Why are some wines sweet and others dry

Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

The sweetness of wine is just a perception. We can think that wine is sweet(off-dry), or we can believe that wine is dry when, in reality, both wines have the same amount of residual sugar.

Perception of sweetness

We taste the sweetness on our tongue. But our tongue tastes other things like acidity and tannins. More the acidity and tannins wine has the less sweet it will feel. When you think about Sauvignon blanc, you don’t associate it with a sweet taste. But on the other hand, when you think about Riesling, you might have it associated with a sweet taste. I wrote an article about a different level of sweetness in Riesling and how to know them before you buy a bottle.

Where is the sugar from in wine

During the fermentation process yeast converts sugars from wine grapes into alcohol. When this process is finished, you get dry wine. This process takes about one to two weeks.
If the winemaker wants to produce sweeter wine, he has to stop the fermentation process, which will result in a sweeter wine.

List of sweet (off-dry) white wines

  • Gewürztraminer
  • Moscato
  • Riesling
  • Chenin Blanc

List of sweet (off-dry) red wines

  • Lambrusco
  • Valpolicella
  • Shiraz
  • Malbec

List of dry white wines

  • Pinot Grigio
  • Chablis
  • Vinho Verde
  • Gavi

List of dry red wines

  • Nebbiolo
  • Chianti
  • Tempranillo
  • Montepulciano

One last thing that you might think about is food that you will eat with the wine. Try to drink sweet wine with spicy or salty food.

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