The Difference Between Dry and Sweet Wines


Taking a trip to the wine store for the first time can be quite a challenge; you will see different kinds of wine in various colours and names. Most of the time, the labels would indicate dry wine or sweet wine.
So, how do you know the difference between a sweet wine and a dry one enough to make a suitable decision?

Basically, a wine that is not sugary is described as a dry wine, needless to say, dry wine is on the extreme opposite of a sweet wine. It goes like a sweetness spectrum that runs from dry, off-dry, medium dry, medium, medium sweet, to sweet. This criterion is more precisely determined through the LCBO Sugar Code that measures the amount of residual sugar on the wines. The rates go from 0 to 30 with the former indicating very dry while the latter indicating very sweet and the rating for a certain amount of sweetness starts at 7 and above.

Sweet wines are most commonly known as dessert wines. Evidently, a sweet wine is sugar-rich and thus contains twenty to twenty five percent residual sugars. On the other hand, dry wines only have 1% or less residual sugars in it that it is almost negligible to the taste buds. Sweet red wines include Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet, and Syrah. In addition, sweet white wines are termed Riesling, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. A dry red wine is a Merlot while a dry white wine is a Brut.

Taking some steps deeper into the world of sweet wines and dry wines will lead you to the fermentation process. The basic idea is that the following techniques are geared towards making the wine sweet and avoiding these techniques means the opposite. The most natural way of making any fruit sweet is to leave them on the vines until they reach their full maturity. This is the easiest way to enrich the grapes with sugar that it is also the most popular practice.
Gathering the grapes at a much later time decreases the amount of acidity in the fruit and increases its sweetness. Even if these grapes go through the fermentation process, there will still be sufficient sugars left in them. Meanwhile, when the grapes are harvested early on, not much sugar will be left after fermentation and therefore a dry wine is produced; this makes dry wines contain more acid that is converted to alcohol in it.

One option taken to retain the acidity in the grapes and still make them sweet is to harvest young grapes then let the sun dry it up to create its wonders. Interestingly, there are naturally acidic grapes in some cooler areas of the world. Through a method called chaptalization, the wines are sweetened up by putting in more sugar to the juice that will counterbalance its acidity.

In the end, even if the LCBO sugar code indicates a wine dry or sweet due to the amount of residual sugar, the taste can still differ because of the wines’ level of acidity. In this case, making a good wine choice could entail actual tasting for that personal judgment.
Source by Derek Rogers

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