Dry wine is a phrase so often used and heard in the wine industry but what exactly does it mean? Essentially, dry wine is any wine that lacks perceivable sweetness. The real answer to this question is a little more complex though. The definition of what a dry wine means is actually very flexible based on the individual who is consuming it. Some will refer to a dry wine with intention to refer to earthy and smokey notes while others are referring to a sip that leaves your mouth feeling completely devoid of moisture. Since the term “dry wine” is very subjective, both definitions are accurate.
When people say “dry” wine, they are generally referring to the idea of a wine being lower in sugar and lacking the necessary fruit to support the acidity and/or tannins. Dryness of a wine is caused by a combination of factors and varies by type of wine.
Sugar levels is the determining factor for levels of dryness in white wines. The presence of sweetness in a wine combined with levels of acidity contribute to a wine’s concluding dryness level. High acidity in a white wine can leave your mouth feeling dry, similar to sucking on a lemon.
Red wines are dry due to the tannin levels. Tannins are derived from the stems, skins and seeds of the grape used to produce the wine. They are the textural element that “dries the mouth” when consuming red wines. The higher the levels of unripened tannins in a wine, the drier it will be. This is why younger red wines are more bitter than aged red wines, the tannins have not had the time to soften up. Sugar levels are, of course, another contributing factor to the dryness of a red wine.
Understanding the Process
Understanding how wine is made will also help you realize how the levels of dryness in a wine are determined. All wine begins as sweet grape juice. During the fermentation process, the yeast eats the sugar and converts it into alcohol. When the yeast is able to eat all of the sugar, the fermentation process is over and the wine is considered dry. When fermentation is regulated by adding additional sugar to the grape juice and cutting the fermentation process short, a sweeter wine is made.
When we understand the process of wine and how various factors determine the different tastes of each bottle, we grow more confident in our ability to drink and express our thoughts on the wine we are consuming.
JJ’s Wine Bar is here for you as you explore the vast world of wine. We want to assist you in expanding your knowledge and also your practical application of your newfound knowledge by helping you navigate our selection of wines to try. Whether you are searching for a sweeter wine or a dryer one, we want to ensure you receive the highest quality wine for your palette. Come in today and let us help you find your new favorite wine of choice. JJ’s Wine Bar is located at 206 E Main St in downtown Franklin. Come by or call us at 615-942-5033.