Sweet red wines are a delicious specialty of the wine world that mainly brings together products made with the sweetest grapes and the generous ones with interrupted fermentation so that they retain greater amounts of natural sugars.
The following is a selection of the best types of sweet red wines worldwide, so you can enjoy them with your favorite desserts and dishes.
Banyuls are fortified sweet wines with designation of origin in 4 French municipalities (Banyuls-sur-Mer, Port-Vendres, Collioure and Cerberus) in the Pyrénées-Orientales Department of the Occitanie Region.
They come from old vines planted on steep terraces, on the slopes of the French side of the Albères Massif, where the eastern end of the Pyrenees Mountains joins the Mediterranean Sea.
There are about 1,750 hectares of vineyards supported by more than 6,000 km of schist stone walls, some from the 5th century BC. Visible in the distance are the “crow’s feet”, a network of stone canals started by the Knights Templar, which serves to remove excess water generated during infrequent but very intense storms.
The predominant grape in Banyuls (at least 50%) is Grenache noir and they are fortified with wine alcohol halfway through fermentation, passing a minimum aging period of 10 months.
Due to its steep slope, the vineyards cannot be worked under any automation or mechanization procedure, which gives the Banyuls all the spirit and intensity of completely natural wines.
Types of Banyuls wine
There are basically two types of red wines: Banyuls and Banyuls Grand Cru. The first has a minimum of 50% black Garnacha and the second, 75%. The rest of the grapes in the mix are the same, including Garnacha gris, Cariñena and Garnacha blanca, and rarely Moscatel, Malvasia and Macabeo.
The normal red Banyuls is aged for at least 10 months, while the Banyuls Grand Cru is aged in barrels for a minimum of 30 months. This wine is similar to Port, but with less alcohol. There are also some white Banyuls, produced in smaller volumes than the red ones.
The Banyuls Grand Cru is more complex due to its longer aging time in oak barrels, which is expressed in aromas of cooked fruit, tobacco, mocha and vanilla, with delicate roasting and spice notes. It is long, full and round in the mouth.
Banyuls wine pairing
Banyuls red wines are perfect to accompany sweet desserts, especially chocolate and cream and fig cakes, as well as foie gras and blue cheeses. It is used as an ingredient in the lobster stew recipe, a typical dish of French Catalonia.
One of the famous types of Italian sweet red wines is Brachetto, made from the Italian red grape variety of the same name. It is native to Piedmont, a region in which it is most widespread, specifically in the provinces of Asti and Alessandria, near the Tanaro river, between the Belbo and Bormida rivers, as well as in the province of Cuneo.
The Brachetto grape is called Borgogna in Canelli, a commune in the province of Asti, located in a bend in the Belbo river, near the border with the Langhe, a beautiful area of hills in the province of Cuneo. This is the production area for the red Brachetto d’Acqui, which is made in regular and sparkling styles.
The Brachetto grapes give light-bodied wines, aromatically intense on the nose, with a particular reminiscence of strawberries. The sparkling Brachetto d’Acqui is similar to Lambrusco and is drunk by many consumers as a red equivalent of the Moscato d’Asti white wine produced in the province of Asti.
Types of Brachetto wine
It admits a maximum of 3% of non-Brachetto grapes and the vineyards have to be mountainous. It is ruby red, with a delicate aroma and a mild, sweet flavor.
Sparkling Brachetto d’Acqui
It has a persistent and fine foam and an intermediate ruby color. Its aroma is delicately musky and on the palate it is sweet and smooth.
It comes from the provinces of Alessandria, Asti and Cuneo. It is ruby red with a tendency to pink and a slightly musky aroma. Sweet and delicate on the palate.
Piedmont Brachetto sparkling
It is a more or less intense ruby color, with delicate aromas of musk and a sweet and fine flavor.
Piedmont novello Brachetto
Ruby red with a tendency to pink, musky on the nose and varied sweetness on the palate.
Brachetto wine pairing
Normal Brachetto wines are recommended to accompany desserts and dry pasta at the end of the meal. Sparkling pairs well with wild berry fruit tarts, plain fruit salads, and fresh strawberries. Likewise, they are appreciated in appetizers with cheese and salami.
Among the types of sweet French red wines, the Maury appellation stands out, a small terroir located in the prefecture of Perpignan, in the Occitanie region. The vineyards are between the Corberas Catalanas and the foothills of the Pyrenees in an area of about 50 km 2 .
