Drinking dry or sweet: The debate continues

Are dry wines better or more Photo: photo courtesy of Fish Eye Winery

EASTON, Md., May 21, 2012 — In the wine business it’s often said that people talk dry but drink sweet.

Many of you probably turn your noses up at the thought of drinking sweet wines. I am not talking about dessert wines like Sauternes or ice wine, as those are acceptable to even the wine snobs. I am talking about table wines that have what we call “residual sugar,” or sugar that was not fermented into alcohol.

Wine snobs regularly bash sweet wines or regard them as not being “serious” wines.

Here’s the truth: Most people in America prefer sweet wines. Go to any wine festival around the country and look at what is most popular. What you’ll discover is that sweet wines are at the top of the list. In fact, in my home state of Maryland, most wineries have to make a sweet wine in order to stay in business. It’s a cash cow.

So, if you like sweet wines, tell your snobby wine friends that they are the minority.

Now, I will confess that I do favor dry wines, but that’s my personal preference. I am also the only one in my family who likes brussel sprouts, and that’s no different. Does that make my husband and my daughter wrong? Brussel sprouts are awesome but, honestly, they are not wrong.

We just have different opinions.

Dry wines have less sugar - that’s the difference. One is not better or more “serious” than the other.

You might find that your tastes change with time, like mine did. The very first wine I tried was the infamous Boonesfarm Strawberry Hill—sweet, fruity and fun.

Then a few years later, Chardonnay became my favorite before moving to monster Cabernets. And so on. Now I like a wide range of wines depending on the meal, the occasion, and the season.

If you have a sweet tooth, you might find that you’re never drawn to dry wines – and there’s nothing wrong with that!

If you do love sweet wines, try one or all of the following. If you prefer dry, I invite you to open your mind and your mouth and try these anyway.

Fish Eye Sweet Red, South Australia, $7 per bottle: The Fish Eye Sweet Red is, according to the winery’s sweet meter, at the opposite side of the spectrum from dry. So, with an open mind and mouth, I gave the Fish Eye a try. Intense blackberry and jam flavors burst on your palate and it finishes sweet, as promised. There are no perceptible tannins on this red, making it a great candidate for chilling in the summer.

I could see this paired with grilled leg of lamb or a spice rubbed pork loin. Fish Eye Sweet Red also comes in an eco-friendly, three-liter box perfect for boating or picnics.

Blue Fish Sweet Reel Red 2009, Pfalz, Germany, $10 per bottle: The other sweet red in my tasting was the Blue Fish Reel Red from Pfalz, Germany. This is a blend of 95% Dornfelder and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. In case you haven’t heard of it, Dornfelder is a cross between two other German red grapes that are grown extensively in the Pfalz region.

This wine has a nice mix of cherry and chocolate aromas that follow through on the palate even while sweet finishes a bit bigger than I expected. The good news is that this intensity will help it stand up to some heartier foods like grilled meats. So grill up some BBQ pork or chicken and twist open a bottle of Blue Fish Reel Red!

Blue Fish Reel Red from Pfalz, Germany is a great summer red to chill. (photo credit: Palm Bay International)


Laurie Forster, The Wine Coach®, is a wine educator, author of the award-winning book The Sipping Point and host of a weekly radio show by the same name on WBAL 1090AM. Her specialty is delivering wine edu-tainment for corporate events, group tastings and team-building seminars. She is also a sought after guest expert on radio shows across the country, including Martha Stewart Radio. You can reach her on twitter @thewinecoach or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/winecoach.

Read more of Laurie’s work at The Sipping Point in the Communities at the Washington Times.



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Laurie Forster

Laurie Forster, The Wine Coach® is a wine educator, dynamic speaker and author of the award-winning book The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine. Laurie was not born with a silver corkscrew in her mouth. In fact, growing up Laurie thought wine was pink and came in a box. After several stressful business dinners trying to order off wine lists the size of a phone book, she began educating herself on wine. In 2001 she left the business world to professionally study wine and save others from these awkward moments. Laurie began her wine career in Manhattan where she studied with the American Sommelier Association to earn her certificate in Viticulture and Vinification. She has since earned an Advanced Certificate with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), completed her first step towards certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers and has trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. Laurie’s specialty is creating unique corporate keynotes, team building events and group tasting seminars where she can deliver on her mission to demystify wine one glass at a time. She is also a regular contributor to several magazines; a sought after guest expert on TV and radio stations across the country, including Martha Stewart Radio. For more visit: www.TheWineCoachSecrets.com

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