All Sugared Up
Just how sweet is sweet when it comes to wine?
The main difference between dry table wines and sweet wines comes from the residual sugar—that is, the amount of sugar dissolved in wine that is not transformed into alcohol by fermentation. Sweet wines have higher residual sugar, compared to dry wine. However the taste of sweetness in wine is often accentuated by the alcohol and balanced by the wine’s acidity.
In a low-alcohol but crisp, tart, high-acidity wine, the sweetness will be less evident. This is the case for German sweet wines, especially trockenbeerenauslese wines, which are considered the highest category of sweet wines. The wine might contain 8g of acid, 14 Baume units of sugar and 6.5 per cent alcohol, yet it will taste less sweet than say a French Sauternes that typically has 5g of acid, three times less sugar and twice as much alcohol!