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Decanter World Wine Awards: The world’s best sweet wines

Top-scoring dessert wines to indulge in this holiday season – and beyond...

From outstanding classics to new-wave discoveries, the world of sweet wines is well worth exploring. The best examples can be transformative – which is perhaps why dessert wines go hand in hand with the end-of-year holiday season – yet these sweet treats deserve attention year-round.

Bringing to light some of the finest sweet wines from across the globe, results from the 2022 Decanter World Wine Awards saw a number of luscious dessert wines awarded top scores.

Of the classics, Tokaji Aszú was ‘in great form thanks to the glorious 2017 vintage’ according to Caroline Gilby MW, Regional Chair for North, Central & Eastern Europe. Sauternes, too, impressed the experts, with Château Laville 2019 awarded the competition’s first-ever Best in Show for the appellation.

‘We have colleagues at DWWA who are winemakers, sommeliers, retailers, wine buyers – each one of them is assessing the wines from a slightly different aspect, and out of that what we get is a brilliant independent decision.’
Sarah Jane Evans MW, Co-Chair


Scroll down to discover 15 top-scoring sweet wines from DWWA 2022


From Croatia, Slovenia and Greece to Canada, South Africa and China, nations around the world saw sweet success.

‘There’s always a “handbag” wine – one you want to smuggle out at the end of the day,’ commented Sarah Jane Evans MW of Simčič’s Leonardo 2013 from Primorska, Slovenia, which was awarded a Platinum medal at the 2019 competition, Best in Show the following year, and was Slovenia’s highest-scoring sweet wine in 2022. It’s just one to look out for.

Below discover a selection of the highest-scoring sweet wines, from 15 different countries, at this year’s competition, with many more to search at awards.decanter.com

Decanter World Wine Awards: the world’s best sweet wines

France

Château Laville, Sauternes, Bordeaux 2019


97 Best in Show
£23/37.5cl Tim Syrad
The first Best in Show for a Sauternes. It has ample luscious sweetness, botrytis complexities and lanolin oak. Generous, creamy palate, with crème anglaise and chantilly richness, and a hint of lemon. It’s not a Sauternes to keep for a decade or more, but it offers fine value and huge pleasure in the short term. Alcohol 13%

Italy

Colmano, Vin Santo del Chianti Riserva, Tuscany 2000


97 Best in Show
@ColmanoAziendaAgricola
This distinguished vin santo is a light, translucent russet brown. The aromas evoke old libraries, but with a falling crystalline sweetness. On the palate, it is intense and almost bracing, despite its extravagant sweetness. Lingering flavours of fig, dried fruit, caramel and toasted almond. Alc 13.5%

Canada

Jackson-Triggs, Okanagan Estate Reserve Riesling Icewine, British Columbia 2018


97 Platinum
jacksontriggswinery.com
Perfumed and inviting, with gorgeous aromatics of lifted, floral rose, plus apricot and lush mango, leading on to a textured, honeyed palate of zesty tangerine and inviting caramel, all underpinned with a laser-like acidity. Top class! Alc 9%

Croatia

Benvenuti, San Salvatore Muškat, Istria, Coastal 2017


97 Platinum
benvenutivina.com
A classic style that’s powerful, rich and reminiscent of Sauternes. Fully botrytised, it has gorgeously concentrated
dried apricot, orange peel, brown sugar, buckwheat, honey and baked apple flavours, finishing with a long honeyed tail. Alc 13%

Germany

Hans Wirsching, Iphöfer Kalb Gewürztraminer, Trockenbeerenauslese, Franken 2018


97 Platinum
wirsching-shop.de
Aromatic, with rose water, Turkish delight, lychee and Oriental spices. There’s an opulent sweetness on the palate, balanced by a noble acidity. A reverberating finish. Alc 6.5%

Greece

Estate Argyros, Vinsanto Late Release, Santorini 2002


97 Platinum
estateargyros.com
A beautifully developed nose opens with burnt caramel, fig, buckwheat, honey and notes of pine forest. The palate is
rounded and lusciously sweet, offering toffee, caramel and candied black fruit. Well developed, with outstanding
freshness. Alc 13.5%

Hungary

Gróf Degenfeld, Aszú 6 Puttonyos, Tokaj 2017


97 Platinum
£45/50cl Best of Hungary
Pristine apricot and ginger jam, peaches and cream, honeysuckle and orange blossom, with a lovely touch of warming spice. New Hungarian oak adds toasted, woody notes, and the palate finishes with an assertive and imposing texture. Alc 11%

Austria

Stift Klosterneuburg, Grüner Veltliner Eiswein, Niederösterreich 2018


96 Gold
£19.99/37.5cl Cockburns of Leith
A honeyed and rich, expressive nose showing crystal-clear yellow stone fruit, quince, black radish and peppery spiciness. Generous and juicy on the palate. Alc 11%

South Africa

Klein Constantia, Vin de Constance, Constantia, Cape Town 2018


96 Gold
£51-£70/50cl Widely available
via independent merchants
Exotic Muscat perfume: potpourri, jasmine, barley sugar. Concentrated on the palate with dried apricot and confit orange, plus savoury, nutty notes. Has a fresh and nevercloying elegance. Alc 14%

Switzerland

Adrian & Diego Mathier, Gemma, Valais 2019


96 Gold
mathier.com
Inviting and attractive aromas of peach, apricot and honeyed mango, leading to a textured palate of lush yellow plum, caramel and baked apple. A beautiful mineral finish. Alc 13.5%

China

Sanhe, Cailonglin Jinding Icewine, Huanren, Liaoning 2016


95 Gold
Liaoning Sanhe Wine Co
A lovely scent of zesty citrus fruit on the nose, with fresh and vivid touches of pineapple and raisin. Honeyed, almost lactic on the palate. Alc 12%

New Zealand

Seifried, Winemaker’s Collection Sweet Agnes Riesling, Nelson 2021


95 Gold
£17.49/37.5cl Waitrose Cellar
Subtle nectarine and lime rind aromas with notes of apple and apricot. A honeyed palate, with a fantastic acid line and a mouthwatering finish. Delicious. Alc 10.5%

Slovenia

Marjan Simčič, Leonardo, Goriška Brda, Primorska 2016


94 Silver
£54.95/37.5cl Orbit Wines
Red fruit characters with honey and apricot joining notes of lanolin, camomile and herbs. A spicy palate with swathes of tannins. Alc 13%

Spain

Gorka Izagirre, Arima, Txakoli de Bizkaia 2019


94 Silver
gorkaizagirre.com
Juicy and elegant, with apricot, peach, raisin, orange marmalade and beeswax aromas and flavours, tangy acidity and a long finish. A second glass, please! Alc 12%

Australia

De Bortoli, Deen Vat 5 Botrytis Semillon, Riverina, New South Wales 2018


93 Silver
£9.69-£10.50/37.5cl
Le Vignoble, TJ Wines
A complex bouquet of nutty barrel-fermented elements, and lots of caramel and vanilla botrytis flavours. Sweet and nicely structured with some backbone. A lovely wine. Alc 11.5%


Search all DWWA 2022 results


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