America doesn’t like sweet wine — or we don’t like to admit it, at least. And that’s a strange stance to take, considering that sweet wines — those produced with considerable amounts of residual sugar, and that are typically destined to be dessert pairings — are among the most complex and age-worthy bottles in the world.

Key to the success of such bottles lies not only in their level of sweetness, but in delivering all-important acidity. This stops the wines from feeling cloying on the palate and also unlocks their ageability. Winemakers are able to achieve this balance via a number of different production techniques, which often rely on the specific climatic conditions of their regions. Before you dive into the following list, you can brush up on those and the world’s greatest examples of sweet wine in this guide.

Once you’re up to speed, you’ll be ready to dive into this roundup of blockbuster bottles. With examples arriving from Canada to Chile, made using mystical practices like noble rot and frozen grapes, these wines are a testament to the wonders of viticulture and vinification. Desserts and cheese boards at the ready: Here are 10 of the best sweet wines to drink in 2022.

Best Sweet Red Wines

Dutton Estate Winery Sweet Sisters Late Harvest Syrah 2017

From the Russian River Valley, this 100 percent Syrah late harvest wine is bold and fruity.

From the Russian River Valley, this 100 percent Syrah late-harvest wine is bold and fruity. Its aromas resemble decadent California red blends with a seasoning of black pepper. Chewy tannins add texture to the palate, where pulsing acidity helps counter the bold sweetness. This sweet wine displays the distinctive profile of Syrah and will appeal to port drinkers. Average price: $25. Rating: 93.

Feudo Montoni Passito Rosso Terre Siciliane IGT

This Sicilian sweet wine is a blend of air-dried Nero d’Avola and Perricone grapes.

Combining a blend of air-dried Nero d’Avola and Perricone grapes, this non-vintage Sicilian passito wine ages for seven months in oak then one year in bottle prior to release. There’s a raisined quality to its aromas and flavors, which span a broad spectrum of mocha, dark chocolate, blackberry coulis, and balsamic vinegar. With extreme concentration defining each sip, this luscious red will handle intense food pairings, such as stinky blue cheese, dark chocolate, or gamey meat. Average price: $48. Rating: 90.

Best Sweet White Wines

Abacela Winery Blanco Dulce 2020

This expressive white is made from 100 percent Albariño.

A late-harvest sweet wine from the Umpqua Valley in southern Oregon, this expressive white is made from 100 percent Albariño. A sweet blanket of peach and honey aromas awaits in glass, underneath which lie crisp golden apple notes. Generous acidity keeps the palate lively and lends a refreshing spray to the finish. Average price: $30. Rating: 89.

Balletto Late Harvest Pinot Gris Vin de Paille 2017

This wine is made using the “vin de paille” method wherein picked bunches are laid out on straw mats and left to dry for a period before vinification.

This wine is made using the “vin de paille” method wherein picked bunches are laid out on straw mats and left to dry for a period before vinification. In this case, the Pinot Gris grapes came from Balletto’s estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley, and are slowly shriveled over a period of three weeks. Rich caramel and baking spices lead the concentrated nose, followed by floral and tropical fruit notes. Gentle acidity proves just enough to balance the saccharine nectar as it lands on the palate. Average price: $65. Rating: 95.

Domaine Sigalas VinSanto

Complex in every sense, this is an exceptional sweet wine, made using a blend of Assyrtiko and Aidani.

Complex in every sense, this is an exceptional sweet wine. Made using a blend of Assyrtiko (75 percent) and Aidani (25 percent), picked grapes dry in the Santorini sun for around two weeks before being gently crushed and transferred into French oak. So high is the sugar content that fermentation can take up to three years to complete, while the wine ages for at least seven years in oak before bottling. That production process imparts incredible range and depth to the wine’s profile, with intense oxidative notes that run throughout, joined by caramel, molasses, and attractive floral tones. Average price: $109. Rating: 93.

Tokaj-Oremus Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2013

Relying on the magical effects of noble rot, this category is among the most age-worthy and complex of all sweet wines.

Puttonyos is an archaic unit of measurement used to highlight the residual sugar present in Hungary’s legendary Tokaji sweet wines. Relying on the magical effects of noble rot, this category is among the most age-worthy and complex of all sweet wines, and this bottle is a stunning and high-quality example. Its expressive nose serves wafts of stone fruit, citrus, floral, and honey notes, with hints of golden raisins and caramelized nuts following. An unmistakable chamomile note takes charge on the palate, lending a touch of dryness to the decadent mix of fruit, sweetness, and acidity. Average price: $108. Rating: 96.

Santa Julia Tardío Late Harvest Torrontés 2019

Native to Argentina, the white Torrontés grape shares much in common with the floral and tropical fruit scented Muscat of Alexandria.

Native to Argentina, the white Torrontés grape shares much in common with the floral and tropical fruit scented Muscat of Alexandria, of which the former is believed to be a descendant. At $13, this late-harvest bottling offers an easy and approachable entry to the realm of sweet wine. Ripe stone fruit and candied citrus aromas give way to acidity and juicy fruit character on its pleasant palate. Average price: $13. Rating: 89.

Santo Winery VinSanto 2014

This bottle offers a slightly more affordable entrant to the category, but doesn’t compromise on quality.

Another enjoyable Vin Santo from the Greek isle of Santorini, this bottle offers a slightly more affordable entry to the category, but doesn’t compromise on quality. Its Assyrtiko and Aidani grapes were sun-dried for around a week, fermented for 40 days, then aged in used oak for six years. Similar to sweet, complex sherry on the nose, the palate is balanced and delivers a juicy Maraschino cherry note on the finish, leaving a lasting impression of a Manhattan cocktail. That may sound like a strange wine tasting note but you will love it. Average price: $61. Rating: 92.

Schlink Haus Silvaner Eiswein 2018

This German ice wine delivers a captivating drinking experience.

This German ice wine delivers a captivating drinking experience. Pouring a striking shade of amber, notes of butterscotch and a hint of salinity lead the nose, followed by a sea of sweet, fruity flavor on the palate. A subtle hint of oxidation adds an extra layer to both nose and palate, and suggests hard, aged cheese as an ideal pairing. Average price: $64. Rating: 94.

Best Sparkling Sweet Wine

Inniskillin Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2019

This sparkling ice wine comes from a pioneering producer with almost 40 years experience in the industry.

Canada leads the world’s production of ice wine, with the Niagara Peninsula in Ontario providing the majority of the nation’s output. From a pioneering producer with almost 40 years experience in the industry, this sparkling example is made from the hybrid Vidal variety and fermented in pressurized tanks to maintain lively effervescence. Though not the world’s only sparkling ice wine, it is among just a handful of examples, making this something of a unicorn bottling. The wine’s profile lives up to the anticipation, serving floral and orchard fruit notes on the nose, and bright, persistent acidity that cuts through its velvet mousse. Gift this to the special wine geek in your life. Average price: $90. Rating: 94.