Most wine sold in supermarkets and wine shops is dry. Dry wines have become popular because of their complexity and ability to pair with food. However, if made well, sweet wines can be just as complementary and complex.
The best sweet white wines are some of the most prized wines in the world. Winemakers make these sweet whites from several types of grapes and in a variety of styles.
Depending on the region and wine maker’s preference, sweet white wines can be immensely diverse, refreshing, and delicious.
Which White Wines are Ranked as Very Dry?
Famous wines like Champagne, Chablis, and Sancerre are generally dry with high acidity. In Germany, winemakers make Riesling and Gewürztraminer wines into dry and sweet wines. Germany set up useful terms for measuring wine sweetness.
The driest white wines include Italian Pinot Grigio, Chablis, Vinho Verde, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. Winemakers make these wines in a bone-dry style.
As a result, these wines have little to no residual sugars, allowing their other qualities like acidity, fruit aromas, and minerality to shine.
What Are Off-Dry White Wine Varieties?
Some wines have a small amount of residual sugar in them. These are known as off-dry wines or Halbtrocken or Feinherb wines in Germany. Some examples of off-dry white wines include Kabinett Riesling, Chenin Blanc, and some Viogniers.
What Are Medium Sweetness White Wine Varieties?
Some wines taste medium sweet and contain upwards of 110 grams per liter of residual sugar. These wines often balance their sweetness with high acidity. Medium sweet wines include Moscato, some German Gewürztraminer, and Spätlese Riesling.
Which Sweet White Wine Varieties You Can Find?
Many sweet white wines can be found in supermarkets and wine stores, although they are less popular than their dry counterparts.
The most common sweet white wines include Moscato, sweet riesling, and late harvest wines. Dessert wines like ice wine are also common, especially in the north.
What Are the Very Sweet White Wine Varieties?
Very sweet wines are considered dessert wines. These wines can be some of the most delightful and expensive wines out there.
Examples of very sweet wines include Sauternes, ice wine, and late-harvest wines. Winemakers make these wines in a variety of ways.
Winemakers in France make Sauternes from sauvignon, muscatel, and Sémillon grapes. Winemakers in the Sauternes region of Bordeaux, France, leave the grapes on the vine where a type of fungus known as botrytis infects the grapes, turning them into raisins.
As a result, these dehydrated grapes are sweet, with concentrated flavors.
Ice wine is made from several varieties of grapes. Winemakers leave these grapes on the vine until the first frost. These frozen grapes develop concentrated sugars and flavors. Once the grapes have been frozen, they are collected and fermented into delicious sweet wine.
Late Harvest wine is when the grape growers leave the grapes on the vine until late in the growing season. This lets the berries become sweet and ripe before harvest. As a result, these wines will have a high amount of residual sugar and a low alcohol percentage.
Final Thoughts on White Wine Sweetness Ranking
White wine comes in different sweetness levels. Dry white wines include Italian pinot grigio, Chablis, Vinho Verde, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay.
Off-dry white wines have a small amount of residual sugar, making them taste slightly sweet. These wines include Kabinett Riesling, Chenin Blanc, and some Viogniers.
Medium sweet wines can contain 110 grams per liter of residual sugar. These wines include moscato, some German Gewürztraminer, and Spätlese Riesling. Very sweet wines are known as dessert wines. These include Sauternes, ice wine, and late-harvest wine.