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Wine Review: Sweet wines trending in US

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The sweet wine rage is on in full force in the United States.

The sweet wines of today are not beverages that have been sweetened with sugar. That act, called chaptalisation, is strictly forbidden in the U.S. and most other wine-producing countries. Wine is not made sweet; it is a natural occurrence when fermentation is prematurely stopped by chilling. What results is a wine that is sweet because of the unfermented grape juice, with lower alcohol content and a much bigger flavor and aroma.

Sweet wines can go with foods that are not too acidic. These wines enhance the enjoyment of those foods. To those detractors of sweet wines, don't knock them until you have sampled selections from Castello del Poggio.

Castello del Poggio Moscato ($13)
Moscato wines have been around for a very long time, but they often were regarded as sweet, perfumed harlots by wine snobs and avoided by the wine press. These are the same people who rave about Chateau d'Yquem, the famous, super-sweet wine of the Bordeaux region in France; a standard bottle of the vintage is currently on dealers' shelves for a whopping $250 each, if you are lucky enough to find one. This Italian import puts all of the naysayers to shame. The wine displays a deep straw yellow with golden reflections and an unmistakable bouquet of peach and honey, followed by a long aftertaste. This is a wine to serve with or as dessert and can brighten any outdoor party.

Castello del Poggio Sweet Red ($13)
Also Called Rosso Dolce, this wine explores flavor and aroma regions touched by few sweet wines. The Castello del Poggio Sweet Red presents a bright raspberry-violet color and fruity aroma notes of apricot and peach. The wine also displays a bit of tannin in the flavor, along with a host of friendly dark fruit flavors, which, as one might expect, follow on to the finish. To really see this wine stand out, pair it with smoked meats, Mexican dishes and spicy concoctions.

Castello del Poggio Sweet Prosecco ($13)
Prosecco wines are not usually sweet, but they also are never totally dry. This offering from Castello del Poggio separates itself from the rest of the Prosecco clan by being noticeably sweet. It is a wine that displays all of the attributes that one seeks in sparkling wine at a very affordable price. The Castello del Poggio is a bright, happy wine with a subtle aroma of pears, apricots, peaches and grilled pineapples, a characteristic of prosecco grapes that carries over to the flavor. There, it’s amplified by the bubbles and continues on to a pleasantly crisp fruity finish. This is a perfect outdoor party or barbecue wine.

Castello del Poggio Sweet Rose ($13)
Castello del Poggio Sweet Rose is a great choice for brunch or outdoor sipping on a summer day. The color is a cheerful pink hue, which is more than enough to invite the first sip. The flavor and aroma are generously laced with notes of cantaloupe, white peach and pomegranate, leading to a finish that is fresh and smooth. One of the outstanding features of this wine is the finish that lasts in the mouth for a long while.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at frojhe1@att.net.

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