Sometimes after dinner you just want a little something sweet. But, maybe not to eat. Here are two lovely Long Island wines that will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth. But, unlike wines that are simply sweet and taste like sugar water, both of these local gems are beautifully balanced with just enough acidity to keep the wines from being one-note or cloying.
Macari Vineyards 2021 Early Wine
The first, Macari Vineyards’ 2021 Early Wine is such an interesting wine. It’s produced from 100% chardonnay. The grapes are harvested early for optimal acidity and fermented slow and cold. A medley of fruit flavors and aromas meld seamlessly, with candied peach, lemon, pear, and green apple in front, and a touch of ginger near the end. The acidity on the finish keeps this wine fresh. It retails for $26 and, though sweet, it is not sold as a dessert wine and therefore comes in a regular size bottle.
Lieb Cellars Reserve Dessert Wine
Our next decadent delight is the Lieb Cellars Reserve Dessert Wine which is created with 42% pinot blanc, 40% riesling and 18% sauvignon blanc. This wine is full-bodied, rich, and silky, and though served cold, it still has a warming liqueur quality that is present in most dessert wines. The notes of caramelized apricots and peach are tantalizing, and yet again, there is enough acidity in the finish of this wine to balance the wonderful sweetness. A bottle retails for $35 and is in the traditional dessert shape, which is half the size of a regular bottle.
Wine vs. Dessert Wine
Touching on one other difference between a sweet regular wine, and a dessert wine is the alcohol content. I advise my readers who are looking for a very sweet or very dry regular — not dessert — wine to check the alcohol content of the wine.
Sugar is converted into alcohol during fermentation. Leftover sugar is residual sugar. Not to get too technical, but in regular wine, the lower the alcohol content, usually, but not always, the sweeter the wine. The lovely 2021 Early Wine from Macari Vineyards is 10.5% alcohol.
However, in the case of dessert wines, they can be sweet, but still retain a high alcohol content. This can be done a number of ways. It can be attained by late harvest grapes which allows the fruit more time to ripen, or ice wines which allow the juice in the grapes to freeze and become extremely concentrated.
It can also use a process known as fortification, a subject for another column. The stunning Lieb Cellars Reserve Dessert Wine has an alcohol content of 14%.