Expect the Unexpected from Sweeter White Wines

Written By Sharon Fenchak

Posted 12/21/12

Updated 04/11/24

Wine & Food

If you think sweeter white wines only go with desserts, I challenge you to think again.

We handcraft Biltmore wines to appeal to many tastes, from beginner to enthusiast. Our sweeter whites, including Biltmore Estate® Chenin Blanc, Biltmore Estate® Riesling, Biltmore® Century Sweet White Wine, and Pas de Deux® Sec, are surprisingly food-friendly and provide great options for pairing with a wide range of cuisine.

What makes a wine sweeter?

Grapes ripening in Biltmore's vineyard
Grapes ripening in Biltmore’s vineyard

So…wine is made from grapes and grapes are sweet, right? What else is there to know?

Plenty! If you think that wine is nothing more than grape juice that sits in a barrel for a while, let me help you understand the process:

Grapes produce natural sugar, and depending on the varietal—and the growing season—the level can vary quite a bit. The yeast produced during fermentation converts the sugar in the grapes into alcohol. If we let this process continue until its natural end, it results in a dryer wine with a lower sugar level, like a Chardonnay.

To create sweeter wines, we must either add sugar to the dryer wine or interrupt the fermentation process before all the sugar is converted.  There are several ways to do this:

Unexpected pairing suggestions

Shrimp appetizer with dipping sauce
Pair spicy Cajun or Asian shrimp dishes with some of our sweeter white wines.

Because sweeter white wines often have a good amount of acidity to complement their higher sugar levels, they can stand up to spicier foods than you might expect. Our semi-sweet Biltmore Estate® Riesling is a great complement for the hot peppers and cilantro that characterize many Thai dishes, while Chinese and Vietnamese food–especially sweet and sour dishes–are excellent with our nicely balanced Biltmore® Century Sweet White Wine.

Don’t overlook unexpected dessert pairings, either. Banana pudding is perfect with our Biltmore Estate® Chenin Blanc—this medium-sweet, fresh and crisp wine enlivens the heavier vanilla and fruit flavors of this traditional Southern favorite.

Let something sweet bubble up!

In the mood to enjoy the slightly sweeter side of bubbly, as well? We suggest our Pas de Deux® Sec with foods ranging from fresh fruit to Cajun spiced shrimp. Try it for your next light brunch and you’ll have your guests raising a toast to your good taste!


Peanut butter Yule log.
Peanut Butter Yule Log or “Buche de Noel” is a decadent dessert for the season–especially when paired with Biltmore Estate Riesling!
White V

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