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Sweetness of wine

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**Historical Methods of Sweetening Wine**:
– “Vintage: The Story of Wine” by Hugh Johnson explores historical methods.
– Virgil and Martial in Roman times advocated late grape harvesting.
– Ancient Greeks sun-dried grapes for concentrated sugar.
– Early fermentation halt increased sweetness.
– Lead was historically used for sweetening until the 19th century.

**Measuring Sweetness in Wine**:
– Residual sugar measured in grams per liter (g/L).
– Wines with over 45 g/L considered sweet.
– Factors like acidity, alcohol, tannins, and wine type influence sweetness perception.
– Dry wines can taste sweet with high alcohol levels.
– Sweet wines like Tokaji and Sauternes balanced with acidity.

**Sweetening Techniques and Terminology**:
– Süssreserve: Unfermented grape must added for sweetness.
– German law limits Süssreserve to 15% of final volume.
– Different from residual sugar from arrested fermentation.
– Various regions use specific scales for measuring sweetness.
– Terms like Baumé scale and Sélection de Grains Nobles used in France.

**Measurement and Regulation**:
– US measures wine sweetness in degrees Brix.
– Brix scale indicates sugar content in must and wine.
– Regulations like Commission Regulation (EC) No 2016/2006 adapt to new EU members.
– Vintners Quality Alliance rules in Ontario (O. Reg. 406/00).
– Geographical indications protect traditional terms and boost economic development.

**Impact on Wine Industry**:
– Importance of Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) in ensuring wine quality.
– VQA establishes production standards and protects consumers.
– Late harvest wines like Vendange Tardive and SGN are considered delicacies.
– Geographical indications promote specific regions and enhance authenticity.
– Regulations like Commission Regulation (EC) No 607/2009 detail protected designations of origin.

Sweetness of wine (Wikipedia)

The subjective sweetness of a wine is determined by the interaction of several factors, including the amount of sugar in the wine, but also the relative levels of alcohol, acids, and tannins. Sugars and alcohol enhance a wine's sweetness, while acids cause sourness and bitter tannins cause bitterness. These principles are outlined in the 1987 work by Émile Peynaud, The Taste of Wine.

A half bottle of Sauternes from Château d'Yquem, which produces one of the world's most famous and expensive sweet wines
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