It is a fortified sweet wine, whose added wine alcohol is 5-10% of the volume of must used.
There are two types of Maury wines: white and red. The product comes from musts with a natural sugar content of at least 252 grams per litre. As a result, Maury wines contain unfermented sugars that impart their natural sweetness. The Maury vineyards date back to at least the time of the Templars
The alchemist and physician of the Kingdom of Aragon and the University of Montpellier, Arnaud de Villeneuve, was already producing it steadily at the end of the 13th century.
The French Revolution recognized the exceptionality of Maury wines and they obtained the first legal status of protection in 1872 by the National Assembly. The appellation of origin arrived in 1936.
Types of Maury wine
They mainly carry black Garnacha grapes, complemented by white and gray Garnacha, black Carignan and Syrah and white Macabeu. They are ruby red, dense and deep. On the nose they show an intense palette, reminiscent of sour cherries, blackberries and red berries. On the palate they are tannic, warm and robust, with flavors of fresh fruit and dried fruit.
They are produced with white Grenache, complemented with gray Grenache and white Macabeu and Tourbat.
Maury wine pairing
The red Maury is recommended to accompany chocolate cake, Bavarian cherry and strawberry cream, Christmas log with chocolate and red berries, roasted with honey and cherry jubilee.
Among the fortified sweet wines of Greece, the one made with the Mavrodafni black grape, native to the Achaia Region, north of the Peloponnese Peninsula, stands out. The word means “black laurel” in Greek, and identifies the wine produced since the mid-19th century by the Clauss winery, in the city of Patras.
The product is initially vinified in large vats in the sun and as fermentation progresses, the process is stopped by adding grape alcohol from previous vintages, preserving a good amount of natural sugars that give it its characteristic sweetness.
The wine is then transferred to underground barrels to finish maturation in contact with old wine, applying the serial blending hearth procedure.
It is a dark purple wine that manifests itself on the nose with aromas of caramelized fruit and marzipan, with a note of oxidation. On the palate it is a fruity explosion, especially of raisins and plums, and fresh acidity, adding notes of caramel, coffee and chocolate. It is harmonious, balanced and with a good finish. It is the sacramental wine of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Types of Mavrodafni wine
Mavrodafni is a unique type of wine and the most famous of those produced by the Clauss winery, founded in the 19th century by the Bavarian Gustav Clauss. The other wine from the winery is Demestika
Mavrodafni wine pairing
Mavrodafni is sold as a dessert wine and is one of the best companions for chocolate candies. It goes very well with dark chocolate, chocolate cakes, nuts and cheeses with a strong character, including blue ones.
It is the most popular type of sweet red wine in Latin America and the world, especially due to its low price and lower alcohol content, which makes it one of the favorites of the female and young public. It is a sparkling wine with a marked fruity impulse, ideal for casual occasions that require a soft and fun product.
It is produced with the black Lambrusco grape in several Italian terroirs in Emilia-Romagna and one in Lombardy. The grape was already known in classical antiquity by the Etruscans and Romans and the historian Pliny the Elder recorded the yields it produced in winemaking.
It is the most consumed Italian red wine in Italy and one of the best-selling in the United States. The most popular are the red and pink lambruscos and white is also made. Its alcohol content is slightly higher than the average beer, making it a mild drink, but not recommended for minors.
Types of Lambrusco wine
It is the region with the highest production and export. The sweetest wines are light-bodied and the driest are dark in color.
Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro
Region located south of Modena that produces a dry, deep purple red wine. It is the most tannic of the Lambruscos.
Region of Lombardy that produces the only Lambrusco with designation of origin outside of Emilia-Romagna. There are dry and semi-dry.
Lambrusco Salamino di Santa Croce
Region located near the Emilian village of Sorbara. The wine must be made from at least 90% of the Lambrusco Salamino grape, so named because the clusters resemble salami.
Lambrusco di Sorbara
A terroir near Sorbara that produces the most fragrant Lambruscos. It is similar to Lambrusco Salamino, but a little darker.
Lambrusco wine pairing
Lambrusco is a wine that pairs well with some Emilian cuisine dishes, characterized by its fat content and strong aroma. Among these dishes are those prepared with pork, lamb and sausages. It also pairs well with local cheeses, such as Parmesan-Reggiano and Grana Padano.
