Have It Your Way

One of the things I enjoy about being a wine maker is out of the box wine making. For example, most Riesling is sweet, and even “dry” Riesling often has residual sugar. It’s an acidic grape, and winemakers will tell you that they add just enough sugar to balance that acidity. The idea is to soften the acidity while leaving the wine “tasting dry.” This can improve some acidic wines, and I intend to do something like that with my cherry wine.

Could there be a Riesling that isn’t sweet? What would that be like? I boldly decided to find out. While processing the Riesling, I was determined to not cover it’s taste with a lot of sugar. I even had a tasting party when the wine was young. The idea was that my guests would sample four bottles of the Riesling with varying amount of sugar and comment on the sugar-acid balance. We had a blast and I appreciated the input but even then I went my own way.

I bottled the Riesling dry, with no residual sugar, and last weekend I put my hard work to the test. We had some friends, Ralph and Ruth, over for dinner. I served up my Sauvignon Blanc and the Riesling. I’m always interested to hear what people think of my wines but I was especially interested to hear what they thought of the Riesling. They liked it. In fact Ruth admitted she ordinarily doesn’t drink Riesling, “because I don’t like sweet wines.”

This is so common that it can be hard to find a truly dry Riesling. One nice thing about making my own wine is that I can make it just the way I like it. I made it dry and I’m glad I did.

Update 4/19/2010 – Taste blind to judge your creations objectively

The hope and excitement that go into these experiments create a lot of mental baggage, which can make it difficult to see past your own preconceptions and taste the wine objectively. But objective feedback is critical to knowing if you’re on the right track or you need to make adjustments in your wine making. Tasting blind is a great solution, and here’s a quick and easy way to do your own blind tasting at home.

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