Wine 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Sparkling and Dessert Wines

Wine Tasting
22.07.2022
Complete Guide to Sparkling and Dessert Wines

Dessert and sparkling wines aren't just for special occasions but for turning any moment into a great memory.

If you’ve got a sweet spot and a sweet tooth for these types of wines, then let’s move on. We’ve prepared a comprehensive guide to dessert and sparkling wines that includes methods of production and an overview of characteristics.

 

What is dessert wine and what you need to know about it

Dessert wine
Dessert wine is a broad category of sweet wines having a pronounced flavor and higher alcohol content than other types of wine. For a lot of people, a dessert wine can be simply any wine enjoyed during dessert. To others, dessert wines are specifically chosen for their sweetness, served in small glasses with thoughtful food pairings for special occasions. But dessert wine can be drunk as an aperitif as well. 

A dessert wine can be made with various grapes and methods of production coming in various degrees of sweetness and ranging from white wines to red wines.

The characteristic of a sweet or dessert wine is the presence of residual sweetness and the residual sugar determines the classification. During the fermentation process, yeast consumes sugar and converts it to alcohol. After fermentation is complete, the remaining sugar determines the sweetness of the wine. Wines with high levels of residual sugar tend to be lower in alcohol if they are not fortified. Winemakers measure residual sugar as grams/liter. Other wine components such as acidity, tannins, and alcohol can all affect sweetness.

The sweeter the wine, the easier it is to keep for longer since high sugar content has a preservative effect. In general, there are four characteristics that oenophiles look for to determine aging potential: acidity, tannin, alcohol, and sugar. 

Basically, dessert wine can be paired with chocolate desserts, vanilla-flavored desserts, apple or pear desserts, warm spice desserts, tiramisu or mocha desserts, citrus curd desserts etc. 

Find dessert wines for a perfect end to your meal at our online shop Wines of Armenia. 

 

Sparkling wine and its characteristics

Sparkling wine

Sparkling wines add fun and glamour to every occasion. In general, sparkling wine can be produced anywhere in the world but there are some types, like Champagne, that come from a specific region only. For the most part, regions that are known for sparkling wine production use grapes that are native to the area. 

Sparkling wine is carbonated via a secondary fermentation, while still wine only goes through one fermentation: the first fermentation is for making the alcohol, and the second fermentation is to make bubbles. The winemaker has a lot of choices to make throughout the entire winemaking process that will greatly affect the way the final wine tastes. They can be made from any red or white grape. Though among sparkling wines white is most common, sparkling rosé and, sometimes, red wines can also be found.

Find best sparkling wines for a perfect end to your meal at our online shop Wines of Armenia. 

Sparkling wines can be dry or sweet expressing a spectrum of flavours that depend on the grapes used, the climate, and the winemaking method. The sweetness level of bubbly wine can range from brut nature to doux, and the flavour can be gentle to very fruity.

These wines have the perfect balance of dryness, bubbles, and fruity cream to enrich any dining experience. Sparkling wines can be paired with shrimp and shellfish, smoked salmon, fried calamari, oysters, salami, stuffed mushrooms, veggies and also fruit-based desserts such as tarts, crepes, and any honeyed or buttered dessert.

A great selection of dessert and sparkling wines from Armenian grape varieties can be found and ordered at the online wine shop Wines of Armenia.