A world of wine can certainly be a wonderful, exciting experience. It can also be a confusing and intimidating challenge! This glossary of terms will help you make sense of the language of wines.
Technically speaking, a "dry" wine is one in which there is no perceptible taste of sweetness (most wine tasters begin to perceive sugar at levels of 0.5% to 0.7%). However, a well made wine can have sweet aromas, but still taste "dry". In a Red Wine, "dry" generally reflects the influence of tannin, which can leave one with a slight "pucker" and sensation of dryness on the tongue after tasting. Most of the "classic" or traditional Red Wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Bordeaux, Burgundy) are dry wines. For White Wines, "dry" is a more difficult taste to describe, but many of the most popular white wines (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio) are dry wines, again containing no residual sugar.
Sometimes known as "off dry" or "blush" wines. Refers primarily to wines with just a touch of sweetness. Both Reds and Whites often have more of a flowery, fruity aroma, and they have a tendency to be lighter - drinking than a "dry" wine. As the name suggests, these are wines that have a level of residual sugar which gives them a sweeter or "fruity" taste, without being absolutely sweet like a Dessert Wine.
The term "fruity" is used to describe wines with a high sugar content. In technical terms, it refers to one of the four basic tastes dedicated by the sensory nerves of the human tongue. Characteristics are generally deeply concentrated flavors, sugar and acidity which together provide a good balance.