What to know before you buy your next sweet wine

If you’ve meant to make the transition from light, sweet white wines to rich, full-bodied reds, perhaps you’re looking for a transitory wine to help with the move.

Luckily, however, sweet red wines are available in the market for anybody looking to make the switch. They contain both the elements of red and white wine to introduce new tastes while providing you with a hint of familiarity.

What makes sweet red wine different?

The main difference between sweet red wines and regular red wines is the dryness. Vintners generally make red wines relatively dry, allowing them to give way to the flavour notes and bolder taste that comes with age.

A bottle of red wine usually has a significantly lower level of residual sugar and a higher tannin content— two elements that constitute the dry taste profile that they have.

Compared to standard red and white wines, sweet red wine is much harder to find, mainly because most concessionaires have no way of differentiating them from the extremes.

If you decide to look for them, however, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll want to look for a red wine that’s actually sweet and has a reduced dry flavour profile.

Although it might sound easy enough, finding a bottle of sweet red wine can be difficult because it is often hard to tell sweet and dry wines apart.

How to easily find sweet red wines

In order to help you find sweet red wines with ease, here are a few ways to help you differentiate them from standard reds:

// Learn the difference between sweet and fruity

You will have a difficult time looking for a sweet red wine if you don’t know how to tell the difference between sweet and fruity taste. The main distinction between sweet and fruity wines lies in the sense that it stimulates.

Sweet wines stimulate your sense of taste while fruity leans more to your sense of smell. A fruity effect results from what is called an “aromatic perception,” where its outcome is determined by the combination of taste and aroma. In order to tell a sweet wine apart from a fruity one, brush up on your tasting skills as it will help you with the process of differentiating sweet from fruity.

// Recognize a lower alcohol content

Oftentimes, the alcohol content in wines tends to fall somewhere between the range of 5.5 percent to 23 percent alcohol by volume (or ABV, for short). The higher the alcohol percentage, the more thorough and complete the fermentation process is.

This, in turn, creates the “dry” flavour that’s found in textbook red wines. When it comes to ABV, sweet wines usually fall on the lower side of the scale, as lower alcohol content means that fermentation was stopped early, leaving behind some residual sugars in the process.

// Browse the “dessert wine” section

If you don’t have that much time on your hands, your best bet for finding sweet red wines will be to browse the dessert wine section when you’re shopping at the grocery store. Typically, you’ll find names like “Lambrusco”, “Dornfelder grape”, or “Stickies”, all of which were made and manufactured to produce a taste sweeter than what is typically characteristic of red wines.

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