The 10 Best Sweet Red Wines

There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day and enjoying a glass of red wine, especially when the wine in question is delicious and well-made. And while some people may assume that wine can’t be sweet, that doesn’t mean it’s true.

In fact, the majority of American red wine takes on a sweeter taste, regardless of the color, shape and size. So if you want to know which bottle of red wine is the sweetest, then you have come to the right place.

While many wine drinkers may poo poo the idea of drinking sweet red wine, there are many exceptional bottles currently on offer, with each one offering a unique taste experience that redefines everything wine is purported to be.

And because there are so many sweet red wines available, we have decided to showcase some of our favorite brands in the following guide.

Not only are the wines on our list sweet, but they also make for the perfect accompaniment to any romantic evening, family dinner or birthday celebration.

So if you are ready to sample some of the best sweet red wines on the market, then this article has everything you need to get started…

OUR TOP PICK

Dal Forno Romano Vigna Sere Veneto Passito Rosso

For the first product on our list, we have chosen one of the sweetest wines you will ever taste, with the delicious blend originating from the clay-laced soil of Tregnago in Northern Italy.

Located half an hour from the heart of Venice, this vineyard has only produced this wine a total of six times in over three decades, which makes it a once in a lifetime experience and one of the most pungent wines on the market.

Made from a heady combination of Corvina, Rondinella, Croatina and Oseleta grapes, this wine is then fermented in oak barrels for 36 months before being bottled and sold to the public.

Because of the unique fermentation, this wine delivers a powerful flavor that carries hints of red berries, licorice and candied violets - with the wine also being known for its notes of plum, chocolate and tobacco.

Distinguished by its brisk and refreshing acidity, this is one red wine that promises to not only tickle your taste buds but make them sing. 

EDITORS CHOICE

Tobin James Zinfandel Late Harvest

This zinfandel is the creative brainchild of winemakers Tobin James and Lance Silver, who have used their skills to make one of the most delicious wines on the market.

Based among the lush vineyards of Paso Robles along the California coast, these winemakers have produced a sweet and spicy blend that packs a powerful and festive punch, with the bottle boasting a jovial and boisterous spirit.

When it comes to tasting this wine, you will immediately notice the heavy notes of plum, blueberry and chocolate, with the blend also carrying hints of raisin, date and spice.

While this wine does fall on the cheaper side of affordability, it should not be overlooked, as it offers a sweet acidity unseen in any other brand.

For the best results, we recommend pairing this wine with barbecue chicken wings, as the flavor combination is simply to die for. 

BEST VALUE

Philip Togni Ca’Togni Sweet Red Wine

Conceived by winemaker Phillip Togni, this organic dessert wine is produced using Togni’s own harvest of rare and fully ripened Hamburg grapes, which gives the blend its distinctive and floral taste.

The wine itself draws creative inspiration from Constantia, a famous dessert wine native to South Africa, although this new blend is also influenced by its Napa Valley origins, which helps to produce a unique tasting experience.

After you open a bottle of this red wine, you will be struck by the heavy notes of prune, honey and spiced tea, with the blend itself boasting an array of different flavors from juicy black cherries to sinful dark chocolate.

These indulgent flavors are then framed by a hint of acidity, creating a delicious and fragrant wine that is ideal for dinners, parties and social gatherings.

While the finish may linger on the palette, we promise you won’t be disappointed with the results. 

RUNNER UP

Quinta Do Vesuvio Vintage Port Capela

Port is a fortified wine that remains a popular choice among the Portuguese people, with the drink now being available in a range of different styles and formats, such as the next title that we have chosen for our list.

Originating from a 15th-century winery located in Douro, this 2017 Capela is a vintage port that has been specially designed for prolonged ageing, with many experts recommending that you open this particular blend in 2030.

Because of its reputation, this port is not your conventional lazy afternoon wine, although those patient few will receive a pungent blend bursting with aromatic notes of black tea, lavender and quince.

Beyond this, the wine also boasts a diverse palette with hints of berry, licorice and mahogany, which will only heighten the longer you wait to open the precious bottle.

When the time comes, you can pair this red wine with a selection of cold meats and cheeses, which makes it the perfect addition to a crisp summer’s day.

RUNNER UP

Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto

Distinguished by its vibrant candy hue, this sparkling wine is just one of the many award-winning blends produced by Banfi and their longtime winemaker Rudy Buratti.

While the winery’s innovations in clonal research are definitely impressive, it is the taste of the wine that we find particularly noteworthy, as this is the kind of wine that will leave you smacking your lips and gasping for more.

Once you look past the blend’s distinctive color, you can truly appreciate the scent and flavor, which boasts a combination of strawberry, raspberry, chocolate and fragrant rose petals.

With just the right amount of fizz and a hint of acidity, this wine is best served chilled, otherwise, you could risk missing out on the blend’s full potential.

While we can’t say if this is the sweetest wine we have ever tasted, we promise it will appease any wine lover with an insatiable sweet tooth.

RUNNER UP

Gerd Anselmann Pfalz Dornfelder

When it comes to German grapes, there is no better variety than the dark-skinned Dornfelder, which grows among the mild climates of the country’s south-western Pfalz region.

However, this region is also the home of the Anselmann estate, a winery that is considered to be one of the best in the land due to its variety of sweet red wines. So if there was ever a German blend to add to your list, this is the one.

