Let’s imagine the scene: you have just finished a fantastic meal at an upscale restaurant and not you await the best part of the evening; your dessert along with the dessert wine. Then making it’s grand entry comes the piece de resistance; a glittering and gleaming glass of Sauterne along with you’re a wonderfully thinly sliced wafer of foie gras. Isn’t it the perfect end to a fabulous meal and it leaves you with such an awesome after taste in your mouth you can’t forget?
A dessert wine is generally sweeter than the other kinds of wine. To qualify as a dessert wine in England, the wine should be sweet but it should not be a white fortified sherry which is drunk before a meal and nor should it be a fortifies red port wine which is drunk after a meal. Essentially a dessert wine is drunk in between the meal while you are in England. In the Unites States the definition for a dessert wine is more precise. Any wine with more than 14 % alcohol content in it is a dessert wine.
Dessert wines are known for their high sugar content. Manufacturers have different ways of ensuring the extra sweetness in their dessert wines. Some prefer the harvest the grapes with high sugar content so that high amounts of sweetness if added to the mix naturally. Some other manufacturers choose to add high sugar after the crushing of grapes but before their fermentation.
In some parts of the world like Germany dessert wines are put through a unique process that is called Sussreserve which is almost a hundred years old. After a wine has completely fermented, must or grape juice is added to it. This will add a measure of sweetness to the mixture and also lowers the final alcohol content present in the mix.
Sussreserve is very successful and there are several reasons for its success. First and foremost it goes to produces an excellent and smooth dessert wine. It also dilutes the wine to acceptable standards which are: no more than 15 percent alcohol by volume. Hence for the winemaker the process of fermentation is less complicated because he does not have to stop the process before all the sugars are gone. The success of Sussreserve has made the technique popular and growing in demand in New Zealand and many other parts of the world.