Liquor Laboratory

10 Best Semi Sweet Red Wine Brands To Try (2023 Edition)

Best Semi Sweet Red Wine

Last Updated on November 25, 2023 by Lydia Martin

If you’re new to red wines, semi-sweet varieties provide a smoother transition, introducing you to the world of reds without the intense tannins.

The gentle sweetness makes semi-sweet reds easy to sip on their own, providing a smooth and enjoyable drinking experience.

After a series of delightful tastings, my team and I narrowed the selection down to bring you the ultimate recommendation of the best semi-sweet red wine options. Keep reading.

Top 10 Semi-Sweet Red Wines To Try

1. 2010 Dolce della Rosa Semi Sweet Red

2010 Dolce della Rosa Semi Sweet Red Bottle and a Glass

Average Price: Roughly $12.59 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 7% ABV

Nose: Ripe red berries with subtle spices

Palate: Red berries, grape, with cocoa

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: As I brought the wine [1] glass to my nose, the scent of ripe red berries greeted my nose.

Upon sipping the semi-sweet red wine, my taste buds were greeted by an orchestra of flavors – the juiciness of the red berries with the subtle emergence of cocoa introduced an unexpected depth.

“Other red wines have actual sugar present in the wine and are a true embodiment of a sweet red wine.” – Ashley Malinowski, Beverage Director 

The wine’s mild sweetness and delicious flavors won me over, as the dessert-like sweetness did not overpower the tasting notes of the semi-sweet red wine.

2. 2017 Powell & Son Kraehe Marananga Shiraz

2017 Powell & Son Kraehe Marananga Shiraz

Average Price: Roughly $750 (Official Website)

Alcohol Content: 14.5% ABV

Nose: Ripe dark berries, cracked pepper, and oak

Palate: Blackberries, plums, spice, and velvety tannins

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: I was truly impressed when I tasted the 2017 Powell & Son Kraehe Marananga Shiraz. The way the wine smells, with its mix of dark berries, a hint of pepper, and just a touch of oak, pulls you right in.

As I sip the medium-bodied wine, those juicy blackberries and plums stand out with a gentle kick of spice.

Read: Top Sweet Red Wines

3. 2019 Martinelli Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel

2019 Martinelli Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel

Average Price: Roughly $111.94 (JJ Buckley Fine Wines)

Alcohol Content: 16.6% ABV

Nose: Ripe blackberries, dark cherries, vanilla, a touch of black pepper, toasted oak, and cocoa

Palate: Dark fruit, cinnamon, clove, licorice, smoky tobacco, and chocolate

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: The moment I brought the glass to my lips, an inviting medley of aromas greeted me – the burst of blackberries, cherries, and the intriguing layers of vanilla and oak from the bottle.

The wine’s residual sugar and complex flavors of the dessert wine deliver a delightful drinking experience.

4. Jim Barry The Forger Shiraz

Jim Barry The Forger Shiraz

Average Price: Roughly $23.96 (Vivino)

Alcohol Content: 14.10% ABV

Nose: Luscious dark berries and a harmonious blend of juicy fruit, spice, and chocolate notes

Palate: Dark berries, soft tannins, grape juice, cherry, vanilla, and oak

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Jim Barry’s The Forger Shiraz is a captivating dessert wine that effortlessly balances floral aromas with a palate brimming with rich, dark-berried characters.

Unlike other sweet red wine styles, this fruity wine has a floral bouquet on the nose that draws you in, along with its orchestra of flavors.

The subtle touch of chocolate adds depth to the sweet wine, and the refreshing finish seals the deal. It’s a vibrant and satisfying semi-sweet red wine that promises an enjoyable journey from the first sip to the last drop.

5. Fleurie Georges Duboeuf

Fleurie Georges Duboeuf

Average Price: Roughly $29.99 (Bocaccio Cellars)

Alcohol Content: 13% ABV

Nose: Scents of iris, vine peach, and grapes

Palate: fruity flavors of cherry, peach, and sweet grapes with low tannins

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: The striking carmine red color of the semi-sweet wine sets the stage as it reveals an intricate tapestry of floral and fruity notes.

Each scent contributes to the allure of the semi-sweet wine, from the delicate iris and violet to the sweetness of red fruits and vine peach.

Upon tasting, the Fleurie lives up to its reputation – it’s truly elegant and refined, reflecting its “feminine” character.

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6. 2013 Markovic Estates Select Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot Semi Sweet

2013 Markovic Estates Select Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot Semi Sweet 

Average Price: Roughly $12.95 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 13% ABV

Nose: Cherry, berries, a touch of plum, hints of vanilla, baking spices, and a subtle undertone of earthiness

Palate: Blackberries, soft plums, subtle acidity, and a harmonious blend of vanilla and spices

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: The Cabernet Sauvignon Semi Sweet red wines have an enticing prelude to the palate journey.

These wines are sweet, but Markovic Cabernet Sauvignon contains medium tannins, unlike the sweeter red wines.

7. Lambrusco Pruno Nero

Lambrusco Pruno Nero

Average Price: Roughly $16.99 (Astor Wines)

Alcohol Content: 11% AABV

Nose: Vibrant red berries, black cherry, floral notes, and a hint of earthiness

Palate: Red cherries, blackberry, a gentle undertone of sweetness, and lively acidity

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: The bouquet of red berries and the delicate black cherry notes of this wine intertwine gracefully, setting the stage for a delightful palate experience.

The juicy red cherries shine as the semi-sweet red wine graces my taste buds, accompanied by a subtle blackberry touch and a pleasing hint of sweetness.

