Italy offers sweet wine lovers an idyllic paradise from its sun-kissed vineyards of Sicily to the rolling hills of Tuscany. Sweet wines pair beautifully with desserts or can even be used as an aperitif!
Keep in mind that highly tannic red wines may overpower delicate desserts, while too-sweet wines could clash with some savory dishes. As such, selecting wines from the same region tends to work better when matching wines together.
Moscato d'Asti is an aromatic and fruity wine perfect for sipping as either dessert or during lunch. Boasting delicate aromas and flavors such as peach, apricot, sage, lemon and orange blossom; its delicate bouquet pairs wonderfully with antipasti dishes like melons with prosciutto or mortadella or blue cheese mortadella as well as grilled meats.
This wine is produced from sweet Moscato bianco grapes in Piedmont. With its straw yellow hue and effervescent palate, this gently sweet wine pairs beautifully with desserts such as tarts, tiramisu and chocolate cake; fresh figs and melons; Thai or Indian cuisine or even grilled squid and prawns! Thanks to its low alcohol content and acidity level this sweet Italian wine provides the ideal complements. We advise serving it chilled.
Soave may be best known for its dry table wine, but the region also produces delicious sweet wines - particularly Recioto di Soave, a passito produced from grapes dried out via air drying (fruttaio or appassimento). Recioto can only be produced within Valpolicella region under strict rules for production and can only be produced using traditional techniques.
Wine of Verona is an intense, deeply amber wine bursting with the fragrant aromas of dried apricot and date fruits as well as honey, making for a full-bodied yet intensely sweet experience. Perfect as both an aperitif and with desserts featuring fruit or dried fruit, as well as for enjoyment as an aperitif; its signature pairing is with Pandoro di Verona - Venetian panettone- but can also pair nicely with English fruit cake (especially Italian variant Pan di Spagna alle Albicocche), Mille-feuille or cheeses! Wine aged for three months in used oak tonneaux before release into stores.
Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains (known as Muscat of Alexandria) grapes produce this exquisite wine from Pantelleria, featuring golden hues and an alluring aroma reminiscent of orange blossom and honey. Pair this wine with fruit tarts or crostata, as well as herbed cheeses for an unforgettable pairing experience!
Appassimento, the method by which Italian dessert wines are typically created from dried grapes, accounts for most Italian dessert wines. Following normal harvesting of grapes, they are laid out on mats or laid directly under sunlight to dry for several months; this increases sugar concentration resulting in higher alcohol and sweeter wines as well as prolonging shelf life and making transportation/storage simpler.
Many wines are aged in wood or terra cotta tanks, using local varieties of grapes that reflect each region's culture and scenery. For example, Tuscan Vin Santo made with Sangiovese or other local red grape varieties is both complex and layering; similarly Umbria's robust Sagrantino offers intense and deep notes such as dried fruits, dark spices and pepper.
Vin Santo production requires drying grapes for several months prior to crushing and pressing, then ageing and bottling for multiple years after fermentation has taken place. Top producers often prolong aging beyond required regulations in order to further develop its flavors; as a result, its final products often boast golden amber hues with ruby/garnet hues in Occhio di Pernice bottles which have become some of Tuscany's most prized dessert wines.
Vin Santo, which literally translates to holy wine, stems from an incident at a meeting between Florentines and Greek bishops in 1439. Florentines misheard Greek as yellow-toned word "xantho," leading to its nickname of Vin Santo.
Vin Santo is a deliciously complex wine that complements many types of desserts perfectly, from cantucci to cheese with intense flavors such as Gorgonzola. Additionally, dry styles of Vin Santo produce sherry-like qualities which pair exceptionally well with particular vegetable and fish dishes.