Looking for some sweet white wines to explore? Then you’re in the right guide! This list of the 20 Most Popular Sweet White Wines can be your start through the wonderful world of white wine.
Different Types of Sweet White Wine
Let’s start by learning about the various types of sweet white wine before we move on to discussing each specific bottle. These types of wine are:
Sparkling sweet wines feature carbonation with higher sugar content. They are known for being: light, bubbly, and fruity. They are mostly from grapes such as:
Typically enjoyed as a dessert wine or aperitif, sweet sparkling wines like Moscato or Brachetto d’Acqui are best served chilled.
Fortified white sweet wine differentiates itself through the use of spirit. By adding extra alcohol, typically brandy, during or after fermentation.
The sugar halts the fermentation process and results in leftover sugar, producing the wine’s sweet flavor. The wine’s higher alcohol content assists in preserving it.
Late-harvest white wines are sweet because they are made from wine grapes left on the vine longer than usual. It allows the grapes to become overripe, which increases their sugar content. The wine is typically made in small batches with hand-picked wine grapes.
Late-harvest wines are usually sweet, full-bodied, and fruity, honeyed. These wines are commonly served as dessert wines and can be still or sparkling. Some examples of sweet late-harvest white wines are Late Harvest Riesling, Sauternes from France, and Tokaji from Hungary.
|Sweet White Wine||ABV||Texture||Flavor Notes|
Fruity (peach, apricot, and honey)
Orange blossom Tropical fruits
Fruity (Apricot, peaches, and marmalade)
|Pinot Blanc||10-13%||Light to medium-bodied
|Fruity (green apple, pear, and lemon)|
|Sherry||15-20%||Medium to full-bodied||Nutty
Earthy (caramel, toffee, and dried fruits)
|Pinot Gris||12-14%,||Medium-bodied||Flavors of apple, pear, and melon with a hint of spice.|
|Chenin Blanc||12-14%||Light to medium-bodied||
|Chardonnay||12-14%||Medium to full-bodied||
Riesling is a typical flexible grape that produces various dry and sweet wines. When made as a sweet wine, Riesling wines have hints of honey, apricot, and peach with a refreshing acidity that offsets the sweetness. Sweet Rieslings are generally made using grapes exposed to botrytis cinerea, a fungus that concentrates the grape sugars.
The wines have the potential to develop complex flavors and aromas as they age for several years. Riesling is commonly served with spicy food or as a dessert wine.
Moscato from the Muscat grape is famous for its fruity nature, fizziness, and light body. Its flavor notes include: apricot, floral, peach, and orange.
Usually, with a low ABV, Moscato is made slightly bubbly and is commonly served as an aperitif or a dessert wine. It’s a favorite among people who enjoy sweeter wines and goes well with spicy dishes as its sweetness and acidity can help to offset the heat.
Sauternes hails from the Sauternes region of Bordeaux, France. The wine came from grapes affected by a fungus called Botrytis cinerea or “noble rot.”
This fungus enhances the grapes’ sugar and flavor levels, resulting in a wine with a distinct full-bodied taste. The wine features fruity, honeyed flavors with vanilla, apricot, and peach notes.
Sauternes is a famous dessert wine that pairs well with cheese, foie gras, and sweet desserts such as crème brûlée or fruit tarts. It’s highly prized and expensive as it uses a time-consuming winemaking process.
4. Pinot Blanc
Pinot Blanc is a white grape commonly used to make dry or off-dry white wines. However, it can also produce sweet wines through the late harvest method, wherein the grapes are left on the vine longer to mature and have higher sugar content.
The wines have a distinct aroma of summer fruit such as peach and apricot and taste like honeyed floral. Pinot Blanc is best to pair with light, fruit-based desserts such as poached pears or tarts.
A type of white wine called Tokaji came from the Tokaj region of Hungary. It’s a sweet wine from using grapes affected by noble rot or Botrytis cinerea. This rot helps concentrate the flavors and sugars in the grapes. Tokaji wines are famous for their fruity and rich taste, with hints of apricot, peach, and orange peel.
Hungary has been producing Tokaji wines for centuries, usually served as a dessert wine. These wines go well with cheese, foie gras, and sweet desserts such as fruit tarts and are highly regarded for their exceptional quality.
Sherry is a fortified wine hailing from the Jerez region in southern Spain. The production process uses Palomino grapes as the most common type of grape, but they also use other grapes like Pedro Ximénez and Moscatel.
Sherries have different styles: some are dry, and some are sweet.
The sweet ones are from sun-dried Pedro Ximénez grapes with more concentrated sugars. Sweet Sherries usually have a dark, rich, and syrupy character and taste like raisins, figs, and caramel. People typically have them as a dessert wine and serve them with chocolate or strong cheeses.
7. Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris is a white grape that makes various types of wine, from dry to sweet. If a sweet Pinot Gris wine is produced, it might have flavors such as honey, apricot, and peach, balanced out by its sharp acidity.
Late harvest is a method used to make sweet Pinot Gris wines. The wine grapes are left on the vine for a long time to increase their sugar levels and ripen. These wines are suitable for pairing with spicy foods as a dessert wine and can be aged for several years to develop more intricate flavors and aromas.
Torrontés is a type of white grape primarily grown in Argentina and noted for producing aromatic white wines.
These wines have distinct tropical fruit flavors, such as passionfruit and guava, as well as floral and herbal undertones. Both sweet and dry varieties of Torrontés wines are available, and the sweet ones are typically made using the late harvest method.
For those who enjoy spicy foods, a wine with high acidity is a good match since it balances the sweetness. Torrontés, a famous summer wine, is great to drink on its own and pairs well with Mexican or Asian cuisines.