It is a wine for gastronomic use in typical regional dishes such as pasta with Lambrusco, risotto with Lambrusco, zampone and cotechino. Similarly, it is used as an ingredient in cocktails, mixed with liquors and fruits and consumed as an appetizer. It has applications in wine therapy for its skin care properties.
Ports are one of the best-known types of fortified sweet red wines in the world. Portugal was one of the countries that contributed the most to the Great Discoveries of the 16th and 17th centuries, a time when it was necessary to stabilize the wine for the consumption of sailors on great voyages.
This is how this fortified and stabilized wine with grape alcohol, original from the Alto Duero Region, was consolidated.
The most popular Port is the Ruby, produced from varietals of red grapes. It is more or less intense red in color and has the fruity aroma of young wines. It is stored in stainless steel or cement tanks after fermentation to prevent oxidation and is then refined and cold filtered before being bottled.
The Alto Douro Wine Region is located in the northeast of Portugal and covers an area of 26,000 hectares. It is bathed by the Duero River and was designated a World Heritage Site in 2001 for its beauty and importance as a cultural landscape.
Types of Port wines
There are several types of Port, highlighting the following.
The most consumed and lowest price. They do not improve with time in the bottle, although the Premium category can have up to 6 years of maturation in wooden barrels.
It is aged in oak barrels gradually evolving to a golden brown tone. The most expensive are those that indicate the age on the label, which is usually 10, 20, 30 and 40 years.
They are the Port wines with the highest price and the only ones aged in the bottle, for reductive periods of between 10 and 50 years.
It is a recent addition (year 2008) to the Port range of products. Technically it is a Tawny that takes on a pink color due to the reduction in the time of exposure of the must to the skins.
There are various styles and degrees of sweetness depending on the aging period and the manufacturing process.
Port wine pairing
Ruby Port goes very well with desserts such as cheesecakes and creamy or semi-cured cheeses. If the cheese is very mature or strong, the best option is a Tawny that is at least 20 years old.
The younger Vintages go perfectly with chocolate mousse and cakes. Young Tawnys pair excellently with light fruit desserts, custards, almond cakes, and vanilla or dried fruit ice cream.
What are sweet red wines?
Among the sweetest red wines are those that are fortified, since grape alcohol is added to them in the middle of the fermentation process to stabilize them. This addition stops the fermentation and the product retains a large amount of undecomposed natural sugars that impart its sweetness. In addition, there are grapes that contain more sugar than others, so they can give sweeter wines.
Which red wine is the sweetest?
Port wines, those made from the Lambrusco grape, and Sherry wines made from the Moscatel grape are among the sweetest reds. In Mexico, Generoso Ferriño is an excellent fortified wine with a pleasant sweetness and an alcoholic content of 15%. It is ruby in color and on the nose it is fruity and caramelized, while on the palate it leaves notes of fruit and chocolate. It is produced in the Cuatrociénagas Valley (Coahuila) by Bodegas Ferriño.
Which is sweeter Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon?
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes have two things in common: they both originate from the famous wine-growing area of Bordeaux, in the French region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, and they are the 2 most popular worldwide for the aging of fine wines. The Merlot grape is sweeter than the Cabernet Sauvignon and its wines are less dry and tannic, so they feel sweeter on the palate. The microclimate and the fermentation process also influence the sweetness of the grape and the wine.
What is the difference between a Merlot and Cabernet red wine?
Cabernet Sauvignon wine contains more intense tannins and is drier and denser than Merlot, making it less sweet on the palate. The Merlot is a soft wine, with fruity and herbal aromas, while the Cabernet Sauvignon has more body. Both grapes are used for blends in the production of excellent wines, along with Malbec, another fruit native to Bordeaux.
What kind of wine is Lambrusco?
It is a sweet and sparkling red wine made from the Lambrusco grape in Italian terroirs located in Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy. It is one of the most popular wines in the world due to its low price and average alcohol content of only 8%. It is widely consumed by the young public, who drink it to accompany pizzas, pastas and other casual meals. Its sweet and fruity flavor and its bubbles make it more like a fine soft drink with some alcohol, than a wine in the classic sense.
What is the difference between Carmenere and Cabernet?
