WINE: When you find you're in a stickies situation

Wine barrels in the Margaret River region in Western Australia.
Wine barrels in the Margaret River region in Western Australia. Rae Wilson

SWEET wines, more commonly referred to as dessert wines or the even more friendly "stickies," come in various guises: "late harvest" styles where grapes are left to gain as much natural sugar as possible before harvesting, and a "botrytis" style where the "noble rot'' fungus draws all the moisture from the grape, leaving behind sugars and acid.

The greatest sweet wines are balanced between those natural sugars and acidity providing longevity to develop complex flavours. Food matches are usually equally powerful dishes such as blue cheeses or rich desserts.

Longview Vineyards, Epitome, Late Harvest Riesling, 2016

Adelaide Hills, SA. Often "stickies" have lower alcohol by not being fortified with brandy or grape spirit to stop the ferment early to retain plenty of sugars. Floury apple slices, tropical fruit, peach fuzz, soft wax and spritzy lime sorbet citrus aromas. Serve with pavlova for a decadent afternoon tea.


RATING: 8/10

RRP: $25

ALC: 9.5%


Riversdale Estate, Botrytis Riesling, 2014

Coal River Valley, Tasmania. Awarded trophy for best sweet wine at the 2017 Tasmanian Wine Show. Burnt lime, apricot kernel and sweaty rocket-arugula leaves. Well-balanced palate: the sweet lime and stonefruit provide a wrapping over the acidity that finishes with a pinpoint linear direction. A match for lighter fruit sorbet-based desserts.


RATING: 9/10

RRP: $34

Alc: 6.1%


De Bortoli, Black Noble, Botrytis Semillon, NV

Riverina, NSW. A small parcel from the production of the iconic Noble One is fortified with brandy spirit then barrel aged for an average of 10 years. Complex aromas: raisins, espresso coffee, Christmas pudding spice, nutty rancio (a combination of walnut and butter) and dried mix fruit. It retains semillon's juicy acidity and lightness but bulked up with charred treacle and bittersweet coffee liqueur from barrel aging. Serve with pecan pie or squares of quality dark chocolate.


RATING: 9/10

RRP: $36

ALC: 17.5%

More at

Topics:  regan drew wine wine review wine words

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Sharing cultures through food

DIG IN: Lockyer Valley Community Centre volunteers at the Harmony Day food tasting

Community centre hosts Harmony Day event

Gordon reflects on farming life in the Lockyer

LOOKING BACK: Laidley's Gordon Niebling says he has loved his farming life and living in the Lockyer Valley.

The self-proclaimed 'Jack of all trades”, Gordon Niebling.

Clare Atkinson Journalism Scholarship needs your support

IN HONOUR: Brightview's Lesley Atkinson is urging the public to help continue the Clare Atkinson Memorial Scholarship.

Help continue Clare Atkinson's legacy and the future of journalism.

Local Partners