Jon Bonne, wine writer for the San Francisco Chronicle recently wrote a piece about sweet wines. Go read it. I’ll wait. Done? Good.
I tend to agree with him. Sweet wines aren’t just for dessert. They pair nicely with many foods, not just cake, particularly the rich “feasting” type foods that come out during the holidays, not to mention spicy foods like Thai or Vietnamese.
And they make great gifts, too.
Sweet wines are also the “gateway” wines, the wines that tempt the non-wine drinkers over to the Grape Side of things. The sweet wines, lacking strong tannins and puckering acidity, are “friendlier” for the new wine drinkers.
Many so called “table wines” are also sweet. They have some residual sugar left over from the fermentation and it makes them both easier to drink and more popular with non-wine types. Though, I have been admonished by wine makers not to call their sweet reds “sweet” but to say “fruity”. But I know the difference between sweet and fruit.
Calling a wine “sweet” is not necessarily a pejorative.