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Intro to Dessert Wine

Another category that can be talked about for hours is dessert wine.

There are a few main methods of making dessert wine. One is to stop the fermentation before it is complete. This is most commonly done by adding brandy (i.e. neutral grape spirits) to the fermentation tank while the alcohol levels are low and the sugar levels are high. This shoots the alcohol up above 19%, which kills of all the yeast.

Another method is to harvest super ripe grapes, that look like raisins on the vine. The high sugar level impedes fermentation, slowing down the process until sometimes it comes to a halt.

A third method is to dry the grapes out intentionally, then continuing with the rasinated method.

Regardless of how a sweet wine is achieved, I think it’s one of the great overlooked categories of wine and deserves more attention. Buy a bottle of Port and sip on it at the end of the night. A little will do you, and with the high alcohol content the bottle will remain stable for weeks if not months.

More links for learning

Here are some overviews of the dessert wine making processes: 1, 2, 3.

Port is special indeed, and can be complicated to learn. But here are the basics for you. (Hint: the biggest bang for the buck Port category is Late Bottled Vintage, otherwise known as LBV.)

The world’s most famous dessert wine is Chateau d’Yquem of Bordeaux. Learn more about this wine, which is the brand of the most expensive bottle of wine ever.