Sticky and dessert wines

CHOICE’s expert tasters found some heavenly dessert wines that don’t cost the earth.
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  • Updated:18 Aug 2008


The following wines scored the best results in our test.

What to buy
Brand Price
Ice wines
Seifried Nelson Riesling Ice Wine 2007 $35.50
Lillypilly Noble Sauvignon Blanc 2002 $21
Miranda Golden Botrytis 2002 $18.50
Tempus Two Botrytis Semillon 2005 $20
Vinifera Easter Semillon 2005 $23
Late harvest
Miranda The Pioneers Raisined Muscat 2006 $9

Dessert wines selection 


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Results Table

Full results for all wines are shown in the table below.Results table part 1




Results table part 2

Table notes

  • Score Each expert gave the wines a score out of 20 according to the international show-scoring system for wines: 3 for appearance, 7 for nose (aroma) and 10 for palate.
    The score printed in the table is a consensus score reached when discussing the wines after the tasting, still without knowing what the wines were. When the wine received too wide a range of scores and no consensus could be reached, we called it a Mixed emotion, listed the range of scores and included two overall sets of comments to reflect the tasters’ different views. If it sounds like something you might like, give it a try.
  • Alcohol The alcohol content of dessert wines varies more than normal wines, from very low (such as 7.5%) to very high (16%). The figures in the table are the percentage alcohol by volume as stated on the label.
  • Price This is based on prices we paid in bottle shops in Sydney in July 2008. We found significant price variations, so it pays to shop around and look out for specials.
  • Tasting notes These are compiled from the experts’ notes on the wine’s colour and appearance, nose, palate and overall impression. Combined with the scores they should give you a good indication of the wine’s style, aroma and flavour.

How we tested

The CHOICE expert panel (see below) tasted 38 dessert wines that you should find in bottle shops with a good range of stock. The wines were tasted in groups — ice wines, followed by late harvest and finally botrytis-affected.

The experts knew the type of dessert wine they were tasting, but otherwise they were identified only by numbers.

The experts are trained to ignore personal preferences and look only for attributes that indicate a wine is well made and has no obvious faults.

  • A score of 14–15 points (out of 20) indicates the wine is OK but nothing special.
  • A wine that scores 15–16.9 points is awarded a bronze medal at wine shows.
  • 17–18.4 points earns a silver and 18.5 points or more a gold medal.