Dry versus Sweet Wines

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Champagne

We've all heard wines described as "sweet" or "dry," but what does that really mean?  Roberto Rogness, the General Manager of Wine Expo, teaches us the difference between these qualities in all their varying levels.

"Dry" is not a flavor but instead describes the sensation of sweetness, which is affected by the balance of sugars, acids and tannins in wine.

To use Champagne as an example, most people prefer dry sparkling wines, although their reference point is usually the extra dry cuvees from the larger Champagne houses, which are actually considered fairly sweet.   So "extra dry" is considered a sweeter sparkling wine. However, extra brut, sans dosage, brut nature and brut zero are truly "dry."

A bit of historic humor: The world "brut" in French means barbarian or savage, exactly what the French thought of the English who were requesting drier and drier sparkling wines from the Champenoise.

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