Noval is one of the “showpiece estates” of the Douro Valley region. Quinta do Noval has been making fine quality ports since 1715, so it’s safe to say they have perfected their techniques over the last few hundred years. Vintus Wines notes Quinta do Noval is the greatest port house in the world, and it’s unique in that most of the ports are made from estate-grown fruit and all vintage Noval wines are from the single Quinta do Noval vineyard. Some other interesting facts about this port house they point out include:
- Introduced first late-bottled vintage port in 1958
- Became the first major port house to age, blend, and store all its wine at its Quinta due to a change in shipping laws in 1986
- All grapes harvested at the estate are crushed by foot
The Top Five Best Wine Brands
Based in sunny Tuscany, in the Bolgheri region of Italy, Masseto is a cult winery with an iconic vineyard thats known for producing top quality vintages. The brand has received multiple 100-point scores from critics and is notorious for being difficult to get hold of. Production totals around just 30,000 bottles a year and the average bottle costs around $790. The vineyard, which was first founded by Lodovico Antinori in 1981, converted entirely to organic farming in 2012 and keeps climate change at the forefront of its production methods. The brand was a hit from its first release in 1986 and is one of the most well-known and best-performing wineries.
Screaming Eagle Winery and Vineyards is a Californian wine estate and another cult winery. The brand produces the most expensive wines in North America and its Sauvignon Blanc occupies the top spot, with an average sales price of $5,974. In order to buy its wine directly from the brand, buyers must sign up for a waiting list. The average time to wait on this list before being able to buy a bottle is around 12 years. Due to a surge in high-profile counterfeit wine cases, each bottle of Screaming Eagle comes with a bubble-coded security seal. It keeps its doors firmly shut to the public.
Bodega Catena Zapata
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Sweet Lambrusco Producer: Riunite
Lambrusco is a tough wine to figure out — the mass-production Lambruscos in the United States tend to be ridiculously sweet. However, boutique winemakers back in Lambrusco’s home of Emilia Romagna, Italy, work to break that stereotype by showcasing quality wines that aren’t nearly as sweet as those you’ll find on market shelves in America. There are some sweet versions, but most producers aren’t producing solely sweet versions these days.
How Is Wine Made
Wine is made by picking, crushing, fermenting and ageing grapes.;
The process begins by picking the grapes, before theyre taken to the crushing pad. Here, a destemmer will remove the stems from the bunches of grapes and will lightly crush them at the same time. The next step differs between red and white wines when it comes to removing the skins. White wine is pressed and the grape skins discarded, while red wine is made from grapes that are fermented with their skins still attached.;
Next is the fermentation period, where yeast is added to the vats of grapes in order for the sugars to convert to alcohol. When producing red wines, carbon dioxide is released, which causes the grape skins to rise to the surface.
The ageing step comes next and its here where creativity and flavour profiles really come into play. Wines can be aged for anything from a few months to several years. Some white wines are ready to be bottled after only a few months while most dry red wines benefit from being left up to two years. Wine can also be aged in new oak, used barrels or stainless steel, in American oak barrels or in French oak barrels, or in charred barrels, like those used when ageing Bourbon.;
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Indicators Of A Sweet Wine
Wines can be loosely categorized as sweet, off-dry , or dry. Typically, the amount of residual sugar in a wine will determine a wine’s level of sweetness.
Remember that the fermentation;process takes the naturally occurring sugars in the grape and converts them into alcohol with the help of yeast. When fermentation is stopped before all of the sugars are converted, the alcohol content is lower and the wine is sweeter.
With this in mind, the amount of alcohol in a wine can clue you into its residual sugar. All you need to do is look at the alcohol by volume on the;wine label. Wines generally fall somewhere between 5.5 percent and 23 percent ABV.
In table wines, the lower the alcohol content, the higher the residual sugar content and the sweeter the wine. There are exceptions to this, but it is a good general rule to go by. This is one reason why you’ll often see German Rieslings with alcohol levels in the range of 8 to 12 percent ABV, with considerably higher levels of residual sugar.
