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I have worked in the wine trade, predominantly wine retail, since 1995.
Within this time I have managed wine stores around West London with Thresher and Wine Rack.
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I like sweet wines but they are hard to find in the States, any ideas??
When you say sweet, do you mean a wine that is sugary sweet? Think of taking a mouthful of honey. It’s sweet from the tip of you tongue, then as you swallow you get a sugary coating down your throat.
Or a wine that is very fruity? You get an initial blast of sweetness but as you swallow you get a drying finish at the end.
California do produce sweet wines.
Half Bottles Elysium Black Muscat – 2008 – Quady Estate
Half Bottles Essencia Orange Muscat – 2008 – Quady Estate
Californian Rose too. White Grenache, White Zinfandel. These would be generally off dry to medium.
Styles, varieties and label phrases you could be looking for, which won’t say sweet on the label are –
Sauternes, Barsac (Bordeaux) from France. These can be quite expensive though. They will be golden in colour. Also Banyul from South of France. Very port like.
Brown Brothers produce a good Orange Muscat from Australia. On saying that if you see a wine labelled as Muscat it will probably be sweet anyway.
Another rich, sweet wine from Australia are Rutherglen Muscat wines.
Errazuriz from Chile do a great sweet wine.
Canada are very well known for producing Ice wines. Jackson Trigg, but more widely available are the Inniskillin Ice Wines especially in the States.
German wines have a very productive sweet wine industry.
Hungary is famed for its Tokaji (pronounced Tokay). These wines are measured in ‘Puttonyos.’ The higher the number, the sweeter the wine. Normally ranged from 3-6.
On labels you need to look for words which state –
Ice Wine or Eiswein
Trockenbeerenauslese (Germany). Get you tongue around that one 🙂
Sparkling Wines and Champagnes look for Demi-Sec or Doux
Grape varieties that produce sweet wines –
Riesling. Normally dry so be careful. Ask at your local wine store. German Rieslings are worth looking at.
Semillon. As above.
Sauvignon Blanc. As above. Blended with Semillon, these two grapes produce the great Sauternes from Bordeaux.
Muscat also known as Moscadel in Spain
You might even want to consider fortified wines, port for example. These are higher in alcohol, around 20% ABV and can be more expensive than standard wine but do contain higher levels of sugar.
Pedro Ximenez (pronounced Jimenez) is a sherry from Spain. Officially the sweetest white wine in the world, 500g of sugar per litre. Yet again it is expensive.
If your local wine store is any good then ask the staff there.
It would be cheaper for you to buy American. California has such a wide and diverse wine range. Producing several different styles.
I hope this helps Laura.