You may think it’s as simple as reading the label on a wine bottle, but in reality even the most experienced connoisseur will occasionally be surprised. It can really be a downer at dinner when the wine you picked out at the store is too sweet to go with your main course, or tastes too bland with your dessert.
While the majority of wines are dry, an important segment of the wine universe is populated by wines of varying degrees of sweetness, each one wonderful in its own way. The best known dessert wines come from France (Sauternes, Loire, Alsace, the southern Muscat’s), Germany (the various *leses), Austria, Italy (Vin Santo), Hungary (Tokaji), California, Australia and South Africa. The bottle markings, such as Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese give only an approximate idea of the sweetness and the neighboring categories overlap.