Sugar. Dry is an adjective often applied to wines, usually to describe those in which there is no perceptible sweetness. Sweet stimuli such as sugars may be present in a wine and detectable by chemical analysis but are in concentrations below your threshold of perception. Low, medium, and high sugar refer to increasing degrees of sweetness above your threshold of perception.
What state is considered to have been the foremost wine producer in America before the Civil War?
Ohio was the first state to have permanent and extensive wine production. A fellow by the name, Nicholas Longworth established these plantings around the Cincinnati area in the 1830s. Those vineyards were largely devastated by a fungus known as Black Rot so the Ohio wine industry moved up to the shores of Lake Erie. The other principal wine producing areas of that time were around Hermann, Missouri, a German colony on the Missouri River, and around the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York.
When tasters refer to a wine as well-balanced or not balanced, what do they mean?
A wine with good balance means it has a complementary amount of sugar and acid. If there is too little or too much acid relative to the amount of sugar-or too much or too little sugar relative to the amount of acid-the wine is unbalanced. In a broader sense, a wine is well-balanced if its alcoholic strength, acidity, residual sugar and tannins complement each other so that no single one of them is obtrusive on the palate. Do not confuse balance with flavor characteristics, as they are quite unrelated.
Originally published in our Gold Wine Club's The Wine Press, Indian Springs Winery edition.