Dessert Levels in Sparkling Wines
24th June 2021
A dessert wine, though there are varied interpretations and descriptions, is a wine that is usually / recommended to be enjoyed during or after the dessert. It does not necessarily mean the wine will be a highly sweet liquor type after a heavy last course, in fact, it could be just a subtle hint of sweetness present and chosen so to balance / pair well with a lighter dessert dish.
Now that we know, what are dessert wines, we can start to explore the options offered to us. Sweeter wines can have varied amounts of sugar levels and not only be red, white or rosé they can also be still or fizzy.
As you will all know by now, we are interested in the bubbles at Glass of Bubbly so for this article we focus on those sparkling wine dessert wines and how to select the correct options for your requirements.
Styles of wines are usually classed by either dry, medium or sweet. So something with less sugar/sweetness to one with mid levels and lastly those above average. Below is a sweetness level infographic to explain the terms used on bottles and the levels of sugars, in sparkling wines though we swap the meaning of ‘dry‘ on labels to describing it as ‘sweet‘ (sorry for the confusion!):
If you prefer a sweeter style of wine, then it is always best to choose at least a Brut (sometimes they can express a small amount of sugar/sweetness up to a fairly decent level) and scale up from there. The above infographic can also help you when you are looking to pair dessert foods, opinions vary though the richer and heavier the dish then the higher level of sugar you should look for in your wine.
Sweet sparkling wines can also pair well with savoury dishes such as spicy and salty themed.
We decided to taste the Gold Medal Winners and Trophy Winner from the 2020 Glass of Bubbly Awards and see how their sweetness levels performed:
Trophy Winner 2020 – ‘Dessert’:
Radgonske Gorice – Penina Rose Extra Dry: ”
Gold Medal Winning 2020 – ‘Dessert’:
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.