Difference between sweet and dry wine
Sweet wine vs dry wine:
Wine is basically a popular alcoholic beverage that is made from exposing grape juice to fermentation. However, there are many types of wine and a first time visit to a wine store and choosing a wine that suits one’s needs can be rather confusing to most. While there are red and white wines, there are dry and sweet wines as well, each one very different from the other, consisting of different characteristics and tastes. However, the subject of this article is the difference between dry and sweet wines. Let us observe.
About sweet wine
Sweet wines are characteristic of their rich, sweet flavor and are known to contain around twenty to twenty five percent residual sugars. Sweet wine rates a 7 or above on the LCBO Sugar Code which is used to measure the amount of residual sugar on the wines. Sweet wines are also known as dessert wines because of their sweet flavor and they are made from the juice of grapes which have been picked after they have ripened very well so that there may be a minimum amount of acidity left in them. However, in order to retain the acidity and also the sweetness of the grapes, it is necessary to harvest the grapes when young and dry them in the sun prior to extracting their juice. The wines are then sweetened by a method called chaptalization where more sugar is added to the wine with the aim of counterbalancing its acidity. Some popular red sweet wines can be listed as Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet and Syrah while Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc can be listed as sweet white wines.
About dry wine
Dry wine can be defined as the type of wine that is not too sweet and contain high amounts of acidity. They are made from grapes that have been harvested well before ripening which does not leave much sugar left in them after the fermentation process. Dry wines only contain about 1% or less residual sugar in them. Some types of popular white dry wine can be named as Sauternes, Chablis and Riesling whereas Claret, Burgundy and Chianti are considered the driest of the reds.
What is the difference between dry and sweet wines?
The dry and sweet wines can easily be recognized from their tastes as well as their smells. However, the main difference between them is the fact that while sweet wines contain about 20-25% of residual sugars, dry wines contain about 1% or less. This is due to the fact that during fermentation, the little sugar that is found in dry wine has been turned to alcohol by the yeast while sweet wines are fortified with additives and additional sugar in order to retain its sweetness. Because of this reason, white wine is considered as the more natural product that undergoes only the natural fermentation process while sweet wines have been artificially enhanced. In the LCBO Sugar Code which measures the amount of residual sugar on the wines, sweet wines are rated a 7 or above whereas dry wines are usually rated below seven. Because of their sweetness, sweet wines are also referred to as dessert wines.
When smelling the wines, one can easily sense the difference between sweet and dry wines. A sweet wine gives off the smell of sugar, fruit or honeysuckle while the aroma of herbs, spices, wood or yeast would indicate that it is a dry wine. However, wines may also carry scents of chocolate or citrus which may make it rather difficult to judge by smell whether a wine is sweet or dry.
Dry wine is made from grapes that are plucked at a very young age whereas sweet wine is made from grapes that are plucked at a much riper stage. This enables the sweet wine to retain some of its sweetness even after the yeast has done its part during the fermentation process. Furthermore, dry wine tends to be much more acidic than the sweet wine. Although it has a much stronger taste, it offers a clean finish upon the palette once the wine has been swallowed. Sweet wine however, is much milder in taste and in contrast to dry wines, sweet wine leaves more of a lingering taste on the palate.