Amazing Sweet wines from the best Italian wine regions paired with a dozen traditional regional dishes
A selection of the best Italian sweet wines, perfect for any occasion, be it dessert or relaxation. White or red, find the sweet wine that will help you wrap up your day on a delicious note!
Sweet wines are a wonderful way to conclude a meal, and when paired with a tempting dessert, can you think of a better way to end your repast? But sweet wines are also terrific without food, if you’re in the mood to warm your heart and indulge in a warm cuddle!
Learn to recognize the best Italian Wines
Be sure to check out the list of 12 Italian sweet wines that are worth having on hand all the time. Suggestions on the best pairings, done region by region, are also included. This way, a sweet evening when you enjoy these wines is a guaranteed success!
Filippo Bartolotta, sommelier to the stars, will elucidate further on the Italian sweet wines to enjoy on the Rai 2 show, Dolce Quiz. Working with Filippo will be one of Italy’s most beloved and famous pastry chefs, Ernest Knam, who will be joined by his wife as they prepare delicious fresh desserts.
Are you ready to make your mouth water as you follow the experts' suggestions?
Let’s take a closer look at the 12 sweet wines that will surprise your palate, and enliven your evenings. Region by region, and wine by wine, we’ll take a closer look at how to enjoy and pair these wines with your favorite desserts.
Sweet Wines - Sicily
Starting with Sicily, it’s perfectly natural to begin with Passito of Pantelleria, one of the greatest and oldest Italian sweet wines. How should we match it? Sicilian Cassata, of course.
For those who would like to stick with the Sicilian sweet wines, Bartolotta suggests the most unusual pairing of Marsala with croutons smeared with butter and anchovies. This superior virgin wine works so well here, because as a sweet-yet-not-sweet wine, Marsala does have an element of salinity in it, making this pairing one to try at home.
Sweet Wines - Sardinia
Sardinia’s sweet wine is none other than Vernaccia di Oristano. This ancient wine is likely older than both Sherry and Port, and is one of mankind’s oldest wines produced today. Its birthplace is quite near Cabras, also home to the famous salted mullet roe, or botargo. What’s the perfect pairing here? Bartolotta recommends a dish of filled pasta and a light grating of botargo from Cabras.
Sweet Wines - Apulia
Apulia, or Puglia in Italian, produces a marvelous Primitivo di Manduria. What to pair with this? Nothing less than a delicious helping of chocolate.
Sweet Wines - Tuscany
The fabled Tuscan vinsanto is another classic product created lovingly in the heart of Tuscany. The traditional pairing calls for crispy Cantucci, but beware: the cookies are not meant to be dunked in the Vinsanto, like so many do!
Staying in Tuscany, we’ve also got another speciality wine in a district already famous for another wine that’s not Vinsanto: Montalcino. Here we can find the delightful Moscedello selection, a passito wine that can be either still and sparkling, and provides the perfect accompaniment with sweet Panforte.
Sweet Wines - Piedmont
Heading north, we arrive in Piedmont, home to Asti spumante. This is a classic sparkling wine that maintains a level of residual sugar. A slightly sparkling selection with both very sweet and sour elements, the ideal pairing for Asti spumante is the tasty Bonet. This traditional Piemontese dessert is a pudding-like treat made with Amaretto and hazelnuts. If instead you’re more in a savory mood, don’t miss a blue cheese and Moscato d’Asti pairing for the win.
Sweet Wines - Lombardy
Staying in the northern part of Italy, we arrive In Lombardy. This region produces Italy’s most famous bubbly wine that follows the classic production methods: Franciacorta. The region makes wonderful bubbly options, and even the demi-sec options feature a residual amount of sugar equivalent to 50 grams, making it a great partner to the local Sbrisolona or Panettone. Definitely worth giving a taste!
Sweet Wines - Veneto
Heading into the nearby Veneto area, we find another ancient wine dating back to Roman times: Recioto. Produced in the Valpolicella and Soave areas, these wines are made with both red and white grapes, with quite different results.
The Valpolicella Recioto is crafted with red grapes, and therefore results in a sweet red wine with a touch of tannins. What’s the perfect match? Chocolate springs to mind, but if you’re looking to shake it up, why not try it with a freshly-baked breadstick wrapped with succulent sweet Prosciutto?
The Recioto di Soave follows a similar principle of Passito wines, although this wine is crafted with white grapes. In this case, we’d recommend pairing it with another classic: fragrant apricot tart.
Sweet Wines - Liguria
Liguria produces a limited-quantity wine we love, Sciacchetrà. This wine is equally at home with both traditional desserts of the area, and one we’d like to invent ourselves: mouth-watering Focaccia di Recco enriched with a thin veil of fig jam - you gotta try it to see for yourselves!