Dessert Wines

Sweet wines are a delicious and fitting end to a good meal. There are numerous kinds of dessert wines. This page gathers in one place the reviews for dessert wines from around the world. The page is broken up into sections that group dessert wines by style, so you can find the dessert wine you want quickly. These reviews are copied from elsewhere on my site (under their respective countries), so you should go to those pages for more educational details.

Port Style

Real Port is from Portugal and is a fortified wine produced in the Douro region. You can learn more about Port on the page on the Wines of Spain and Portugal. Port-style wines are sweet, red, and heavily fortified, with varying levels of wood.

Fortified Ramos Pinto Porto Tawny NV (Porto, Portugal)
December 2009 Bright and clean raisins with moderate wood, with a mellow and slightly musty finish.
$15 / bottle
Fortified Porto Cordovero Fine Ruby NV (Porto, Portugal)
12 January 2008 Dark sweet raisins and surprising amounts of wood for a ruby. Exceptionally heady.
$32 / bottle
Fortified Cockburn Fine Tawny Porto NV (Porto, Portugal)
1 June 2009 Bright raisin fruit with somewhat muddled wood. Unremarkable.
$12 / bottle
Fortified Cruz, Tawny Porto NV (Porto, Portugal)
21 March 2010 Bright sweet raisins with a slight hint of nuts and oxidation on the finish. Relatively simple.
$11 / bottle
Fortified Warre's "Heritage" Ruby Porto NV (Porto, Portugal)
13 March 2008 Fruity dark raisins, light wood. Dry and spicy. Very heady and alcoholic.
$12 / bottle
Fortified Cockburn, Special Reserve Porto, NV (Porto, Portugal)
3 April 2002 Sweet grape and raisin flavor, exceptionally smooth. Heady and strong, with a raisin and date finish.
$15 / bottle
Fortified Taylor Fladgate, 20 Year Tawny Porto NV (Porto, Portugal)
8 January 2007 Dense raisin, date, and nuts over moderate wood. Smooth.
$50 / bottle
Fortified Warre, 20 Year Tawny Porto NV (Porto, Portugal)
11 January 2008 Off-dry, rich raisins and dates over intense wood. Heady.
$45 / bottle
Fortified Warre's, "Warrior" Special Reserve Porto, NV (Porto, Portugal)
15 March 2004 Raisin and plum, with prune and wood incense notes.
$16 / bottle
Fortified Yalumba, Antique Tawny NV (Australia)
24 December 2009 Dark raisins, wood, and nuts with sherry-like oxidization. Mellow and smooth.
$20 / 375ml
Fortified Benjamin, Australian Tawny Port NV (Mildara, Australia)
18 January 2008 Sweet and heady, with nuts and moderate wood. Lighter in flavor and sweeter than many Portuguese tawnies.
$10 / bottle

Sherry style

Real Sherry comes from Jerez in Spain and is an unusual oxidized fortified white wine, with a white raisin flavor and varying amounts of nuts. You can learn more about Sherry on the page on the Wines of Spain and Portugal. Sherry-style wines are made all over the world.

Fortified Osborne, "Pedro Ximinez 1827" Sheet Sherry NV (DO Jerez Manzanilla)
26 May 2011 Sweet raisins and prunes with a bit of petrol. Hot and heady. Relatively little wood.
$18 / bottle
Fortified Gonzalez Byass "Nectar" Pedro Ximinez Sweet Sherry (DO Jerez Manzanilla)
19 July 2007 Dark and syrupy sweet raisins with toasty nuts and faint mushrooms. Powerful and sweet, very rich, long finish.
$?? / bottle
Fortified Wisdom and Warter, Extra Amontillado Sherry (Jerez, Spain)
3 April 2002 Strong nutty flavor, and a primary flavor best described as shitake mushroom. Long and lingering. Very strong and intense.
$11 / bottle
Fortified Bodegas Toro Albala, "Don PX" Pedro Ximinez 1971 (DO Montilla Moriles, Spain)
26 July 2010 Rich dark sun-dried raisins and molasses. Extremely smooth mouthfeel and very mellow with abundant wood. Clean fruit with minimal earthiness and nuts.
$43 / bottle
Fortified Alvear, Solera 1927 Pedro Ximinez (DO Montilla Moriles, Spain)
10 May 2008 Pure liquid raisins, heady with a nutty wood feel.
$21 / 375ml
Fortified Domecq, Medium Dry Amontillado Sherry (Jerez, Spain)
31 May 2004 Off-dry, with a deep toasty wood flavor and roasted almonds.
$13 / bottle
Fortified Lustau, "Capataz Andres" Solera Reserve Cream Sherry (Jerez, Spain)
2003 Rich nutty flavor, with strong wood undertones. Thick, syrupy texture, very intense and alcoholic.
$14 / bottle

Muscat dessert wines

Intense dessert wines can be made from the moscato (muscat) grape, sometimes fortified. These wines are sweet and taste like more intense versions of the basic moscato. In Spain, these are usually moscatel; in France, much of it is Muscat de Beaumes de Venise; worldwide, it is usually sold as Muscat or Moscato. This list includes only still wine; the lighter (but still sweet) Moscato d'Asti is excluded.

