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Basic wine info

  • 12-10-2016 5:43pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 437 ✭✭ howyanow


    Hi there
    I am just wondering if someone could please give me a few examples of sweet/dry wines/grapes in both red and white,i literally know nothing about it and find the labels on wines to vague.
    Any help would be appreciated

    Many thanks


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,237 ✭✭✭✭ odyssey06


    Actually ALDI (their UK site) has a very good guide.

    For white wine, each wine has a rating from 1-5 going from dry to sweet. Some white grapes such as Riesling can be used to make dry or sweet wines, so look at the back of the label for a 1-5 rating which ALDI and some other stores follow.

    For red wines, each wine has a rating going from light through medium to full body. There are sweet red wines out there (e.g. Apothic Red I've heard mentioned on a different thread), but reds are usually described in terms of body \ tannins.
    Most red wines would be dry.

    https://www.aldi.co.uk/wines/c/wines

    "To follow knowledge like a sinking star..." (Tennyson's Ulysses)



  • Registered Users Posts: 20,237 ✭✭✭✭ odyssey06


    Also, watch out for words like: brut (totally dry), sec (dry), demi-sec (off-dry), then doux (sweet).

    You will see this typically on sparkling wines, and from next year, on Alsace Riesling white wines. Alsace Riesling being the Riesling most likely be produced in both styles (dry or sweet).

    More info here on sparkling wines...
    http://www.tayloreason.com/corkscrew/archives/tiny-bubbles/
    http://www.californiachampagnes.com/brut/

    "To follow knowledge like a sinking star..." (Tennyson's Ulysses)



  • Registered Users Posts: 20,237 ✭✭✭✭ odyssey06


    If you are interested in sweet wines, you shouldn't overlook sherry.
    'Cream' sherries are sweet, and there are also dry sherries.

    Another advantage with sherry is that an open bottle will survive a lot longer than one of wine, due to its higher alcohol (fortified) content. So good for the occasional glass.

    "To follow knowledge like a sinking star..." (Tennyson's Ulysses)



  • Registered Users Posts: 20,237 ✭✭✭✭ odyssey06


    Rose wines are another one that run the gamut from sweet to dry.
    Typically French roses are dry, especially those of Provence.
    Italian and Spanish roses and rosados tend to be 'fruity' or fruit forward.
    American roses tend to be sweet, especially those described as 'blush' or made using white Zinfandel.

    "To follow knowledge like a sinking star..." (Tennyson's Ulysses)



  • Registered Users Posts: 20,237 ✭✭✭✭ odyssey06


    The three most popular white grapes are:
    Sauvignon Blanc (aka White Bordeaux or Sancerre)
    Chardonnay (aka Chablis or White Burgundy)
    Pinot Grigio

    You will see there are several names listed, because French, Italian & Spanish wines are described usually by region of origin.
    The New World of the US, South Africa, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Argentina use the 'varietal', or name of the wine grape.

    Some Chardonnays, especially US or Australian ones, can be done in a heavily 'oaked' style, reflecting how they were barrel aged. To me it tastes like varnish. So, unless the label makes it clear it is unoaked, or it's a French one, I will not order it in.
    Chardonnay is such a pliable grape, than even wine produced in the same region, Burgundy, can taste so different - ranging from dry and crisp to rich and buttery\honeyed. I prefer dry and look for ones from the Pouilly-Fuissé area within Burgundy.

    Sauvignon Blanc (along with other more obscure white grapes) can be used to make Sauternes, a sweet French white wine from Bordeaux. The bottle will be clearly labelled Sauterne.
    Otherwise, Sauvignon Blanc tends not to be sweet, and be either crisp or fruit forward. Ditto for Pinto Grigio.

    "To follow knowledge like a sinking star..." (Tennyson's Ulysses)



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,801 ✭✭✭ Dubl07


    Odyssey has covered a lot of ground there. There are so many grapes and wine-making techniques that it's difficult to condense into a few posts. Basically, the sweetness depends on how much sugar is in the grapes, how the juice is extracted and how much of that sugar is converted by the yeast into alcohol. Very ripe grapes can produce dry, high alcohol wines or sweeter wines with lower alcohol. Thin-skinned grapes like pinot will release fewer tannins into a red than thicker-skinned cabernets. The tannins make the wine 'feel' dryer in the mouth.

    Why do you ask? Are you interested in trying a few new wines or do you want to buy some as gifts?

    What other drinks do you enjoy?

    It's a really interesting subject and there are a number of classes out there that run from a novice level right through to the Master of Wine qualification.


  • Registered Users Posts: 437 ✭✭ howyanow


    Dubl07 wrote: »
    Odyssey has covered a lot of ground there. There are so many grapes and wine-making techniques that it's difficult to condense into a few posts. Basically, the sweetness depends on how much sugar is in the grapes, how the juice is extracted and how much of that sugar is converted by the yeast into alcohol. Very ripe grapes can produce dry, high alcohol wines or sweeter wines with lower alcohol. Thin-skinned grapes like pinot will release fewer tannins into a red than thicker-skinned cabernets. The tannins make the wine 'feel' dryer in the mouth.

    Why do you ask? Are you interested in trying a few new wines or do you want to buy some as gifts?

    What other drinks do you enjoy?

    It's a really interesting subject and there are a number of classes out there that run from a novice level right through to the Master of Wine qualification.

    Thanks for your input. The reason I asked just a general Enquiry really,i don't drink much wine so must start doing so soon. The whole industry seems like a minefield!I think the wording on labels is very vague


  • Registered Users Posts: 437 ✭✭ howyanow


    odyssey06 wrote: »
    Actually ALDI (their UK site) has a very good guide.

    For white wine, each wine has a rating from 1-5 going from dry to sweet. Some white grapes such as Riesling can be used to make dry or sweet wines, so look at the back of the label for a 1-5 rating which ALDI and some other stores follow.

    For red wines, each wine has a rating going from light through medium to full body. There are sweet red wines out there (e.g. Apothic Red I've heard mentioned on a different thread), but reds are usually described in terms of body \ tannins.
    Most red wines would be dry.

    https://www.aldi.co.uk/wines/c/wines
    Thanks for taking the effort to provide such a detailed reply


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