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Liz Marable
 
January 5, 2021 | Food & Drink, Just For Fun, Nerdin' Out | Liz Marable

A Very Naked Dry January

Maybe your 2021 resolution is to learn more about your go-to happy hour bevie, or maybe you’re just along for the ride. Either way, we’re here to help pull back the curtain on some techie wine concepts, but hopefully in a way that you’ll actually understand. Since it’s January, the month responsible adults kick off the year by breaking up with booze, we're going dry too. Dry wine that is! We’re talkin’ about dry wines all month long. More specifically, what they are and what they aren’t.

Defining Dry Wine

Technically speaking, dryness is the term winemakers and sommeliers use to refer to the residual sugar content in a finished wine. (geek speak = RS) Wines with less than 1% RS are considered “dry.”

But...dryness is confusing.

Wine dryness can get confusing because there are a lot of factors that impact our perception of wine. For example, two wines with the exact same RS can taste wildly different for a few different reasons. Food scientists and winos have actually studied why some wines taste drier than others and have come to the conclusion that alcohol, tannin, and acidity are key components to why a wine tastes ‘dry’.

Let’s explore.

Tannins

Ever taken a sip of wine and felt like the spit has been sucked out of your mouth? That’s actually “astringency” at work — and it’s caused by tannins found in grape skins and seeds.  While wines with a ton of tannins can seem harsh and astringent on their own, they are bomb with the right foods. (geek speak = they're also what help red wine age gracefully. )

Acidity

Acidity (geek speak = pH) can also play tricks on our perception of a wine's dryness. Because sour cancels out sweet, a wine that has more acid will always taste drier than wines with less acidity. 

Alcohol Content (geek speak = ABV)

Additionally, high alcohol content can also make a wine taste sweeter than it actually is. In fact, if you had two wines with identical RS amounts, but one had slightly more alcohol, the wine with a higher ABV would taste sweeter even though it doesn’t have any extra sugar. 

Isn’t science fun - when you can drink it?!

So what does all of this mean for what to drink with dinner? When considering what wine to open with your meal, keep in mind that sweetness, saltiness, and fat balance the acidity and tannin of dry wines. We’re talkin’ big bold reds and oven-roasted meals, or crisp dry whites that compliment all your favorite cheese. 

 

Either way, we hope you’ll pop some bottles and raise a glass (or two) to a very Naked ‘Dry’ January and to resolutions you look forward to keeping  — because nobody likes a quitter.

Cheers to a New Year!

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