White Vicente Gandia "Fusta Nova" Moscatel 2004 (DO Valencia, Spain)
6 January 2008 Sweet nectar, white raisins, and almonds. Heady and rich.
$13 / 500ml
White Oro Penedes Hill, Muscat-Xarel.lo 2004 (DO Penedes, Spain)
16 October 2007 Blend of Parellada/Macabeo/Xarel.lo/Muscat 20/20/25/35. Riesling-like floral fruit, light tropical hints, slightly sweet, very short and watery finish.
$8 / bottle
White Yarden, Muscat 2003 (Galilee Region, Israel)
4 September 2009 Syrupy sweet with orange blossoms and slight fruit pungency on finish.
$14 / 500ml
Fortified Chambers, Rosewood Vineyards Muscat NV (Rutherglen, Australia)
10 May 2008 Lovely oranges and peaches, rounded out with nuts and wood. Syrupy sweet and tasty.
$17 / 375ml
White Bodegas Santo Cristo, Moscatel Ainzon NV (DO Campo de Borja, Spain)
14 December 2007 Dense, sweet peach, melons, honey, and nectar. Thick texture, bright on the tongue, heady.
$14 / bottle
White Domaine de la Pigeade, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 1999 (AOC Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, France)
28 February 2004 Sweet melon and peach juice with a fair tang. Not at all cloying.
$13 / 375ml
White Domaine de Coyeux, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise 2001 (AOC Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, France)
20 June 2007 Sweet and heady melon, nectar, and spicy honey.
$14 / 375ml
White Sister Creek Vineyards, Muscat Canelli 2006 (USA)
22 April 2009 Rich sweet apricot and clover honey with the faintest hint of orange on the finish. Heavy mouthfeel. Quite sweet.
$13 / bottle
White Sister Creek Vineyards, Muscat Canelli Reserve 2007 (USA)
14 February 2010 Rich, sweet, and full-bodied. Bold peach and apricot with a strong hint of spiciness on the nose and finish. Zesty.
$17 / bottle
White Flat Creek Estate, Moscato Blanco 2005 (Texas Hill Country, Texas)
27 August 2008 Sweet and intense pears and apricots with light hints of nectar and tangerine. Smooth and not sticky.
$16 / 500ml
White Llano Estacado, "Vintner's Selection" Muscat Canelli NV (USA)
2004 Very sweet, with bold honeysuckle and melon, with a touch of spice. Round and plump. Sugary finish.
$9 / bottle
White Texas Hills Vineyard, "Newsom Vineyard" Orange Moscato 2003 (Texas)
27 August 2006 Sweet peaches and apricot, mild citrus, honey, high acid. Tasty.
$16 / 500ml
White Texas Hills Vineyard, "Newsom Vineyard" Orange Moscato 2005 (Texas)
11 September 2008 Sharp and racy with abundant citrus and spicy nectar. Crisp and not at all syrupy. Very high acid.
$18 / 500ml
White Texas Hills Vineyard, "Newsom Vineyard" Orange Moscato 2006 (Texas High Plains)
28 June 2011 Ripe melons, honey, peach, nectar, and jelly. Spicy finish. Plumper and rounder mouthfeel.
$20 / 500ml
White Fredericksburg Winery, Newsom Vineyard Late Harvest "Vintner's Select Reserve" Orange Muscat 2002 (Texas High Plains)
30 April 2010 Bright and crisp peach, apricot, and oranges. Sweet but not at all sticky.
$?? / 375ml
White Noah, Muscat 2005 (Judean Hills, Israel)
18 February 2008 Lively, spicy attack with dense and heady floral and grape essences and loads of honeysuckle and botrytis flavor. High alcohol. Heavy and sweet finish. Tastes more like Sauternes than Moscatel, but slightly lighter.
$16 / 500ml

Ice Wine and German-style Dessert Wine

This category includes dessert-style rieslings (beerenauslese and up) and ice wines, and their equivalents around the world. While Auslese-level wines are certainly quite sweet, they are left out as they are not often used as after-dinner drinks served in tiny glasses (and they would overwhelm the list).

