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As Ovid said: “The table and wine strengthen the playful mood.”. The famous ancient poet was aware that drinking gives a great opportunity to relax and feel more comfortable. If you want to have inside a piece of greek soul, try to make a sweet wine at home.

This kind of alcohol is part of our culture. Why are we so eager to go to Italy, France or Greece? We feel there like at home because of the sun, laughter all around and long evenings spent in the air in good company. Among many types and strains, sweet wines are often forgotten. This is a big mistake.

A characteristic feature of sweet wines is that they have a high residual sugar content. The resulting sweetness combined with a delicate acidity creates a composition that provides an unforgettable impression on the palate. Sweet proposals will satisfy lovers of wines with a mild taste. Sweet wine is usually served after eating, for various cakes and desserts.

Various sweet wines

What’s the difference between a dry wine and a sweet wine? The longer the grape is ripening, the sweet it becomes. Sweetness gets transformed into alcohol later in fermentation. There are some varieties, which we call in the late harvest. To produce sweet wine grapes are harvested really late in May or even June. That species ferment into alcohol, which has 8 or 10 percent. People often overlooked sweet wines, called also dessert wines. A lot of them don’t even think about that type when they’re choosing wines for a special occasion.

Sweet wines can be broken down into the three major categories: Porto and Madeira, Sherry and other dessert wine - ice wines, Moscato and of course late harvest wines. If we talk about Porto, it’s necessary to mention two types: Tawny (little bit lighter with flavors more like caramel and nuttiness) and late vintage bottled Porto (full-bodied, dark and have much more pronounced dried fruit flavor to them).

In sweet wines we can distinguish cooked and shooked Madeira, also comes from Portugal. In colonial times, this wine was transport by ships, so waves gave Madeira that intense flavor. It is very difficult to repeat this process at home and hard to precisely measure the level of sugar without triple scale hydrometer. In the other side, we have oxidized Sherry’s - very broad category. They range wines from bracingly dry to sweet ones.

Producing sweet wine

When you think about producing sweet wine in home condition, a better way is to pick simpler types than Porto, Madeira or Sherry. They need big attention and even you will follow the instruction, something may go wrong. To this group belong for instance hungarian Tokaji and french Banyuls or Sauternes, but is possible to make wines like them all over the world. What should you do?

The grapes are left on the vine for a longer period of time to concentrate their flavor. Ice wines, where grapes are left in the vineyard until a frost sweetens a juice. It makes them much more delicious and concentrated. In fact, sweetness is controlled almost exclusively by the winemaker. What happens during fermentation?

Hundreds of yeasts gobble up all the grape sugars and changed into alcohol. Sometimes winemaker interjects during the process and stops the yeast eating sugar. How much sweetness is in wine? Sweet type have over 70 sugar calories. People mostly do not feel a small difference, but experts can notice even 2% of change. More important is the additional ingredient. It may be other fruit, almonds or... chocolate. Depends on your imagination and the type of yeast, what flavor you consider as the best. 

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