8. Risata Red Moscato

Risata Red Moscato

Average Price: Roughly $15.46 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 5.5% ABV

Nose: Ripe red berries, peach, floral, and citrus zest

Palate: Strawberries, a hint of raspberry, a delicate sweetness touch, and crisp acidity

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: The aroma of semi-sweet red wine mingles harmoniously with the freshness of peach, creating a captivating sensory experience.

As I took that first sip of this wine, my palate met with the lusciousness of strawberries and the subtle allure of raspberry that you will not find in dry wines.

9. Costers del Prior Priorat

Costers del Prior Priorat

Average Price: Roughly $14.08 (Wine Searcher)

Alcohol Content: 14.50% ABV

Nose: Dark cherries, black currant, herbs, earthiness, and a trace of smoky oak

Palate: Rich blackberries, and plum, with the lingering essence of dark chocolate

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: The symphony of flavors unfolds as the sweet red wine graces my palate – from the indulgence of blackberries and plum to the rustic charm of Mediterranean herbs.

Unlike other wines, the subtle minerality adds depth, and the touch of dark chocolate adds a luxurious note to the semi-sweet red wine.

10. 2019 Markovic Estates Select Shiraz – Grenache Semi Sweet

2019 Markovic Estates Select Shiraz - Grenache Semi Sweet 

Average Price: Roughly $9.99 (Drizly)

Alcohol Content: 14.5% ABV

Nose: A touch of red plum, baking spices, and floral notes with a subtle undertone of vanilla

Palate: Juicy raspberries, strawberries, a delicate balance of sweetness and acidity

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: The aroma of ripe red berries mingled with the blackberry notes created a captivating introduction.

The wine has the right amount of sugar content (unlike off-dry wine), and the hints of baking spices and subtle vanilla add layers of complexity, making each sip an exploration of taste.

Note: The star rating was determined based on a blind test, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest. Each product was evaluated based on quality, flavor profile, complexity, smoothness, and enjoyment. 

Popular Semi-Sweet Red Wine Styles

  • Red Moscato: Red Moscato [2] is made from Black Muscat grapes, and it is sweet, vibrant, and full of cherry and violet aromas, perfect for a cheerful sip.
  • Brachetto D’Acqui: It is an Italian semi-sweet red wine that delivers a delightful balance of flavors.
  • Tempranillo: From sweet to off-dry styles, Tempranillo offers soft, pleasing sweetness with a touch of complexity.
  • Lambrusco: Lambrusco embodies fun with strawberries, cherries, and raspberry jam sweetness flavors.
  • Zinfandel: Late-harvest Zinfandel showcases semi-sweet richness, a Croatian-origin wine growing successfully in the USA [3].
  • Garnacha: Garnacha delights with sweet, dessert-worthy grapes and an irresistible snap of chocolate.
  • Malbec: Malbec is a ripe, sweet red wine that delivers berry goodness with slightly higher sugar content than dry wines such as Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Shiraz: Shiraz adds a touch of berry sweetness to rich dishes, making a statement with every sip.
  • Beaujolais Nouveau: Beaujolais Nouveau from Beaujolais Region is the King of semi-sweet reds, featuring notes of sugared strawberries and ripe cherries.

What Pairs Well With Semi-Sweet Red Wines?

Unlike other styles, semi-sweet red wines have many food pairings. Semi-sweet red wines pair wonderfully with various foods, including barbecued meats, spicy dishes, light cheeses, and chocolate desserts.

“Semi-sweet red wines: where sweetness and depth find joyful harmony.” – Liquor Laboratory 

Semi-sweet red wines have notable sweetness and fruitiness (unlike Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir), complementing diverse flavors and enhancing the savory and sweet elements of the food pairings.

FAQs

What type of wine is semi-sweet red?

Wines containing residual sugar levels ranging from 20 to 75 g/l are commonly referred to as semi-sweet wines. Varieties such as Lambrusco [4] and Moscato fall within this category.

The red blend balance sweetness (with residual sugar) and traditional grape wine, offering a flavorful experience.

What’s the best semi-sweet red wine with high alcohol content?

2019 Martinelli Jackass Vineyard Zinfandel takes the spotlight as a remarkable semi-sweet red wine with a notably high alcohol content of 16.6%.

The appealing sweetness of a semi-sweet red with a robust alcohol level adds depth and intensity to the overall experience.

What’s a smooth sweet red wine?

A smooth sweet red wine is characterized by its velvety texture and harmonious balance of sweetness. It’s a wine that glides smoothly across the palate, delivering a pleasurable mouthfeel.

Wine lovers often consider the sugar content when choosing dessert and dinner drinks. Red wines can carry from off-dry, semi-dry, semi-sweet, and sweet depending on the grapes and winemaking process.

To Sum It Up

The best bottles of semi-sweet red wine strike a harmonious balance, offering a gentle sweetness than a full-bodied red wine.

While red wines embody complexity, most semi-sweet red wine styles add a layer of approachability and versatility.

Among these, the 2010 Dolce della Rosa Semi Sweet Red emerges as the pinnacle. Unlike other sweet wines, Dolce della Rosa has the right amount of sugar and does not overpower the flavor profile of the liquor.

This red wine delivers a delightful journey, bridging the gap between novice and connoisseur, making it an epitome of semi-sweet red wine excellence.

What’s your favorite semi-sweet red wine? We love to hear from you!

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/wine
  2. https://www.foodandwine.com/wine/moscato-wine-guide
  3. https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-zinfandel-3511215
  4. https://www.delish.com/food/a19781844/what-is-lambrusco/

 

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