Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Dry or Sweet? Dry? Sweeeeeeeet!
Oh, it's an ugly request. Heinous.
"Could you help me please?"
"Certainly, sir. What can I help you find?"
"Well, I want a wine that's not too sweet and not too dry. Can you help me find something like that?"
"Well, sir, to be blunt, no."
Today, a topic I've seen confound both customers and wine professionals. It's pretty simple, but people are unnecessarily perplexed by it. Wanna sort it out? just read the following statement:
Dry wine is less something rather than more something. In fact, dry wine is little or nothing.
Sometimes people make things far more complicated than necessary, but it doesn't have to be this way. "Dry" wine couldn't be simpler. Here's the most complex thing you should think about dry wine:
Dry wine is NOT sweet.
That's it - two choices with wine - dry and sweet.
Now I can hear some of you skeptics out there jumping right in: "What about semi-sweet wines? What about off dry wines? What about semi dry wines?! What about those?"
Oh sure, you'll see these classifications on wine labels. And, yes, my dividing wines into two hard and fast categories is somewhat of a simplification. In most cases, though, put a semi-sweet wine in your mouth and you'll taste sugar. Off-dry wine? Sugar. Semi-dry wines? Sugar. Dry=no sugar. Sweet=sugar. Varying degrees of sugar, yes. But sugar nonetheless.
Another important thing to remember is that "dry" wine has nothing, and I mean nothing, to do with an actual dry feeling you get on your mouth, teeth and gums when you sip a red wine. I want you to keep this in mind when you read my next post, where I will deal with one of the scariest topics in wine - tannin.
Let's recap my little tirade, um....discourse, shall we? Wine can't be dry and sweet at the same time. It's just not possible.
More importantly, it isn't really desirable. Think about this - Plastic Glasses? Lite Beer? Liquid Smoke? Marijuana Initiative?
None of these things end well.