44 Live: A new SWEETNESS scale

May. 08, 2017

The terms dry and sweet are great starters for where you think your palate preferences lay. They are also unfair to wines grown in new regions that do not have traditional growing climates or grapes. Because of the hardiness of Wisconsin grapes, they can extend their vine life and retain higher amounts of acid, leading to sweeter tasting wines. While the residual sugar level may decrease categorizing it as a “dry or semi-sweet” wine, the taste remains fruit forward.

Traditional dry wines convert all their residual sugar to alcohol during fermentation, deriving that thin, crisp taste that does not linger. The tricky variation is not everyone’s palate is the same. Someone could taste a wine with absolutely no residual sugar and still feel notions of fruit or tart. That’s why traditional terms can get confusing quickly, because sweetness sensitivity varies from person to person.

The terminology of wine developed long before the first Wisconsin vine sprouted and so we suffer the comparison of the elder varietals. Wisconsin and the entire midwest is trying to formulate a new vocabulary for wine in order to give these new grapes a chance to distinguish themselves and for palate’s to appreciate every taste differently.

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