All Sug­ared Up

Just how sweet is sweet when it comes to wine?

Wine & Dine Cookbook - - WINE NOT - WORDS ED­WIN SOON

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!

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