Sporting a rich blood-red hue, this wine carries fragrant notes that are bolstered by echoes of cherry, raspberry, dark fruit, vanilla and spice. The medium-bodied blend is also famous for its smooth texture, with the wine itself also containing a touch of mild acidity, which places it firmly on the drier side of sweet.

Due to its candied taste, this wine can be paired with a range of indulgent desserts and should be served fresh from the bottle to yield the best results. 

RUNNER UP

Kourtaki Mavrodaphne Of Patras

Greece is known for its ancient cities, classical theatre and delicious food, but did you know that the country also produces some of the best wines in the world? For example, let’s take a look at this dramatic red from the Kourtakis family, who originally founded their winery in 1895.

Now considered to be one of Greece’s most prominent winemakers, this wine is the lovechild of centuries of family tradition and delivers a punchy sweetness that will blow your mind.

In many ways, this particular blend calls to mind a fine port, with the bottle boasting heavy notes of fig, raisin and brown sugar.

Once you crack this bottle open, you will be greeted with a delicious wine featuring a mix of flavors such as blackberries, dates and molasses.

However, one of the best things about this wine is the strong chocolate taste, which explains why this particular blend pairs so well with real cocoa and sinful desserts.

RUNNER UP

Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz Red Wine

As you can probably guess from the name of this Shiraz, it has been specially produced for the purpose of being a sweet red wine, with the blend itself boasting a unique and vivid flavor unseen anywhere else in the world.

The Shiraz grape is known to thrive in hot climates, which is why it can often be found among the exotic environments of South Africa, where they are used to make sweet and natural wines with no added sugar.

The wine is distinguished by its dark and flavorful nature, with the blend boasting a medley of berries such as blackberry, blueberry, raspberry and strawberry.

Beyond this, the fruity concoction also features hints of dark chocolate, which cut through the sweetness of the berries to produce some much-needed bitterness.

Bold and acidic, this Shiraz is easily one of the best sweet red wines currently available and can be paired with meat dishes such as steak and pork. 

RUNNER UP

San Antonio Cardinale Red Blend

Drawing inspiration from the wines of Northern Italy, this delicious blend was first produced by California’s San Antonio Winery, which has been operated by the Riboli family for more than four generations.

Made from grapes that have been grown in a dry and warm climate, this Cardinale blend is as sweet as red wine can get, which makes it the perfect addition to our list.

Boasting a range of delicious notes, this medium-bodied wine carries echoes of cherry and plum, with the final blend taking on a smooth sweetness that recalls the same taste as marmalade.

Not only is the wine bold and vibrant in nature, but it also comes with a short and pleasant finish, which means you get the flavor without any immediate aftermath.

Thanks to its fruity nature, this wine pairs particularly well with cheese and meats, which can be served alongside bread and grapes for the true wine experience.

RUNNER UP

Botticello Dolce Rosso Lambrusco

As the name would suggest, this sparkling wine is one of Botticello’s finest and features a traditional Italian blend that promises to satisfy even the most discerning palate.

Made in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy, where sparkling Lambruscos are one of their specialties, this wine is best served cold and can be paired with cold meats and cheese for a delicious taste experience.

When sampling this wine for the first time, you will be shocked by the heady aromas of strawberry and raspberry, which blend together with the flavors of florals and smooth cherry to produce a wine unlike any other.

Everything about this particular blend is distinguished by its mildness, such as the mild sweetness, acidity and tannins.

While the wine holds back on many fronts, this does not mean it is anything less than exceptional and therefore the perfect addition to our list.

Final Thoughts

The 10 Best Sweet Red Wines

When it comes to choosing a sweet red wine, you will have to consider the kind of experience you are hoping to get, as some wines will deliver more taste and depth than others.

For example, if you have been searching for a unique wine that offers a one of a kind experience, then the Dal Forno Romano Passito is probably the best choice for you, as it comes with a sublime flavor unseen anywhere else in the world.

However, if you are new to sweet red wines and want to sample something more accessible, then the Philip Togni Ca’Togni should be at the top of your list.

Not only is this particular blend bursting with flavor, but it also promises everything you would expect from a sweet red wine that has been made along the California coast.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Fortified Wine?

In most cases, a bottle of wine will obtain its alcohol during the fermentation process, which is when yeast is added to the blend to transform the natural sugars into alcohol.

Fortified wine is a type of wine that sees an additional spirit (usually grape brandy) being added to the blend, which works to kill the yeast and halt the fermentation process.

By using this method, the winemaker can produce a wine with a higher sugar level, which makes it sweeter than other blends. Classic examples of sweet fortified wines include vermouth, port and certain kinds of sherry.

Are Sweet Red Wines Always Dessert Wines?

While some sweet red wines, such as Port and Passito, are usually served with or as dessert, this does not mean that all sweet wines have been made for that specific purpose.

In fact, there are other styles of sweet red wine that work to complement savory meals, such as Lambrusco and Brachetto D’acqui, which pair particularly well with steak and other meat dishes. Of course, there are also other blends such as Cardinales, which are usually paired with cheese and bread.

How Are Sweet Red Wines Made?

These days, many people assume that wine is made sweeter by adding sugar to a dry blend, which is not always the case. In fact, none of the wines we have listed uses this method, as it is usually reserved for cheaper bottlings found in grocery stores and markets.

Instead, sweet wines will usually rely on the natural sweetness of the grapes to create their flavor, which can be heightened during the fermentation process.

Mandy Winters
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