List Page Learn About Content Graphic

Italian Dessert Wine

Learn about Italian dessert wine, common tasting notes, where the region is and more ...

undefined, null

For this look at Italian dessert wine, we will omit sweet sparkling options like Moscato d’Asti and Asti Spumante, which are covered in our discussion of Italian sparkling wine. We will also pass on sweet Vermouth and Barolo Chinato, both of which more typically serve as an aperitif or an ingredient in various cocktails. The country in fact produces hundreds of different sweet wines, but we will limit our focus to the following three classics.

One of the best-known Italian dessert wines is Vin Santo (“holy water”), produced in many parts of Italy but most widely in Tuscany, where it is commonly enjoyed after a meal with a type of biscotti called cantucci. Vin Santo is a passito wine, meaning it is made from grapes that have been dried for several months before fermentation, which can last for years. Typically, a blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia, Vin Santo can be made in dry or off-dry styles. But the best known versions are rich, complex and sweet, offering delectable notes of caramel, hazelnut, honey and dried apricot. Fortified examples do exist, but the finest are not fortified, coming in at 13%-14% alcohol.

Another passito Italian dessert wine option is Passito di Pantelleria, from the island of the same name. This of course is made in a similar manner as Vin Santo, although the passito juice is blended with fresh juice just before fermentation. But here the grape is Zibibbo, also known as Muscat of Alexandria. Beautifully aromatic as well as bursting with jammy flavors of figs, dates and apricots, this is lusciously sweet, and also about 14% alcohol.

Finally, we have to mention the fortified Italian dessert wine, Marsala. While commonly thought of today as a cheap cooking wine, Marsala at its best is remarkable. It is made from a variety of indigenous grapes grown near the Sicilian port city of Marsala and can be dry, semi-sweet or very sweet. The color also varies, with the three types being golden, amber and ruby – the latter actually quite rare. Another key variable is the amount of barrel aging, ranging from one year to ten. Production methods can also vary, but the most impressive types are made via a fractional blending process that is similar to the Sherry solera system. These Marsalas, especially those with five or more years in wood, offer tremendous richness and complexity to rival that of fine tawny Ports and oloroso Sherries.

Filter by
5 Items
5 Items
Gift Type
Occasion
Variety
Other Dessert
Italy
Rating & Price
Rating All
Price All
Size & Type
Fine Wine
5 Items
  • Felsina Vin Santo (375ML half-bottle) 2009  Front Label
    Felsina Vin Santo (375ML half-bottle) 2009
    Other Dessert from Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
      0.0 0 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $49.99
        Try the
        49 99
        49 99
        Save $0.00 (0%)
      • Donnafugata Ben Rye (375ML half-bottle) 2018  Front Label
        Donnafugata Ben Rye (375ML half-bottle) 2018
        Other Dessert from Sicily, Italy
        • D98
        5.0 9 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $47.99
        Try the
        47 99
        47 99
        Save $0.00 (0%)
      • Badia a Coltibuono Vin Santo (375ML half-bottle) 2011  Front Label
        Badia a Coltibuono Vin Santo (375ML half-bottle) 2011
        Other Dessert from Tuscany, Italy
        • V93
        4.8 8 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $47.99
        Try the
        47 99
        47 99
        Save $0.00 (0%)
      • Felsina Vin Santo (375ML half-bottle) 2008  Front Label
        Felsina Vin Santo (375ML half-bottle) 2008
        Other Dessert from Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
          0.0 0 Ratings
            Currently Unavailable $48.99
            Try the
            52
            48 99
            Save $3.01 (6%)
          • Antinori Muffato (500ML) 2009  Front Label
            Antinori Muffato (500ML) 2009
            Other Dessert from Tuscany, Italy
            • RP96
            • WS91
            • W&S90
            0.0 0 Ratings
              Currently Unavailable $41.99
              Try the
              41 99
              41 99
              Save $0.00 (0%)
            Sorry, we couldn't find any matches.

            Internet Explorer is no longer supported.
            Please use a different browser like Edge, Chrome or Firefox to enjoy all that Wine.com has to offer.

            It's easy to make the switch.
            Enjoy better browsing and increased security.

            Yes, Update Now

            Search for ""

            Processing Your Order...