Let’s talk wines! I am a big fan of sweet wines. Last year June, I finished my Masters in Business Administration with a specialisation in Food and Wine at Bologna Business School, Italy. Before then, I would not dare go near red wine, “they are too tangy” I would always say. Italians call the tangy remnant you feel in the mouth after drinking a red wine that has made from barely ripe grapes “allappare”. Also, this wine tends to be marked as high in acidity level – in sommelier terms.
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Now, after almost five years in Italy, and an MBA in Food and Wine, I am a steady lover of red wine. I guess I just needed to keep drinking and trying different wines to discover which I love, and amazingly three of my favourites are now red wines! Below are my recommendations for sweet wines for a sweet tooth:
Passito di Pantelleria
Origin: Trapani, Italy
My notes: white wine, sweet wine
The name Passito comes from the Latin word passum – an ancient Roman sweet wine that was named after the Latin verb pando – to spread out.
Passito is an Italian word for wines made by the appassimento process – whereby grapes are partially dried on straw mats or pallets in airy rooms or barns in order to concentrate the grapes’ flavours and sweetness prior to vinification.
Passito di Pantelleria, formerly known as Moscato Passito di Pantelleria is a sweet wine, a Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) since 1971, which can only be produced in the province of Trapani. Passito di Pantelleria must come from grapes, at least in part subject to dry either on the plant or after harvesting.
Also called straw wine, I love this wine with desserts, or on days I just want to chill on the sofa with a glass of wine.
Origin: Piedmont, Italy
My notes: red wine, very sweet wine
Brachetto is grown predominantly in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. At one time the grape was thought to be related to the French wine grape Braquet, but recent thought among ampelographers is that the two are distinct varieties.
The grapes are harvested in late August and early September. After crushing, the juice is left to soak with the skins for two to three days, to permit the grape skins to impart the desired light ruby red color to the juice.
This wine was recommended to me by a waiter on a night out at “La Prosciutteria” in Bologna after I asked for his recommendation for a sweet wine. I have paired this wine with many dishes – from Chinese dumplings to chicken, red meat, cheese, and finger foods. I love drinking this also without pairing it with any foods or finger foods.
Origin: Piedmont, Italy
My notes: white or rosé wine, sweet wine
Moscato has a low alcohol content that pairs exquisitely with desserts and appetizers. Moscatos are made from the Muscat grape and typically feature flavors of sweet peach, orange blossom, and nectarine.
Best for aperitif because it’s sweet, low in alcohol, and very easy to drink – even without pairing with any food.
Primitivo, also known as Zinfandel
Origin: Salento, Italy
My notes: red wine, fairly sweet wine
This is my recent addiction. I stumbled upon it by chance on the supermarket rack. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting a lot, but my first sip had me going back to the bottle to take a picture and save it in my favourite wine archive. I tried this with a chicken dish and seafood sandwiches and I loved the pairing. Ugh, fish and red wine? Heck yes! On my scale of sweetness, this is on the low-sweet side, but I loved it all the same!
Try Nero D’avola, even though it’s not a sweet wine. I recommend you pair this with rich red meat dishes – if you are a fan of red meat. I was gifted a bottle of this wine by a wine producer in Marsala – Cantine Vinci. One evening, I had friends over, and I had cooked Jollof rice with fried red meat as a side dish. The combination was so great my friends started hailing my great sense of pairing, even though I was just by chance. You may not appreciate the flavour enough if you drink it alone.
Do you love sweet wines? Tell me your favourites in the comment box.