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How Sweet It Is


  • '98 Trittenheimer Apotheke Riesling Spatlese (Weingut Milz-Laurentiushof, Germany)
  • Kendall Jackson Johannisberg Riesling
  • '99 Huia Riesling (New Zealand)

Try This

Taste the three wines above in order. Does the first wine taste sweet at all? Which tastes sweeter, the second or the third wine?

What's Going On?

When picked, wine grapes are naturally very sweet. During fermentation, some or all of the sugar in the grapes in converted to alcohol. The amount of sugar left over after fermentation is called residual sugar. The Huia Riesling has no residual sugar (called "dry"), but both the Kendall Jackson and the German Spatlese have about the same amount of residual sugar, making them taste a bit sweet. Did the Kendall Jackson taste sweeter to you than the Spatlese? The German wine has more acid to counteract, or balance, the sugar so it seems less sweet.

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