Sweet or Dry

One of the things I have heard very frequently is that, 'This wine is too sweet for me'. I didn't understand what it meant at first because very often the wines we were drinking were dry, meaning the sugar content is very low. I soon realize that it is very often we mix up between the concept of 'sweet' and 'fruity'.

The term 'dry' technically means there is less than 10g of sugar per Litre of wine. I would claim majority of wines you could find in the market falls into this category, except many German Riesling, Moscato d'Asti, dessert wines etc where they are made to be sweet. However, if a wine is fruity or has the aroma of some sweet spice, it is very easy to 'perceive' it as ‘sweet’ even though it is dry.

Why do we have to go into all these technical details? One reason is to understand your own preference. Once we are aware of these little details, we would soon understand more why we like or don’t like a particular wine, and now we could say we like fruitiness but not sweetness. Another reason is to communicate in a common language. When I go to a wine store in an unfamiliar region, or dining at a restaurant with an expert sommelier, I usually ask for recommendations. The clearer I am to communicate my preference, less likely it is for me to be frustrated with a poorly recommended wine :)