What is a dry wine?
The word “dry” can be confusing at first when used to describe wine. After all, wine is a liquid, mostly composed of water, so how would “dry” fit in the picture? When someone refers to dry wine, they are simply communicating “not sweet”. Wines grapes have varying levels of natural sugars depending on varietal differences, the concentration of the grape juice used, and how late in the season the juice was harvested. During the wine making fermentation process, yeast is used to convert sugar into alcohol. Sweet and dry wines are both defined by amount of sugar (or lack of it) left in the wine at the end of the fermentation process. This is called residual sugar.
Wine makers use one of the following methods to make sweet wine:
- One method involves picking the grapes while still young (and acidic) then drying them in the sun to enhance sweetness before extracting the juice.
- Another method, famous for producing exquisite dessert wine involves freezing mature grapes. In so doing, the grape retains the water, while dense, sugar-rich syrup is bled off.
- The third method is typically used to offset acidity common in grapes growing in cold area. This technique, called chaptalization, involves adding sugar to juice to gain the extra sweetness needed to offset the acidity inherent in the juice.
- But the most common methods of producing sweet wine is to harvest the fruits late as more mature grapes contain more sugar and stopping the fermentation before the cycle is fully finished, thereby preserving some sugar.
The level of dryness of sweetness varies depending on the wine making methods used. A wine is considered dry if its residual sugar is less than 4 gm per liter (1 percent the wines volume) at the end of the fermentation process. Medium dry ones have about 12 gm of residual sugar per liter of wine while sweet wines have over 30 gm of residual sugar per litter. How to detect “dry” in a white wine
How to detect a dry white wine
Two factors play an important role in how taste buds perceive “dry” in a wine. These are tannins and acidity. While both white and red can have acidity, showcasing it in white wine is a lot easier. It is first detected by salivation; your mouth immediately begins watering when you take that first sip of white wine with decent acidity. On the other hand, your mouth will dry out a bit when you take your first sip of a red wine with decent tannin levels.
Sweet and fruity are two words often confused in wine terminology. The fruity factor does not refer to the level of residual sugar left, but rather the wine’s aromatic or secondary flavor; hence, fruity wine isn’t necessary a sweet one. Different fruity dry whites have distinct fruit like qualities from mango to citrus, light to lush that drive up their “fruity” character. For example, Sauvignon Blanc may have the flavor of gooseberries or Riesling may taste of apples.
Very dry white wines
These are wines with less than 4 gm/liter of residual sugar.
Chardonnays: Perhaps the most popular of all dry white wines, Chardonnay has a taste that is described as “velvety” or “full-bodied” with flavors such as pineapple, lemon, grapefruits and hints of apple. The wine is aged inside oaked barrels to impart a variety of flavors such as toast, coconut, coffee, and vanilla.
Sauvignon Blanc: This wine has characteristic herbal background flavors, with hints of bell pepper and a little acidity. Its dominant flavors are fruitier, with gooseberries, apples, pears, mango, blackcurrant and melon being distinct. Famous for being the only wine that pairs excellently with sushi
Albarino: This is a Spanish white that is moderately acidic and flush with citrus flavors. It pairs excellently with sea food which is plentiful in Spanish cuisine.
Medium dry white wines
These are wines with as much as 12 g/L of residual sugar.
Pinot Blanc: This white comes from regions like Italy, Germany, Austria and the Alsace region in France. It tastes like a lighter version of chardonnay. Pinot Blancs are produced by fermenting in stainless tell containers to retain some residual sugars and offset acidity.
Pinot Gris/Grigio: Light and versatile as a food pairing, this is perhaps the second most popular wine in the Unites States. The flavor is a bit more bodes compared to Sauvignon Blanc. Wines from this grape produce n France is called pinot Grigio while wine produces elsewhere, particularly France and Oregon are referred to as pinot Gris.
Riesling: Produced from a wine grape that thrives in the cooler climates of Alsace and Germany, Riesling can be sweet or dry. Dry white Rieslings are easy to detect as they are distinctly acidic with a variety of flavors from apples, stone fruits and minerals.
Sangiovese wine is an Italian red wine made from Sangiovese grapes which are popular in Italy from Romagna down to Sicily and Campania. They are however scarce outside Italy. In fact, the grapes are less abundant than little known wine grape varieties such as Mourvedre despite the fact that they are genetically fit to grow in most grape growing areas in Europe.
