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That seventies word

The word dry is left over lingo from the days when most wine in the American market contained residual sugar. Nearly every bottle of wine is fermented completely dry these days, regardless of how fruity it tastes. Specifying you like 'dry wine' has little meaning. Dry refers to a lack of sugar after fermentation.

Rather than use this vague term, learn to identify tannin, acidity, fruitiness, and residual sugar in the wines you drink. Dryness is not tannin, the astringent property that feels rough in your mouth. It is not acidity or a lack of excessive fruitiness. A dry wine can be tannic like a cabernet sauvignon or lack those rough sensations like Beaujolais. It can be acidic, like Chianti or round and soft like viognier. Wine made from very ripe grapes can be dry even though it tastes sweet, or fruity, as in wine from Australia.

There is an inverse relationship between acidity and grape sugars as grapes ripen. Wine made from extremely ripe grapes will taste jammy and round, lacking the mouthwatering acidity needed for pairing with food.

When under ripe grapes are fermented completely dry, the wine is acidic and thin. Grapes grown in cooler regions, like Germany, sometimes lack the ripeness to be fermented dry. In these cases fermentation is stopped before all the grape sugars are consumed by the yeast, creating fruitiness by allowing a touch of grape juice to remain. Leftover sugar after fermentation is called residual sugar and can be detected on the tip of your tongue. Usually the bottle will refer to the residual sugar as a percentage.

Add these words to your wine vocabulary and retire the word dry, unless you're talking about wines from Germany and Champagne. Learn to identify these components so your preferences will be easier to express. Using correct terminology makes it easier to find what you like.

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