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There are a few regions known to sell sweet wines.

(and i assume you mean distinctively sweet as in there's still sugar in the bottle)

Port, Madeira from portugal
Sauternes and Barsac, Rivesaltes from France
Sherry from Spain
Tokaji from hungary
Any auslese or greater from germany or austria.

Sometimes sweet
Touraine, Meursault, champagne

the thing goes on and on.

Short of knowledge like g-man indicates, the alcohol content can be an indicator. With rieslings for example, an alcohol content above about 12.5% will normally taste dry (unsweet). Once it creeps down to 8 or 9%, sweet is what to expect.

With fortified wines like Port, this doesn't work, as a 20% port will usually be quite sweet.
Originally posted by billhike:
Indy and g-man, would it also be correct that a 500ml size bottle is pretty much always a sweet dessert wine?

Go with the list G-man provided - those wines usually have distinctive bottle shapes. There's not a standard that's agreed on to distinguish dry from sweet, so that's as good as you're likely to get.

Unless it's a DRY sherry like the one I'm having now, or a DRY Tokaji, or a dry white or red from somewhere . . .

I guess I'd say yes a 500 ml bottle usually indicates sweet unless it doesn't. Smile

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