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  1. Seifried Estate Sweet Agnes Riesling (half bottle)
    CountryNew Zealand
    £17.99 per bottle
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  2. Château Audinet (half bottle)
    Sémillon-based blend
    Top vintage of lusciously sweet and honeyed Sauternes, underscored by a tight core of lemon acidity
    £13.99 per bottle when you mix 6+
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  3. L'Epiphanie de Sauternes (half bottle)
    Sémillon-based blend
    Glorious, complex, honeyed Sauternes from a top Cru Classé estate, so fine we musn't name them
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  4. LC Sauternes (half bottle)
    Sémillon-based blend
    Superb, hush-hush parcel of the finest Sauternes from a First Growth estate. Luscious in half bottle
    £20.00 per bottle
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    LC Sauternes (magnum)
    Sauvignon-based blend
    Superb, hush-hush parcel of the finest Sauternes from a First Growth estate. Luscious and complex
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  6. LC Sauternes
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    Superb, hush-hush parcel of the finest Sauternes from a First Growth estate. Luscious and complex
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    LC Sauternes
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    Superb, hush-hush parcel of the finest Sauternes from a First Growth estate. So luscious and honeyed
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Wine FAQs
What is dessert wine?

In the broadest sense, a dessert wine is any wine enjoyed after a meal or with dessert. But more specifically,  dessert wine (sometimes called pudding wine) refers to a sweet wine, with rich flavours and a higher alcohol content.

Dessert wines come in a wide range of styles, from still to sparkling, and are made from different grape varieties and have varying sweetness levels.

Although the name implies they are drunk exclusively with desserts, these wines also pair excellently with cheese courses and can be enjoyed as a glass of standalone indulgence.

What are the different styles of dessert wine?

There are countless different types of dessert wines, but most options fall into one of five styles:

  • Lightly sweet dessert wines – typically made from refreshing fruity white grapes, such as Riesling, Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Gewürztraminer. These wines are bursting with flavours like vanilla, citrus, peach, apple, pear and tropical fruits, and they’re perfect for serving with late-summer desserts such as fruit tarts and pavlovas.
  • Richly sweet dessert wines – known for their intense sweetness and rich flavours. They’re made from high-quality grapes in an unfortified style and often deliver luscious textures and intricate layers of fried fruits and honey. Many of the most popular, richly sweet dessert wines are produced in Europe, with Tokaji Aszú and Vin Santo being notable favourites.
  • Sparkling dessert wines – usually a little drier than other dessert wines, thanks partly to their bubbles, which create a refreshing mouthful. They retain their sweet smell and can range from off-dry (demi-sec or semi-secco) to sweet (doux, dulce or moelleux).
  • Sweet red wines – known for their high sugar content and flavours of ripe berries, cherries and even chocolate notes. Quality sweet red wines have become harder to find in recent years, with consumers preferring more moderate levels of sweetness, but the likes of Lambrusco Dolce and Brachetto d’Acqui remain popular choices.
  • Fortified wines – usually regarded as a distinct category but worth an honorary mention here. Fortified wines are known for their intense, sticky-sweet flavours and high alcohol content – with many containing 17–20% ABV (alcohol by volume). They are created by adding a neutral grape spirit, such as brandy, to the wine during fermentation, and they can be either dry or sweet. There are several specific types of fortified wine, such as Sherry, Port and Madeira, but each one is served in small quantities and best sipped slowly to enjoy its decadent aromas.
How is a dessert wine made?

Although dessert wines have a distinct style and character, they’re generally made the same way as regular wine. Both are made using the same types of grapes, which are crushed and fermented. What makes dessert wines unique are the techniques winemakers use to create higher levels of sugar and alcohol.

Grapes are often harvested later in the season and are subjected to ‘noble rot’ – a good form of fungus that increases the grape’s sweetness and adds unique flavours of ginger, saffron and honey to the wine.

Dessert wine known as ice wine, or ‘Eiswein’ in Germany, is made using grapes that have frozen on the vine. Grapes are harvested much much later, once temperatures drop significantly – usually during the night in the height of winter. 

Sugar is sometimes added before or after fermentation, and water might be removed to concentrate the sugar.

Where is dessert wine made?

Dessert wines are produced across the world but are most commonly associated with mainland Europe and these areas in particular:

Italy – known for wines such as Vin Santo and Moscato d’Asti.

France – home to the Bordeaux-based Sauternes.

Portugal – famous for its fortified wines, such as Port and Madeira.

Germany – known for its sweet Rieslings from the Mosel and the Rheingau.

Spain – known for Pedro Ximénez and dessert Sherry.

Hungary – renowned for its Tokaji Aszú.

Austria – famous for its sweet wines from the Burgenland region.

Greece – produces sweet wines such as Muscat.

Elsewhere, the United States produces many quality fortified wines and Vin Santo styles, while Australia and South Africa are known for their Muscat-based wines.

What desserts can you pair with dessert wine?

As the name suggests, dessert wines are an ideal final flourish to a dinner party. That said, each wine has a distinct flavour profile, so you should choose carefully to find the perfect pairing.

As a rule, you should find a wine with a similar level of sweetness as the dessert. Richer dessert wines, like Port, are best suited to equally intense desserts, such as those featuring dark chocolate or salted caramel. By contrast, the honeyed notes of Sauternes work well with the creamy texture of a sweet fig compote, while the bright acidity of a Riesling balances the sweetness of an apple tart.

For nutty desserts such as almond biscotti, try a Vin Santo or a Muscato. When choosing a lighter, citrus dish like sorbet, consider a Gewürztraminer.

Learn more in our beginner's guide to food and wine pairing

Should dessert wine be chilled?

The ideal serving temperature of a dessert wine depends on its style.

  • Lightly sweet dessert wines such as Riesling, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, and Gewürztraminer are best served at 15–18°C to elevate their delicate floral and juicy fruit flavours.
  • Richly sweet dessert wines should be chilled to unlock their characteristic sweetness without overwhelming their more subtle flavours.
  • Sparkling dessert wines can also be chilled to 6–8°C. A colder temperature highlights the wine’s delicate flavours and adds a little extra sparkle to the bubbles.
  • Sweet red wines are best served slightly below room temperature, typically between 15–18°C. This allows the wine’s rich flavours to be fully appreciated without being overly warm, which can make it too sweet.
How do you serve dessert wine?

The best way to serve dessert wines depends on its style.

Lightly and richly sweet white dessert wines can be served in standard white wine glasses. Its shape helps the wine stay at the best temperature for drinking but also preserves all those delicate, juicy flavours. You can also treat sweet red wines like their table wine equivalents and serve them in a standard red wine or balloon glass.

Sparkling dessert wines should be chilled and poured into a tall flute glass, as you would with other sparkling wines, like Cava, Champagne, and Prosecco. The long stem stops your hand from warming the wine, while the narrow bowl helps concentrate the wine’s flavours and bubbles.

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