Wine Folly: Sweetness in Wine (Ep. 5)

hey what's up it's Madeline Paquette's

I'm a certified Somali and co-founder of

wine Polycom where we learn by drinking

episode five sweet wine versus dry one

for you freaks and geeks out there who

want to know more about sugar content

and wine you're not gonna want to miss

this let's break apart the concept of

sweetness or residual sugar in wine and

let me be the first to say it most

people actually like a teensy-weensy bit

of residual sugar in their dry red wines

question one so why are some wines dry

and other wines sweet well believe it or

not this has nothing to do with the

grape variety sweetness is controlled

almost exclusively by the winemaker what

happens during fermentation is these

hundred hungry little yeasts come in and

they gobble up all the grape sugars and

they poop out alcohol sometimes however

the winemaker interjects during this

process and stops the yeast from eating

all the sugar and this is how we have a

sweet wine question - how much sweetness

do sweet wines actually have this is

where things start to get a little fuzzy

wines range massively from about 0.1%

sweetness all the way up to 70%

sweetness for perspectives sake Moscato

d'Asti which is a very sweet wine has

about 12% sweetness or around 72 sugar

calories per five ounce serving you

would think we'd have some sort of

system for informing consumers about the

sweetness of wine but to date there are

no labeling laws in the US requiring

wineries to list sweetness levels on the

bottle labels and we as humans are

actually pretty bad at identifying

sweetness with our palates at around 2%

for less residual sugar

we don't really taste it as sweetness we

taste it more like body in wine it

as body so when you look in the market

today there are a lot of dry wines with

a little bit of residual sugar I want to

give you a few examples this is a great

region and Maroni delle Valpolicella

amazing wine and this dog

it's got 4.5 grams per liter of residual

sugar all right next up did you know New

Zealand Sauvignon Blanc commonly has a

few grams of residual sugar why well

those wines have such high acidity they

need the residual sugar to counteract

that sharpness here's a great example

this is terrific

very dry tasting Sauvignon Blanc from

New Zealand but it has 5 grams per liter

of residual sugar alright now to the

bulk spin area menage tois this is a

well distributed well-loved

bulk wine and guess what it's got 12

grams per liter of residual sugar so

what gives is residual sugar the devil

and should we go on a majestic crusade

sussing out all these bad actors well if

you ask me no it's really not the choice

to leave a gram or two of residual sugar

in wine is simply one of the tools in

the winemakers toolkit to make great

tasting wine of course both wines use

the residual sugar trick almost all the

time as a tactic to improve the taste of

wines made with lower quality grapes so

this is where the controversy comes from

you wonder why you get a headache with

both wines so one thing you can do is to

seek out text sheets for the wine in

question and look up the residual sugar

content it'll be labeled as RS or

residual sugar in grams per litre or in

percent you can actually train your

palate to be within a percent or two

with practice I got a challenge for you

go look up the text sheet for your

favorite red wine and find out how much

residual sugar it has you might be

surprised with what you find alright

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never been a better time to get into

wine thanks so much and see you again

next week