Sweet White Wine (Styles and Prices, Best Bottles for 2023)

Sweet white wines, with their floral, fruity, and honeyed tastes, are easier to drink, especially for new wine drinkers.

They are also a great long-term investment because they can be stored for years in your cellar!

This article will look at the different types of sweet white wines, as well as the best ones to buy right now. Discover the quickest way to purchase them.

What is “Sweetness,” and how can it be determined?

Wine sweetness is measured by the amount of residual sugar (RS) the wine contains. This is the naturally occurring sugars (fructose) in grapes that remain in the wine after alcoholic fermentation.

The sweetness is measured in grams per liter. 1% sweetness equals 10 grams of residual sugar per liter.

Yeast turns sugar into alcohol when it ferments. In general, the higher the alcohol content of a wine, the lower the residual sugar.

Most people cannot detect sweetness below 1.5% in a dry wine.

What is the best way to choose a sweet red wine?

ABV (Alcohol By Volume) is a good indicator. A table wine that has an ABV of less than 12.5% is likely to be sweet. Moscato Asti Spumante rose wine, and Riesling Wine all have ABVs below 10%.

What is the difference between sweet and dry wine?

Sweet and dry wines are at opposite ends of the sweetness spectrum.

A sweet wine will still have residual sugar. The residual sugar in “off-dry” and “semidry” wines gives them a slight sweetness, but not nearly as much as sweet wines.

Let’s now look at some of the best white wines you can buy right now.

The 16 best sweet white wines to try in 2023

Our picks are categorized based on the different styles of sweet white wines:

A. Sauternes

2015 Chateau d’Yquem, Sauternes, France

2009 Chateau Coutet Cuvee Madame, Barsac, France

B. Riesling

1976 Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Mosel, Germany

1976 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Mosel, Germany

C. Vin Santo

2002 Avignonesi Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy

2007 Fontodi Vin Santo del Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy

D. Tokaji Aszu (Tokay)

2007 Royal Tokaji Essencia, Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary

2000 Disznoko Tokaji Eszencia, Tokaj-Hegyalja, Hungary

E. Ice Wine

Peller Estates Signature Series Oak-Aged Vidal Blanc Icewine 2017 Niagara Peninsula, Canada

2016 Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Eiswein, Mosel, Germany

F. Late Harvest Wine

2007 Vinoptima Estate Noble Late Harvest Gewurztraminer, Gisborne, New Zealand

King Frosch ‘Noble Sweet’ Chardonnay Spatlese, Germany

G. You can also try these sweet white wines

2006 Weingut Franz Hirtzberger Honivogl Gruner Veltliner Smaragd, Austria

2011 Ca’ d’Gal Vite Vecchia, Moscato d’Asti DOCG, Italy

A.R. Valdespino Toneles Moscatel Sherry, Andalucia, Spain

1971 C. da Silva Dalva Golden Colheita White Port, Portugal


Sauternes is produced in Sauternes, a French region in Bordeaux. The wine is made by combining Semillon with Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by noble rot. This wine has great aging potential.

2015 Chateau D’Yquem Sauternes France ($459) This 2015 vintage features exotic flavors such as tangerine and pineapple. The wine has a dynamic acidity, a scented oaky vanilla, and a long-lasting finish.

2009 Chateau Coutt Cuvee Madam, Barsac (France) ($335): This 2009 vintage has a lemon-gold color with a scent of mandarin, peach blossoms and allspice. The taste is full of spice, floral layers, and ripe stone fruits.


Riesling wine can range from very dry to sweet. It often has apricot or apple flavors. Riesling sweet wines are produced in Germany and Alsace, France.

From least to most sweet, German sweet Rieslings are classified as Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, and Eiswein.

1976 Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Mosel, Germany ($23,598): This vintage has a fully mature nose of dry apricot, raisin, honey, burnt sugar, creme brulee and medium-dark caramel. The wine has a good balance and a long finish.

1976 Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Mosel, Germany ($5,513): The 1976 vintage offers hints of sweet figs, arancini, prunes, and dark nougat. The palate has a subtle oxidizing taste with dark notes on the finish.

Vin Santo

This sweet white wine is made in Italy from Trebbiano white grapes and Malvasia.

2002 Avignonesi occhio di Pernice Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Tuscany ($452): This 2002 vintage begins with sweet aromas such as maple syrup, candied citrus zest, and dates. The palate is smooth and carries flavors such as black cherry jam and hazelnuts, and it has a long finish.

2007 Fontodi Vin Santo del Chianti Classico ($238), Tuscany, Italy: This vintage is characterized by a deep, amber-colored intensity with notes of caramelized fruit, honey, and candied fruits.

Tokaji Aszu (Tokay)

Tokaji Aszu is the oldest sweet wine in the world. It has been produced since 1600 by the Tokaj region of Hungary. Tokay is also known as Tokay and is made from grapes that have noble rot, such as the Furmint grape, or other approved white grape varieties like Harslevelu (yellow Muscat), Zeta, or Yellow Muscat. There are also single-varietal versions.

2007 Tokaj Essencia, Tokaj Hegyalja (Hungary) ($1,472) This full-bodied Tokaji is beautifully balanced, with fine acidity and the aroma of fresh apricots and tea. Fresh apricot is on the palate, with plum jam and dried figs on the finish.

1999 Disznoko Tokaji, Tokaj Hegyalja (Hungary) ($279): This 1999 vintage has a rich aroma of orange and sultana with a note of honey. It is rich and syrupy with a core acidity and a sweetness of prune and dried fruit.

Ice Wine

Theoretically, Eiswein, also known as ice wine in Germany, can be produced from any white or red wine grapes that have remained on vines after the first frost. Riesling is the most popular grape variety for ice wines, followed by Vidal Blanc and Cabernet Franc.

2017 Peller Estates Signature Series Oak Aged Vidal Blanc Icewine ($200), Niagara Peninsula, Canada: This 2017 vintage will have a mouthful of papaya and gooseberry with guava, melon, and guava. The finish is characterized by lingering notes of butterscotch, exotic spice, and marmalade.

2016 Egon Müller Scharzhofberger Eiswein, Mosel (Germany) ($2,573) The 2016 vintage has aromas of concentrated fruits. The palate is lush and piquant, with flavors of fine fruits, ending with grapefruit and lime.

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