Carmenere is one of six Bordeaux grapes, along with Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, with which it is related. Cabernet Sauvignon is often called a Carmenere clone. The reason that Carmenere wines are not among the best sellers is that it is a difficult grape to grow and has lower yields. Carmenere wine is slightly less tannic and dense than Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sweet red wines at Walmart Mexico
Some sweet reds available at Walmart Mexico are:
Riunite Lambrusco 750 ml (price: MXN 133): a wine from Emilia-Romagna (Italy), fruity on the nose and smooth on the palate. Sweet, sparkling and light, good to accompany pasta and pizza.
World Table Lambrusco red wine 750 ml (price: MXN 102): Italian red wine ideal for a casual gathering with family and friends. Its notes are strawberries, cherries and fresh raspberries. It comes with a decanter for easy serving.
Ferreira Oporto Tawny 750 ml (price: MXN 390): it is a fine wine with a fruity flavor, perfect to accompany sweets, nuts and cookies.
Mild red wine for women
Casa Madero 3V is a delicate Mexican red wine produced by Bodega Casa Madero in Valle de Parras, Coahuila. It comes from a mix of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo grapes and leaves a smooth fruity sensation of strawberries and blackberries on the palate, with notes of cinnamon, coffee, chocolate and toasted wood. Another smooth Mexican red is Barón Balché Dulché, produced by the prestigious Barón Balché winery in Valle de Guadalupe. Likewise, the Santo Tomás Tardo Merlot, ideal to close a special celebration in style.
cheap sweet red wine
It is difficult to get cheaper sweet red wines than Lambrusco, especially since the enormous production for the whole world (more than 80 countries) allows to minimize unit costs and offer more convenient prices for the general public. Among the Mexican national wines, those from Bodega Cuatro Soles (Fruity Four Soles Sparkling Red Wine) and Bodega Ferriño (Vino Generoso Ferriño), have excellent quality/price ratios and are ideal for livening up any casual celebration.
How to know if a wine is sweet
Before uncorking it and trying it, pay attention to the label. Lambruscos and sparkling Brachettos are sweet wines. If the wine is fortified or fortified, it will likely taste sweet because it contains more natural, unfermented sugars. Among these are Port (Portugal), Banyuls and Maury (France), Mavrodafni (Greece), Ferriño (Mexico), Jerez and Manzanilla (Spain), Los Stradivarius Casa Bianchi and Trapiche Profuso Malbec (Argentina) and Calyptra Gran Reserva Fortificado ( Chile).
Sweet and smooth Mexican red wines
In the line of red, sparkling and low-priced wines, Cuatro Soles afrutado is a recent label in the product portfolio of Bodega Cuatro Soles, in Aguascalientes. Its price is around 170 MXN for the 1.7-liter bottle. It is a fresh and pleasant wine that livens up any informal meeting to enjoy Mexican cuisine. This winery completes its wine labels with a red wine aged in oak barrels, a young red wine and a rosé wine.
Chilean sweet red wine
The Calyptra Gran Reserva Fortificado is one of the best Chilean wines in the generous category. It comes from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah and spends 5 years in oak barrels. It is bright red in color and offers liquor red fruits on the nose that extend to the palate, along with notes of dark chocolate and coffee. Excellent for desserts, especially those containing dark chocolate, and cheeses. It is produced by Viña Calyptra, whose vineyards and winery are in the Alto Cachapoal Valley, near Rancagua.
What is sweet red wine
The sweetness of red wine is primarily a combination of the type of grape and the fermentation process. Among the sweetest grapes are Moscatel, Lambrusco, Brachetto and those used to make Port wines. The fermentation process is equally key to the sweetness of a wine. To the extent that the decomposition of carbohydrates is stopped earlier, the wine will retain more natural sugars and will be sweeter.
Types of sweet red wines : The Stradivarius Casa Bianchi
The Stradivarius Porto de Mangoas is an Argentine fortified wine produced by the Casa Bianchi winery (Mendoza) through the traditional method used by the Portuguese in the production of Port. It is made with equal proportions of Merlot and Malbec and spends 18 months in the barrel and 12 in the bottle. It is intense red, with aromas of figs in syrup, honey and dried fruit. On the palate it is pleasant, silky and persistent, revealing its high content of alcohol and sugar.
We hope that this information will be useful for you the next time you plan a meal with delicious dishes, delicious desserts and a long table. Share it with your friends so that they also know which are the best types of sweet red wines and make the best selection for each occasion.
- Read our guide on the 20 best Chilean wines you should drink
- We leave you our guide with the 17 best Italian wines that you must try
- Click here to know the 30 best French wines that you must drink