Sweet wine is often served with dessert, which is probably where the name dessert wine comes from. The sweet or dessert wine is not to be confused with sweet wine because the sweet wine gets its sweetness naturally from the grapes and can be sweetened with sweet wines. The residual sweetness typical of sweet wine can be produced in two ways: Either the wine yeast dies off due to the relatively high alcohol sugar content or the fermentation process is specifically stopped by the winemaker. In this way, the "residual sugar", as the unfermented part of the wine after fermentation is called, remains in the wine. There are many different production methods for sweet and dessert wines, which vary according to the region in their degree of sweetness as well as the ageing of the wine.
In Austria, wines in which sugar has been naturally concentrated are called Ausbruch, Auslese, Beeren- oder Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein.
Auslese is made from grapes that have been dried on the vine and are slightly covered with noble rot. Characteristic for Beerenauslese is the color reminiscent of berries, which is also noticeable on the nose and palate.
Icewine is made from grapes frozen on the vine and harvested at a minimum temperature of -7 degrees. Its sweet, fruity taste is perfect with blue cheese, desserts or an espresso.
Most sweet or dessert wines harmonize well with spicy cheeses, especially with blue cheese.