Sweet vs. Dry Red Wine: Which Should You Choose?

You have probably heard that red wine can be good for your health, although many studies have proven that this is only the case if the wine is dry and consumed in moderation. Before you go shopping for a bottle or two of red wine, you should understand the difference between sweet and dry varieties.

Too many people grab a bottle when they hear that red wine is good for them. But, which bottle should you really be reaching for if you don’t understand the difference between dry and sweet red wine?

The Different Between Sweet and Dry Red Wine

It is important to understand that before the juice from grapes is turned into wine, it contains a great deal of natural sugar from the fruit that is grown on the vine. Minus all that sugar, the juice would not be able to turn into wine as it is the sugar that is turned into alcohol during the process of fermentation.

A red wine is considered sweet when there is a certain amount of residual sugar in it, that is, sugar left over after the fermentation process.

It is the quantity of sugar left in a wine that qualifies it as a sweet variety. While there is no hard and fast rule to distinguish dry from sweet, it has been suggested that a wine with fewer than 10 grams of residual sugar is thought to be dry while anything over 35 grams of sugar is sweet. The area in between is considered an off-dry variety of wine.

Dry Red Wine1

Fruity Does Not Mean Sweet

If you have ever heard someone refer to a wine as “fruit forward,” they are referring to the fruity flavour other than grape that is dominant when they take the first sip the wine. That fruity taste could be black cherry flavour that is often found in a merlot, or even a blackberry taste as found in a zinfandel. Neither of those varieties contains any other fruit other than grapes, yet different fruit flavours can blatantly be tasted. Typically, zinfandels and merlots are dry as they do not contain a lot of residual sugar.

Do You Know Which Red Wines Are Dry?

Dry red wines are extremely food-friendly.That is, the reds you would typically choose to consume with a meal are the ones that studies say should be drunk for their health benefits. Common dry red wines that can be good for your health when consumed in moderation include:

  • Merlot
  • Cabernet sauvignon
  • Malbec
  • Sangiovese
  • Carmenere
  • Zinfandel
  • Grenache

Other popular dry red varieties include Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir and Syrah.

If you still feel unsure when it comes to buying red wines, simply ask for guidance in the store. People who work in the wine industry are always happy to share their knowledge, and perhaps a sip or two or delicious red wine. You don’t have to stick with a particular variety; different kinds go with different meals and it really depends on what you prefer to drink.

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