DessertВ wine has a polarizing reputation. Popular opinions against it suggest that wine can only be truly greatВ when it is bitter and tangy. While we wouldn't necessarily disagree that there are more than a handful of wonderful bottles like those, this assessment ignores a broad spectrum of other flavors and occasions for wine. Dessert wine is as worthy for worship as any greatВ cabernet or prosecco. Many are not just sweet but include punches of spice or waves of cacao-like bitterness.
Anyone that has ever taken a side against dessert wine needs better recommendations for the right amount of sweet for their palette. Luckily, we have put together a handy list for just that purpose.
Whether buying for yourself, a friend, or a party, any of the bottles below will be a conversation starter, to say the least. With any luck, wine with dessert will become your new tradition.Graham's Vintage Port 2011 $100Shop
Ports are a reliable indulgence, paired best with the most sinful dishes. This particular vintage evokes deep notes of fruit that can be interpreted as bitter due toВ their similarity to chocolate. Aptly,В this port is meant to be drunk alongside chocolate mousse or Roquefort cheese.Chateau Climens Sauternes 2005 $130Shop
Sweet apples and honey are predominant in this rich wine. It is so aromatic that its flavors both in its nose and your own allow it to stand alone. Even its aftertaste is worth raving about, making this an all-around treat.Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes 2011 $200Shop
If you have not considered the possibilities of tropical flavors in your wine, now's the time. This Sauternes blend from Chateau d'Yquem in southern France has been described as including notes of peach, guava, papaya, and mango.Sine Qua Non Mr. K Ice Man Viognier $200Shop
This sweet wine from California is known not just for its saccharine palette but also its spice. The acidity is unmistakable, complete with a complementary aftertaste of nectar.Blandy's Bual Madeira $50Shop
Madeira has its own distinct taste, thanks to its unique winemaking process, where heat is added for fortification. This bottle in particular has a smokiness that gives way to its fresh final note.Smith Woodhouse Vintage Port 2016 $82 $70Shop
Deep, nearly violet reds come through in this dessert wine. If you can invest in the Smith Woodhouse Port now, go for it; the dark textures and flavors will continue to ripen for a few years, so this will last more than one celebration.Klein Constantia Vin de Constance $95Shop
Need something unexpected? This 2013 bottle starts sweet, reminiscent of the golden hues of honey and caramel, and then a spicy taste lingers afterward. The bold wine originates from Klein Constantia's vineyard in South Africa.Chateau Guiraud Sauternes 2011 $40Shop
As seen with the Sauternes from Chateau d'Yquem, this classic Bordeaux contains a diverse set of flavors. This time they are slightly more underwhelming, which allows it a chance to truly envelop your taste buds.Taylor Fladgate 20 Year Tawny $55 $50Shop
Taylor Fladgate ages wines in wood, and the longevity of this Port is apparent from the first whiff. Spice and fruit mingle brilliantly on the tongue and can do even more with a sweet dessert plate to accompany it.Saracco Moscato d'Asti 2017 $18 $16Shop
Light colors and flavors mark this sweet Moscato. It makes for a great summer wine, containing hints of peach, apricot, and, more surprisingly, sage. The creamy texture will feel like the smooth after-dinner treat it is meant to complement.
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