Italian sweet wines boast an expansive variety of distinct flavors. Crafted using appassimento - an ancient technique of drying grapes to concentrate sugar levels - Italian passito wines feature natural sweetness that pairs beautifully with desserts.
Tuscany's rich, nutty oxidized Vin Santo pairs perfectly with hard Italian cookies like cantucci. On the other hand, Sicily's sun-dried Zibibbo works wonderfully when pairing traditional desserts or pungent cheeses such as cassata.
The DOC Passito di Pantelleria is a sweet wine produced from sun-dried Zibibbo grapes harvested on Pantelleria Island located between Sicily and Tunisia. It pairs perfectly with traditional Sicilian desserts like cannoli or cassata as well as pungent cheeses like ricotta salata or foie gras, offering something sweeter without its syrupy texture. It also makes an excellent alternative to Tuscan Vin Santo for those seeking something similar in taste but with less syrupy texture.
At harvest time in September, overripe grapes are left to dry in the sun until their desired level of sweetness has been achieved. After four to six week fermentation processes have concluded, Sultanas are added up to eight times - further increasing sweetness and acidity levels.
This golden yellow wine with amber highlights has a delicate floral scent of ripe fruit and honey with a silky palate, perfectly balanced by low tannins and good acidity. We suggest serving this Italian dessert wine between 10-18degC in small, narrow glasses so that you can appreciate all its rich flavors fully.
Sciacchetra (pronounced shah-keh-TRAY), produced exclusively in Liguria's Cinque Terre region, is an exquisite, velvety passito made with local grape varieties such as Bosco, Vermentino and Albarola grown on terraced slopes of its five villages along the rugged coast of Liguria's legendary Cinque Terre region. Only small amounts are produced each year - each family saving at least one bottle to open on special occasions or upon welcoming a newborn child into this unique wine's fold!
Sciacchetra production is a delicate and difficult endeavor, with everything from pruning and vine training performed manually. After harvesting grapes are left to dry in darkness for long periods before being covered to protect them from sunlight until sugars can concentrate and mold forms, giving this wine its distinctive golden-hued color with amber reflections.
This wine's nectar is sweet but never overwhelming, featuring delicate notes of apricot and acacia honey for added dimension. A rare, refined wine perfect for pairing with rich Italian desserts and robust cheeses alike; contains sulphites.
Aeolian Islands off of Sicily's northeastern coast are home to some of Italy's most distinctive sweet wines, such as Malvasia delle Lipari. This DOC wine is produced using Malvasia Bianca grapes mixed with Corinto Nero for balance. Grapes are dried on mats prior to fermentation to concentrate their sugars and enhance flavour.
Carlo Hauner is an artist from Brescia who moved to Salina during the 1970s and fell in love with its tranquil beauty, recovering abandoned vineyards and testing new fermentation cooling techniques to produce this naturally aged beauty he calls his flagship wine of his estate - Hauner Rose.
This golden-coloured wine boasts an aromatic spectrum from apricot, fig and honey; smooth in texture yet well structured with an inviting sweetness that pairs well with Sicilian desserts or pungent cheeses. Aged 18 months before bottling.
Like its Moscato parent, Prosecco is naturally sweet and low in alcohol (by law, no more than 5.5% ABV). This wine pairs beautifully with desserts such as fresh fruit tarts and sorbets and is an excellent brunch wine or aperitif.
Muscat Bianco grapes have been harvested for centuries in Asti, including Alessandria and Cuneo provinces, to make this wine which features an artificial stop to fermentation for gentle fizziness.
Its distinctive flavor is defined by the aromatic essences of flowers and orange blossoms, providing a refreshing yet easy-drinking wine that pairs well with various foods including fresh fruits, salads, grilled chicken, mild cheeses and mild desserts. Perfect as an end of meal refreshment or celebration wine; popular among younger generations for celebrations and casual gatherings; priced affordably!