Dry? Sweet? What Does That Even Mean?

Dry? Sweet? What do those terms really mean? Is it even something you consider when making a wine purchase? When I was starting out as a wine consumer, I remember buying a “sweet” sparkling wine because I was looking for a syrupy blush sipper that gave me more of a Coca-Cola experience than a sommelier one. Suffice it to say, my $6.00 bottle was not what I expected.

In an article that is so scientific that it probably is far more information than you’d ever want or need to know about the topic, Wine Enthusiast delves into the factors that influence whether a person will perceive wines as sweet or dry. You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s not just about sugar: tannins, acids and even your genetic code are to blame.

Nerdy oenophiles who love facts and figures will grin with factoids like this:

“As a basic rule, wines with 10g/L or less of residual sugar are typically considered dry wines. (Most tasters cannot detect sweetness below 4 to 5 g/L.) At 10 to 24 g/L, wines are considered medium sweet or off-dry. Some decadently rich dessert wines reach ridiculous levels, with over 450 g/L or residual sugar.”

You can access the full article at the Wine Enthusiast online.


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