Cards of Wine

Basic Wine Characteristics


The sugar in wines comes from the grape juice. Since most of the sugar is converted into alcohol, during the fermentation process, wines are normally dry.

Dry Wines contain between 2 and 8 grammes sugar per liter.

A wine becomes dry when the yeast converts all sugar into alcohol.

Medium Wines have some residual sugar (8-12g per liter).

In a medium dry wine, the yeast has not convert all sugar into alcohol.

Most medium dry wines are white or rosé wines such as Riesling or White Zinfandel.

Sweet Wines contains from 50 to 200 grammes sugar per liter.

Sweet wines can be produced from grapes that are extreme high in sugar (late harvest) or by killing the yeast before it has consumed all the sugar in the grapes.

Examples of sweet wines are Sauternes, Martini, and Ice Wine.


Acidity gives a wine a fresh taste. Acidity our mouth water.

Acidic wines taste refreshing and crispy while low-acid wines taste smooth and round. In medium and sweet wines, acidity balances the taste of sweetness avoiding unpleasant extra sweet taste.

Acidity does not come from the skins but from the grape juice and ranges from 2.5 to about 4.5 in the PH spectrum. The most common acids in wine are tartaric acid, malic acid, and citric acid.

Acidity is a key factor in long-term aging, but it is forbidden to add acid during winemaking (it is not forbidden in the New World).

Examples of high acidic wines are: Riesling, Pinot Noir, Chablis, most Italian wines.


Tannins are small natural particles found in trees and plants. They are typically present in wood, leaves, and seeds.

The term tannin, from latin tannum (oak bark) refers to the use of bark in tanning (latin tannare) animal skin into leather.

Tannins in red wines are extracs from grape skins, stems, and seeds. You also find them in oak barrels.

More than taste tannins, you can feel tannins. Tannins make your mouth feel dry.

Examples of wines with high tannins are oaked reds like Bordeaux and Barolo.

Examples of wines with low tannins are unoaked ligh reds like Beaujolais and Pinot Noir.


The majority of wines have an ABV (alcohol by volume) between 8-15%.

Examples of wines with high alcohol: California and Australia Chardonnay, Amarone, Australian Shiraz, Zinfandel.

Examples of wines with low alcohol: Aperitif Wines, Pinot Grigio, Muscadet, Lambrusco.


Body in wine is about viscosity and mouth-filling.

Examples of light-bodied wines are:Aperitif Wines, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Beaujolais.

Examples of full-bodied wines are:California Cabs, Bordeaux, Rioja, Amarone, Sauternes.

Alcohol can be addictive. Drink in moderation.

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