White Valkenberg, Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese 1994 (QmP Pfalz, Germany)
2003 Very dense, like liquid raisins. Syrupy nectar flavors with moderate earthy tones and light mineral scent.
$34 / 375ml
White BH, Silvaner Eiswein 1997 (QmP Pfalz, Germany)
17 November 2006 Sweet nectar with spicy honey, melon, and light floral tones. Rich.
$40 / 375ml
White Weingut Heinfried Dexheimer, Alzeyer Rotenfels, Siegerrebe Beerenauslese 1999 (QmP Rheinhessen, Germany)
Fall 2002 Very rich and intense and heady. Thick nectar flavor and extremely zesty floral spice, like drinking sweet wildflowers. Woody and earthy finish. Very potent.
$15 / 375ml
White Hermann J. Wiemer, Select Late Harvest Riesling 2003 (Finger Lakes, New York)
20 January 2008 Sweet and rich, with flavors of nectar, honey, apples, and flowers. Slight tartness and headiness in the finish.
$35 / 500ml
White Hermann J. Wiemer, Bunch Select Late Harvest Riesling 2006 (Finger Lakes, New York)
25 January 2008 Strong and rich, bursting with forward peach, apricot, honey, nectar, and flowers. Extremely concentrated but deceptively pale in color. Extremely sweet with a sticky sugary finish.
$50 / 500ml
White Herzog, Late Harvest White Riesling 2005 (Monterey, California)
9 March 2009 Intensely sweet honey and nectar with a slight touch of citrus zest in the finish. Almost syrup-like and sickly-sweet.
$22 / bottle
White Jackson-Triggs, "Proprietor's Reserve" Vidal Icewine 2002 (VQA Niagara Peninsula, Canada)
?? Dense (but not overwhelming) sweetness with phenol, apricot, and nectarine notes. Hints of tropical citrus or pineapple in an ever-shifting fruit blend.
$19 / 187ml

Sauternes style

Sauternes is a sweet white wine from Bordeaux that has been attacked by the botrytis fungus, which removes much of the water in the grape, leading to richer and more concentrated flavors. Although the French Sauternes is the best known example of this style, botrytis-infected dessert wines are made worldwide.

White Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey Sauternes 2003 (AOC Sauternes, France)
8 August 2009 Deep syrup with orange blossoms, honey, and spice. Exceedingly rich. Never-ending finish.
$35 / bottle
White Maison Nicolas, "Reserve" Sauternes 1999 (AOC Sauternes, France)
2002 Light and sweet, with citrus and floral scents.
$11 / 375ml
White Chateau Bastor-Lamontagne, Sauternes 1997 (AOC Sauternes, France)
2002 Rich and heady honey and ambrosia flavor, with flowers and a moderate mineral backing. Faint nut and wood flavors.
$30 / 375ml
White Chateau Haut-Mayne, Sauternes 1998 (AOC Sauternes, France)
2002 Deep mineral and melon flavor with light grassy tones. Very sweet. Slightly spicy. Intense and rich.
$19 / 375ml
White Chateau du Mont, "Premieres Tries" Saint-Croix-du-Mont 1998 (AOC Saint-Croix-du-Mont, France)
13 March 2002 Extremely bold and powerful grapefruit flavor, with lots of honey. Oily/syrupy texture, like liqueor. No discernable grape flavor. Botrytisized flavor in the extreme.
$12 / bottle
White Southern Highland Wines, Golden Vale Botrytis Chardonnay 2004 (South Eastern Australia, Australia)
28 May 2008 Sticky and spicy, with honeyed fruit and a slight damp mushroom taste.
$6 / 375ml
White Peter Lehmann, "The Barossa" Botrytis Semillon 1999 (Barossa Valley, Australia)
24 July 2004 Heady and overblown, with biting sweetness and petrol flavors.
$13 / 375ml

Other Styles

These dessert wines didn't fit in elsewhere.

White Becker Vineyards, "Clementine" Late Harvest Viognier 2005 (USA)
19 March 2010 Intense peach, apricot, and citrus fruit over ample sweetness. A fruit cup in a glass.
$15 / 375ml
Red Granat, "Stradivari" 50/50 Cabernet/Merlot Off-Dry 1998 (Trifesti / S Moldova)
2004 Cloyingly, almost artificially sweet, with round blackberry and grape juice over wood. Violin bottle.
$?? / bottle
Fortified Kourtaki, Mavrodaphne of Patras NV (OPE Mavrodafni, Greece)
9 June 2010 Plump raisin grapes with a slight hint of nuttiness. Like a port trying to be sherry, but not as intense. Made from (red) Mavrodafni and Korinthiaki grapes solera-style.
$10 / bottle