vin santo sweet wine with biscotti on table
Handpicked by IWSC
Wine Handpicked by IWSC 21 December 2021

Award-winning sweet wines to seek out

From Canadian icewine to late-harvest delights, we share some of the best sweet wine from the IWSC 2021
Introduction and recommendations by
IWSC judges

Sweet wines often get their time to shine at Christmas – but as some of the most delicious drinks on the planet, they ought to be savoured year-round.

Hailing from all over the world and in a range of styles, the term ‘sweet wine’ refers to wines left with residual sugar after fermentation – but this can occur naturally or be achieved in a multitude of ways. Take Icewine, for example, produced when grapes are left to freeze on the vine, creating the kind of concentrated flavours in the glass that are lapped up by those in the know.

sweet wine being poured into a glass

You’ll find a total of five icewines in the list below, all IWSC 2021 medal winners. The pick of the bunch was Andrew Peller Signature Series Riesling Icewine 2019 from Canada’s Niagara Peninsula, a region famed for the style. Judges commented on its zesty and honeyed flavours, with notes of apricot, quince and mango.

Late-harvest offerings came in the form of South Africa’s Nederberg Noble Late Harvest 2019, which was noted for baked apple and sweet festive spice flavours, plus plenty of citrus acidity. And for those partial to a syrupy sweet wine, one Pedro Ximenez sherry scored highly, too.

This is just a taster of what’s in store, though. Below, we’ve picked out the best sweet wines from the IWSC 2021 for you to indulge in – whatever the occasion.

20 award-winning sweet wines from the IWSC 2021

  1. Sogevinus Fine Wines, Kopke Colheita 1957; Portugal, Port. 98/100
  2. Andrew Peller Signature Series, Riesling Icewine 2019; Canada, Niagara Peninsula. 97/100
  3. Sogrape Vinhos, Sandeman 20 Year Old Tawny NV; Portugal, Port. 97/100
  4. Campbells, Merchant Prince Rare Muscat NV; Australia, Rutherglen. 97/100
  5. Weingut Rabl, Riesling 2017; Austria, Niederösterreich. 96/100
  6. Distell limited Wine, Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2019; South Africa, Western Cape. 96/100
  7. Wayne Gretzky Estates, No.99 Vidal Icewine 2019; Canada, Niagara Peninsula. 96/100
  8. Inniskillin Niagara, Cabernet Franc Icewine 2019; Canada, Niagara Peninsula. 96/100
  9. Quady Winery, Essensia Orange Muscat 2019; USA, California. 96/100
  10. De Bortoli, Show Liqueur Muscat NV; Australia. 96/100
  11. Harveys, Pedro Ximénez VORS NV; Spain, Jerez-Xérès-Sherry. 96/100
  12. Trius Winery, Showcase Riesling Icewine 2018; Canada, Niagara Peninsula. 95/100
  13. Boschendal Wine, Vin D’or Noble Late Harvest 2018; South Africa, Western Cape. 95/100
  14. Weingut Türk, Vom Grüner Veltliner Eiswein 2018; Austria, Niederösterreich. 95/100
  15. Estate Argyros, Late Release Vin Santo 2001; Greece, Santorini. 95/100
  16. Morris Wines, Classic Muscat NV; Australia, Rutherglen. 95/100
a snowy vineyard where icewine is made

HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE WINES?

We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.

HOW DO WE SCORE THESE WINES?

Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.

MORE FROM CLUB OENOLOGIQUE

Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.

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