Types of Dessert Wine: Top 5 Wines

What is a Dessert Wine?

Dessert wines are like the final flourish of a symphony, the sweet note that concludes a meal on a high. Among these, certain wines stand out not just for their sweetness but for their rich history, unique production methods, and unparalleled taste. As we delve into the world of dessert wines, let's highlight some of the most beloved types.

The Sweetest Wines are Typically Considered "Dessert Wines"

Even though there is no simple definition of a "dessert wine". The top sweetest wines are Port, Moscato, Ice Wines, Meads and Tokaji Eszencia. Mead in particular is sweet, fruity and made with honey. and the perfect wine list for sweet wine drinkers.

Interested in learning more about sweet wines? We run through the top 8 sweet wines and the perfect wine list for sweet wine drinkers.

5 Most Popular Types of "Dessert Wines"


Port is a fortified wine that captures the rich winemaking heritage of Portugal, particularly from the Douro Valley. The distinctive feature of Port's production is its fortification process, where grape spirit or brandy is added during fermentation. This unique step halts fermentation early, preserving a high level of natural grape sugars while also increasing the alcohol content to around 19%. As a result, Port is celebrated for its substantial residual sweetness, typically around 100 grams per liter, and a rich, complex flavor profile that has captivated dessert wine enthusiasts worldwide.

The variety within Port wines, including Tawny, Ruby, and White Ports, offers a broad spectrum of taste experiences. Tawny Port, aged in wooden barrels, showcases smooth textures and deep flavors of caramel, nuts, and dried fruits. In contrast, Ruby Port retains its vibrant red color and fresh berry flavors through aging in stainless steel tanks or large wooden vats to prevent oxidative aging. Meanwhile, White Port, fermented from white grapes, spans a range from sweet to dry and presents a lighter, more delicate profile. This diversity allows connoisseurs to explore everything from the bold fruitiness of Ruby Ports to the refined complexity of Tawnies and the crisp freshness of White Ports, making Port a versatile choice for various occasions.


Moscato, made from the fragrant Muscat grape, is renowned for its captivating floral aromas and light, fruity flavors. This sweet wine, with an alcohol content usually between 5-10%, offers a refreshing and approachable option for both wine enthusiasts and novices alike. The essence of Moscato lies in its delightful flavors of peach, orange blossom, and nectarine, paired with a gentle sweetness that renders it an adaptable match for a wide array of desserts or as an enjoyable standalone beverage. Its inherent sweetness, balanced by a subtle acidity, ensures Moscato remains a favorite among those who appreciate the sweeter things in life.

Moscato's versatility is further showcased through its availability in still, slightly sparkling, and sparkling varieties, each adding a different dimension to the wine’s character. The still variant provides an unadulterated expression of the Muscat grape's aromatic qualities, while the sparkling Moscato introduces lively bubbles, making it a festive choice for celebrations. The slightly sparkling (Frizzante) style strikes a pleasant balance with a mild effervescence, perfect for those desiring a hint of sparkle without the full effervescence of sparkling wine. This range of styles, combined with Moscato's appealing sweetness and light acidity, makes it an excellent choice for pairing with fruit-based desserts, light pastries, and soft cheeses, showcasing its flexibility and widespread appeal.

 Grab one of the most popular bottles of Moscato here.


Ice Wine, also known as Eiswein, is a rare and luxurious dessert wine produced from grapes that have naturally frozen on the vine. The freezing concentrates the sugars and acids in the grapes, leading to a wine that is incredibly sweet yet balanced by high acidity. This natural process results in a lower yield and labor-intensive harvest, contributing to Ice Wine's exclusivity and higher price point.

The flavor profile of Ice Wine is characterized by intense notes of tropical fruits, peach, lychee, and honey, with a lingering finish that encapsulates the essence of the frozen grapes. Its production is predominantly associated with colder wine-producing regions, such as Canada and Germany, where the necessary freezing temperatures can be reliably achieved.

Due to its concentrated sweetness and vibrant acidity, Ice Wine serves as an exquisite accompaniment to a wide range of desserts, especially those featuring fruit or as a standalone indulgence to savor slowly.

You can order Ice Wine from Wine.com.


Mead, often referred to as honey wine, is one of the most ancient alcoholic beverages, made from fermenting honey with water. This beverage spans a vast spectrum from sweet to dry, influenced by the fermentation length, types of honey used, and additional ingredients such as fruits, spices, or herbs. The result is a diverse category of drinks that can range in flavor from the simple, sweet essence of honey to complex profiles incorporating the tartness of fruits or the warmth of spices.

Mead's resurgence in popularity owes much to its rich history, as well as its appeal as a gluten-free alternative to traditional beers and wines. It offers a unique tasting experience that connects drinkers with the past while enjoying the creativity and variety of modern mead-making.

Mead is incredibly versatile in terms of pairing, complementing everything from spicy dishes to sweet desserts, or enjoyed on its own. Its broad range of styles, from the straightforward traditional meads to complex fruit-infused or spiced variants, ensures there's a mead to suit nearly every palate.

What’s your go-to sweetest wine? Something on our list or something else? Curious about trying mead?

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(we have several sweet honey wines!)


Tokaji Eszencia, hailing from Hungary's storied Tokaj wine region, is the zenith of dessert wines in terms of sweetness. Produced from grapes affected by noble rot (Botrytis cinerea), which concentrates their sugars and flavors, Tokaji Eszencia boasts an extraordinary sugar content, often exceeding 500 grams per liter. Despite this intense sweetness, the wine maintains a remarkable balance due to its natural acidity, preventing it from being overly cloying.

The production of Tokaji Eszencia is a meticulous and time-consuming process, relying on the careful selection of botrytized grapes. The resulting wine is a rarity, with a viscosity and richness that make it more akin to a nectar than a traditional wine, often enjoyed in small quantities due to its potency and complexity.

With a tradition dating back centuries, Tokaji Eszencia is not just a wine but a piece of Hungarian heritage, revered for its unique production method and unparalleled taste profile. It's a testament to the heights of sweetness and complexity dessert wines can achieve, offering a truly luxurious and memorable tasting experience.

Order a bottle of sweet Tokaji wine.

Serving Dessert Wine: A Simple Guide

Dessert wines enrich the end of a meal, whether served with dessert or as the dessert itself. Here are some tips to enhance your experience:

Temperature: Serve these wines chilled to highlight their flavors and sweetness.

Pairing: Lighter wines like Moscato pair well with fruit-based desserts, while richer wines like Port and Tokaji Eszencia can stand up to chocolate or cheese.

Exploration: Don't shy away from trying different styles. Each type of dessert wine offers a unique taste experience that can broaden your palate.

The Endless Possibilities of Sweet Wines

The world of dessert wines continues to evolve, offering ever more options for enthusiasts and newcomers alike. Whether you're drawn to the traditional richness of Port, the refreshing sweetness of Moscato, the unique character of Ice Wine, the ancient allure of Mead, or the sumptuous depth of Tokaji Eszencia, there's a sweet wine waiting to captivate your senses.

Remember, the best way to enjoy dessert wines is to experiment and find what truly delights you. Each bottle tells a story of its origin, production, and the people behind it, making every sip a journey worth savoring.

About Us


We started Batch Mead in 2019 to leave our Silicon Valley tech careers and pursue our real passion, MEAD!

We love locally sourced honey, apples and other ingredients. We focus on small batches to keep taps rotating and deliver delicious meads and hard ciders.

We believe mead is an experience, and our tasting room reflects all the notes of that ideal experience.

We recently won Best in Show from the San Diego International Beer Festival (2020, 2021 & 2022)! As well as several other wine, beer & mead awards!