Many people will say they like a dry wine or ask for a dry wine when they go out to eat. But what does that even mean?
This is one of the most common questions I get during my wine tastings. And that’s fair, because it’s quite confusing! So let's talk about it.
Simply put, a “dry” wine is a wine with little to no residual sugar.
During fermentation, yeast eats the natural sugars of the grape juice, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. Most of the time, the yeast will eat all of the sugar, resulting in a dry wine.
Of course, sometimes a winemaker will choose to stop fermentation early or there will be too much sugar in the grape juice for the yeast to completely eat. Both instances lead to sweeter styles of wine. In other words: NOT dry!
But what about that dry sensation you experience when taking a sip of red wine?
That sensation is caused by TANNINS!
Tannins add complexity that can balance out the acidity of wine and help it pair well with rich, robust dishes. Plus, tannins help wines last longer!
Next time you’re wine shopping, remember that if you want a wine that has no sugar, ask for a dry wine, and if you want a wine that gives you that dry sensation in your mouth, ask for a “tannic” wine!
Want to learn more wine basics? Check out my Wine 101 Private Tasting, offered both in-person and virtually! You'll learn all about how wine is made, all the important wine lingo, and how to taste wine like a pro.