Over the years, Sangiovese grapes have undergone very many different mutations resulting in many different varieties offering different tastes. Some of the most notable Sangiovese varieties include the Montefalco Rosso and the Brunello di Montalcino. These wines feature delicate floral strawberry and intensely dark tannic wine aromas. To learn more about Sangiovese wine, below is a detailed discussion about Sangiovese wine characteristics, history, regions and food pairing. Continue reading
If you are reading this, you have probably already been to a wine tasting, have had a number of wines, whether at a restaurant, at a friend’s house or in your own home. You have seen the person across the room, swirling the wine effortlessly in their glass, fingers around the stem, pinky finger out. They take a sip, make that sort of obnoxious burbling sound, and finish with a click-click-click sound. You might have rolled your eyes witnessing such an act, but at the same time, you were a little intrigued. Is this how you drink wine? Well, the last clicking might have been a bit much, but it is a start. Though it may sound pretentious at first, there is a how to drink wine. If you do not have one already, get yourself a glass of wine. Continue reading
Contrary to the popular belief that all wines get better as they age, the fact is that about 95% of wines produced today are made to be enjoyed about a year or two after production. That is usually the case for most of the bottled wines that can be purchased at your local liquor store for under $50. Aging those wines too long can actually reduce their quality. Continue reading
Most of us pour our favorite glass of wine without any more of an objective than enjoyment. Lucky for us, most of us might not be aware that our wine contains a few more benefits than just enjoyment. For centuries, wine has been used as a form of medication. For the Romans, it was a safer alternative to drinking what might be contaminated water. They would even add it to water, as the alcohol would kill any harmful bacteria or viruses. It has been used as a digestive aid, an antibacterial for treating wounds and as a cure for a number of ailments such as diarrhea, lethargy and even to ease the pain during childbirth. It was discovered not too long ago that even the Egyptians made records in how wine could be used for medicinal purposes. However, there are many other benefits to be had by consuming this wondrous libation other than just curing common ailments. Continue reading
Climate change is becoming a key factor in where and how grapes are cultivated. What does climate change hold in store for the wine industry?
The wine industry is no stranger when it comes to adaptation. Certain varietals are planted in regions and locations where they adapt and thrive at their best. Harvests are often decided according to changing weather patterns. A winery might have to adapt their wine styles according to marketing and consumer demands. Just the art of crafting a wine takes adaptation, as fermentation at times can be finicky and result in unpredictable challenges. In the past few years, there is one more element which has many wineries and viticulturists changing how they run their vineyards, climate change. Continue reading
Remember when you had your first glass of a red wine? It might have been at a friend’s house or maybe it was at home, when you decided to educate your palate for the first time, maybe with “just-any-wine” you bought from your local wine store. You poured a healthy amount, almost to the top of your glass, took a sip, and blah! It started off good, fruity, a little sweet, and then, whap! Dryness completely took over your mouth. You decided right then and there you did not like ‘dry wine’. Continue reading
Many of wine enthusiasts have been to them. Many people who are just discovering wine perhaps have even been to one. But in the circumstances that you are going to visit a wine festival near you, or even travel to one, there are a few things you must prepare for, whether you are an avid wine festival goer or will be going for the first time. The idea is to have a great experience and have fun, however, this is the world of wine, which at times can get complicated. I am going to help you make the most of it! Here we go! Continue reading
The USDA Foreign Agriculture Service in March of 2012 stated that Argentina’s wine grape production will be at an estimated 2.86 million metric tons. This is up from 2.2 metric tons in 2012 which was at a low due to late frost and hail. As for the Argentine wine volume, it is expected to increase as well from 1.3 billion liters to 1.53 billion liters. With increase in production there is an also predicted increase in exportation to the United States with an ever so slight growing demand. The conditions of the current economy is making the United States and Canada both the largest markets for Argentine wine. Why? And will this be a continuing trend? Continue reading
Do you dream of starting a wine collection? Before you build on your wine collection or even start, there are some rules you cannot ignore when it comes to your wine. If you don’t store your wines properly the affects can not only lead to and emotional letdown, but could mean a loss financially. I am going to let you in on some very simple rules to store wine. It does not always mean you have to break the bank and invest in a large custom-built wine cellar. Continue reading