Prosecco is a type of white sparkling wine that comes from the northeastern Italian region of Veneto. It is made using the Glera grape, and its sweetness can range from very dry to very sweet.
The most well-known variety of Prosecco has a slightly dry yet sweet taste and hints of floral and fruity notes like green apple, peach, and pear. Its fresh nature has made it a popular alternative to Champagne lately.
10. Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is a widely grown white grape variety in many wine regions worldwide. Its versatile nature allows the grapes to be used in making wines with varying sweetness levels, from dry to sweet. The wine has flavors of apple, pear, and honey and is balanced by crisp acidity, making it a perfect choice for warm weather.
If Chenin Blanc wines are made sweetly, they may have hints of pineapple, apricot, and orange blossom flavors. They are usually paired with spicy foods or served as a dessert wine. As they age, these wines can develop intricate flavors and aromas lasting several years.
Sémillon is a wine grape used to create intricate and flavorful sweet white wines. These wines are usually made from grapes impacted by botrytis cinerea, a fungus that intensifies the sugars and flavors within the grapes. Upon sipping, they feel luxurious and full-bodied, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and tropical fruits.
Sémillon grape-based sweet white wines undergo oak barrel aging to enhance their complexity and depth. These wines have a stunning golden hue and emanate honey, apricot, and dried fruit aromas. They are an exquisite match for desserts and blue cheese.
Chardonnay is a popular white grape variety grown in many regions to produce various wines, from dry to full-bodied. The wine typically has a mix of green apple, citrus, and tropical flavors, and is aged in oak barrels, which can add hints of vanilla and oak to the wine’s taste.
The Chardonnay grape is adaptable to different regions and can take on the distinct qualities of its growing location. It is commonly paired with creamy pasta, chicken, and seafood. Furthermore, this wine is known to age gracefully over time.
Viognier is a white grape variety primarily grown in France’s Rhône Valley region and cultivated in other wine regions worldwide. The wine has a rich texture and a scent of flowers, while its taste is reminiscent of apricot, peach, and honey.
Viognier is a diverse wine in different styles, ranging from dry to sweet, typically aged in oak barrels, improving its flavor and texture. Viognier is versatile when pairing and complements different kinds of food, such as spicy dishes, fish, and poultry.
The Albariño grape is a white grape mainly cultivated in the Rías Baixas area of Galicia, which is located in the northwest region of Spain.
This grape variety is famous for its ability to yield light, invigorating white wines that feature hints of citrus, green apple, and peach. Also, the wines possess a unique briny minerality that mirrors the seaside characteristics of its production environment.
A good pairing for seafood, shellfish, and light vegetable dishes are Albariño wines, usually known for being dry and high in acidity. They are often aged in stainless steel to preserve their fresh and fruit-forward character.
The Fiano grape is a variety of white grape grown primarily in the southern Italian region of Campania. Wines made from this grape have a lively acidity and a distinct fragrance similar to citrus, honey, and hazelnut. Fiano wines can range from crisp and dry to rich and full-bodied depending on the intended style.
This type of wine is typically aged in oak barrels, which gives it a more complex and flavorful taste. It pairs well with seafood, poultry, and pasta with creamy sauces or be enjoyed by itself as an aperitif.
Gewürztraminer is a variety of white grapes grown in various regions around the world, however, it is famously associated with France’s Alsace region. Gewürztraminer wines have a unique fragrance of lychee, rose, and spice, and they contain flavors of tropical fruits, honey, and ginger.
Gewürztraminer is a type of wine that comes in different styles, from dry to sweet, and is usually full-bodied and high in alcohol. It goes well with spicy foods and rich, creamy dishes such as foie gras and lobster bisque.
17. Gruner Veltliner
Grüner Veltliner is a white grape mainly cultivated in Austria but can also be found in other wine regions globally. As for its taste, Grüner Veltliner wines are recognized for their refreshing acidity and flavors of green apple, citrus, white pepper, and a unique mineral character.
Grüner Veltliner is produced in various styles ranging from fruity and light to rich and complex. It is often aged in stainless steel to maintain its fresh and lively taste. Grüner Veltliner complements a variety of foods such as seafood, poultry, and vegetarian dishes.
18. Ice Wine
Ice wine, also called Eiswein in German, is a sweet dessert wine. It is made from grapes left to freeze naturally on the vine. This freezing process intensifies the sugars and flavors in the grapes, creating a rich wine that tastes of honey, tropical fruit, and apricot. Ice wine usually has high acidity levels, which helps balance its sweetness.
Small quantities of a dessert wine called ice wine are produced in various wine regions around the world, including Germany, Canada, and the United States. It is commonly served with fruit-based desserts, blue cheeses, and foie gras.
The Chablis region is situated in the northern Burgundy part of France and produces white wine made from the Chardonnay grape.
These wines are renowned for their crisp texture and mineral taste and are typically not aged in oak barrels. Chablis wines have a flavor profile of green apple, lemon, and chalky minerality with high acidity, making them refreshing and zesty.
Chablis wine is commonly matched with seafood dishes like oysters and shrimp, as well as light pasta dishes and salads. It is renowned for enhancing flavor with age and acquiring more intricate tastes while maturing in the bottle.
Verdelho is a wide variety of white grapes that are widely grown in Portugal, as well as other wine-producing regions. This wine is known for its crisp acidity and flavor profile, including: hints of citrus, melon, peach, and a subtle nutty note.
This wine comes in various styles, from light and refreshing to rich and full-bodied. It is versatile in terms of food pairing, as you can pair it with seafood, spicy dishes, and grilled meats. Further, it can be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif.
Explore the 20 Most Popular White Wines, each with a distinct flavor profile that varies from bottle to bottle. These wines are an ideal accompaniment to various cuisines, so start discovering them today!