Dr Loosen Demi Sec 2015
Two things will always be true:;we all love bubbles and we all love Riesling.;Why not put the two together? Dr. Loosen has been making world-renowned wines from the Riesling grape in the Mosel region of Germany for over 200 years. These sweet sparkles are perfect for any romantic evening, plus its an extremely affordable bottle. Average Price: $14
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Wall Of Sound Red Blend
The Wall of Sound Red Blend from WINC is one of the best new sweet red wines we’ve tasted. This is a classic fruity wine from California. The upfront red fruit consists of raspberry, strawberry, and cranberry. You can taste the layers unfold from the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Merlot. By aging Wall of Sound in stainless steel, the winemakers created a bright and simple wine that is pure joy to drink.
This is a great introduction to red wines for newcomers who want a delicious and fruit-forward wine.
You can order a few bottles from Winc by
Sweet Red Wine Categories
The most famous sweet red wines fall into the dessert wine category. You’ll want to look in that section while shopping. You can look for wine labels that fall into a few categories:
- Germany’s Dornfelder grape is often made into a lighter-styled, slightly sweet version. While it is not overly exported, it can certainly be found in U.S. markets. It is worth a try if you are searching for a sweeter style of red wine.
- Italy’s Lambrusco is a slightly sweet, slightly sparkling, and inexpensive red wine that has wooed wine lovers the world over for years. It is intended to be consumed young and is readily available in most markets.
- In Australia, sweet red wines are appropriately dubbed “stickies.” These can use a range of grapes and many producers have built them into their success stories.
- The fortified wine;known as port will also do its best to fill a sweet tooth’s expectations.
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Best Splurge: Bodkin The Crown Jewels Red Dessert Wine
;Courtesy of Wine.com
Sonoma County outfit Bodkin Wines is perhaps best known as the winery that delivered Americas first home-grown sparkling sauvignon blanc, which was pioneered by winemaker Christopher Christensen. In the years between making history and getting recognition for it, Bodkin made this Crown Jewels dessert wine thats so delicious they had to contain it in a half-sized bottle.
A mixture of black grape varieties with zinfandel, this half-bottle packs a full-bottle punch with notes of blackberry, saddle leather, dried fruit, plum and orange peel. Burly tannins lead to a brief berry-bright finish.
Best Overall: Vietti Moscato Dasti
In the world of sweet wine, Vietti Moscato checks all of our boxes. Produced by one of Piedmonts highly respected names, this wine is extremely well-priced and made with organically farmed fruit. Above all, its pleasant sweetness is balanced by high amounts of natural acidity. Notes of canned peaches, white flower petals, candied ginger and honeysuckle dominate the wine’s frothy palate. Serve with spicy appetizers, fruit-forward desserts or sugary brunch dishes .;
“Sweet wine is misunderstood and undervalued in the restaurant experience,” says Matthew Kaner, wine director & president of Will Travel For Wine, INC. “It has a strong place at the end of a meal, whether as dessert or paired with dessert.”
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Best Ros: Domaine Des Nouelles Ros Danjou
In Anjou, one of the Loire Valleys major wine-producing zones, reds and rosés made from Cabernet Franc are of great renown. Unlike the dry rosés of Touraine, Sancerre and other Loire-based appellations, rosés from Anjou are known for being off-dry and slightly sweet. This bottle from Domaine des Nouelles is fruit-driven, bright, and loaded with flavors of sweet cherries, red currants and rose petals. Serve chilled with sweet crepes, a fresh bowl of strawberries or simply sip it solo.;
Sweet red wine is one of viticultures most misunderstood varieties. Unfortunately, many big-brand producers add loads of sugar and manipulate cheap juice to make “sweet red blends.” However, when produced at the right hands, sweet red wines can be quite delicious.;
Grahams Six Grapes Port is a fortified wine, meaning that a neutral distillate is added to a still wine to halt its fermentationthis keeps residual sugar present and adds a boost of alcohol to the final juice. “Though be careful,” warns Kaner. ” are easy to crush multiple servings, yet have 16 to 20 percent alcohol by volume.” Notes of ripe plums, black cherries, raisins and chocolate are in abundance. Port skeptics, you’re going to love this bottle.;