The Best Sweet Red Wines Under $30
Introduce your taste buds to these delicious sweet red wines, each of which are under $30 dollars a bottle!
Whether you have sweeter taste buds or you’re simply looking for a bargain red that will match your dinner party dessert, a sweet red wine can be a popular choice for wine-lovers.
Even better, sweet red wines are also a wonderful way to introduce non-wine drinkers to this wonderful wine.
While regular red wine can often be an acquired case, a sweeter red can help new wine drinkers get used to the flavours of a red wine without the bitterness.
Plus, red wine has a lot of health benefits, so if you’d like to utilize these benefits, but you dislike red wine, a sweet wine can be a happy medium for your tastes.
Sweet Red Wine Types
Sweeter varieties of red wine occur when more residual sugars are left behind after the fermentation process.
This high sugar level also stops the wine fermentation process early, which means sweet red wine brands will usually have a lower alcohol percentage that more dry red wine brands.
Here are some of the most common types of sweet red wine that you will find in shops:
An Italian fizzy and sweet wine, this might not be the sweetest red wine you’ll find at your local merchant; however, the fizziness makes it ideal for a party setting.
Incredibly fruity, Lambrusco is the prefect addition to a summer BBQ party.
If you like the idea of prosecco, but you would prefer something sweeter and prettier looking, Lambrusco is a wonderful choice. This also has a lower alcohol content, so your party won’t get too rowdy!
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Very similar to Lambrusco, Brachetto is another sweet and sparkling wine hailing from Italy. This wine has more of a Moscato vibe, especially with its sweet flavours of orange blossom and peaches.
This wine can be bought in two variates – spumante (sparkling) and frizzante (slightly sparkling) versions. This is ideal for those who prefer their red wine less fizzy.
Far from the fizzy delights of Lambrusco and Brachetto, ruby port is a fortified wine from Portugal.
This means that the alcohol content of the wine is higher as a distilled grape spirit is added. During the process of fermentation, ruby port is heated.
This process will kill the yeast, which leaves a large proportion of residual sugar left in the wine.
Ruby port is so called because of the deep red color, and it is thick and syrupy compared to a regular red wine.
This wine is often enjoyed as an after-dinner treat accompanied by a cheese and grape board.
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Unlike ruby port, which is a dark syrupy red, a tawny port is aged for a longer period in wood. During this period the port is oxidised by the wood.
This result is the lighter, slightly copper, color of the port as well as adding a nutty and caramel taste.
Another fortified wine, this time Maury is manufactured in an area of France called Roussillon. The process of making Maury is similar to port, as the yeast is killed off during the process of fermentation. This leaves behind residual sugar, which makes the red wine sweet to taste.
A Maury wine needs to be made from 75 percent of grenache grapes to be a true Maury wine. The remaining grapes tend to be a mix of Syrah, Muscat, Macabeu or other local grapes.
Chocolate goes particularly well with a glass of Maury.
Banyuls, like Maury, is a fortified wine that comes from the region of Roussillon in the south of France.
The wine is fortified by killing the yeast during the fermentation process, again leaving the residual sugar that makes Banyuls sweet.
Although the process is similar to the processes used to make port, Banyuls doesn’t have as long of an ageing process.
This means that the final alcohol content is smaller than port – a difference or around 16 percent for Banyuls compared with 20 percent for port.
Similar to Maury, a small glass of Banyuls goes perfectly with dark chocolate.
Best Sweet Red Wine Recommendations
Now that you have a better idea of what a sweet red wine is, it’s time to discover what is a good sweet red wine for your special occasion. Especially if you want to impress your guests!
Even better, all of the popular sweet red wine brands recommended below are less than $30 a bottle. Which means you can splash out on the food instead!
Here are our four favourite sweet red wines:
1. Cabernet Franc Icewine
This dessert red wine comes from the Niagara Peninsula in Canada, and this warming red wine is ideal for a cozy night in.
In fact, a glass of this in front of a roaring fire will remind you of staying in a romantic log cabin surrounded by Canadian snow.
Icewine itself is made from grapes that have been frozen on the wine. This traps juice within the grape, resulting in a fruity wine that contains many complex levels of flavor.
Like other good sweet red wine, this will leave a multitude of fruity tastes on your tongue. This incudes notes of cherry, raspberry and plum.
However, the Cabernet Franc Icewine leaves more than a fruity aftertaste. There is also a distinct taste of brandy and burnt toast, which is wonderfully warming on a chilly night.
Add to that some generous spicing and you’re left with a red wine that is both sweet and spicy. Which makes this an ideal winter wine with a festive twist.
For pairings, this wine would be ideal alongside a dessert like an indulgent sticky toffee pudding. It doesn’t need to be a dessert wine, though.
Make yourself a little platter of cheeses, roasted nuts and spicy chutneys and pair it with your Cabernet Franc Icewine. Perfect for a romantic date night.
2. Noval Black Port
Port often suffers from a post-seasonal slump. That is, it’s popular during the festive season and sales drop afterwards.
Which is sad when you consider that port is such a wonderful way to end a dinner party.
Well Noval Black port is seeking to bring back the year-round appeal with its modern and sophisticated bottle branding.
Not only will this look decadent sitting on a dining room table during dessert, but it also looks ideal for a gift.
Branding aside, Noval Black port is also delicious, which is what really matters. This port, which isn’t as sweetly syrupy as others on the market, instead packs a dense and spicy punch.
Yes, there is the fruity notes of raspberry but this comes alongside the rich taste of raisin and intense dark chocolate.
For something different, chill this port and serve it before dinner. Your guests will adore the sweetness and novel way to drink port.
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3. Barefoot Wineries Red Blend
If you like the idea of a chilled sweet red wine, but you would prefer something lighter than a port, then the Barefoot Wineries sweet red blend could be ideal.
This sweet red is created using a grape combination of grenache, pinot noir, zinfandel, barbera and petite sirah, which combined create a wine that really packs a fruity punch.
Perfect on a warm summer’s eve when chilled, this wine has distinctive fruity notes of plum, cherry and raspberry. This smooth flavour makes it a great starter red wine for those who normally prefer white or rose.
Also delicious at room temperature, the jam-like sweetness of this wine makes it a wonderful accompaniment to desserts like berry cheesecakes and fruit sponges.
4. Riunite Raspberry
The wonderful thing about Riunite Raspberry is that it combines all our favourite aspects of other wines into one sweet red wine.
This is a Lambrusco wine, meaning it’s a fizzy wine, which is ideal for those people who like the idea of prosecco, but would prefer something a little less dry.
Unlike a port, this sparkling wine is much lighter, which makes it more attractive as an every day wine.
With the addition of the fizz, though, this wine is also versatile for being a fancy occasion wine without the hefty price tag.
You could easily buy multiple bottles of this and serve as a birthday toast for a party, all for the fraction of the price of premium sparkling wines.
Taste wise, like the name suggests, the Riunite Raspberry has a strong taste of ripe raspberries. This isn’t overpowering, though, as you’re left with a more floral afternote on your tongue. This wine isn’t overly sweet either, so will suit a multitude of different tastes.
Best served chilled, this wine is ideal for a summer BBQ party with friends. This wine also has an attractive colour, which is almost pink.
There’s no denying the popularity of pink drinks at the moment, with even a pink port being manufactured to appeal to a larger audience.
Serve your Riunite Raspberry in a long flute with a few fresh raspberries and some pink sugar around the rim to create an Instagram worthy drink.
Do you agree with our selections? Think there's something we've missed? We'd love to hear what you think in the comments section!