“I don’t like sweet wines”
“I don’t like Sweet Wines”
The lack of correlation between Riesling and sugar and more generally between sugar and quality in wine
“I don’t like sweet wine” – the most common thing I hear when serving wine to people, followed by the justification “too many sweet wines in Australia in the 70’s and 80’s”
“Yeah it’s nice but it’s a but sweet”
Ok. So, why is wine the only fruit where the presence of natural sugar is considered a bad thing? Nobody ever says “nice mango, but a bit sweet”
I argue that this aversion to sweetness in wine is a purely cultural construct. I believe that the first thing we learn about wine growing up in Australia is that there’s something wrong with sweet wines and if you like them not only is there something wrong with you but you should be ashamed to admit it.
Am I the only one who thinks this is weird?
There’s no relationship between sugar and quality in wine, but the societal view is that a distinct inverse relationship exists. Does this idea not imply that all dry wines are therefore good?
Some wines are sweet, some are dry, some are good, and some are not. Sometimes there’s correlation, there’s no causation.
Riesling is the longest suffering variety when it comes to the question of sugar. Which is in itself strange as most of it is dry. And certainly there’s nothing about Riesling per se that makes it more likely to be sweet than any other variety really.
So we came up with a solution (or did we?) the Riesling sweetness scale diagram on the back label of many Riesling wines in Australia.
Problem is, it propagates the notion that sweetness is more likely in Riesling wines and ergo sweetness is to be avoided.
The great shame here is that Riesling almost always offers the best value for money for solid everyday drinking. It also happens to be the most versatile variety from a food and wine matching perspective.
Spicy food? – Slightly sweet Riesling
Anything with slight natural fruit or vegetable sweetness – Slightly sweet Riesling
All manner of fish, sashimi through to bouillabaisse – Riesling
Washed rind cheeses – Sweet Riesling wines
Perhaps it’s time we stopped telling ourselves what we like and more importantly what we don’t like and enjoy or otherwise what’s in front of us, without the preconceived ideas of what to expect.
It’s fascinating to show people slightly sweet wines (without telling them there’s some sugar left in it) and see how much they actually enjoy it, despite them having told me they don’t like sweet wines. Even better is watching guests drink a slightly sweet wine at twice the rate of the dry one and still claim they aren’t enjoying it!
IT’S OK to like sweet wines.
We should just get over it