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home > food & wine dictionary > sweet

Food and Wine Dictionary

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Sweetness is detected on the very tip of the tongue and, in wine, comes from RESIDUAL SUGAR or, occasionally, from GLYCEROL, a by-product of FERMENTATION. The sugar may be intrinsic (from the grapes) or supplemental (as by adding GRAPE CONCENTRATE) or both. Some fine sweet wines (such as BEERENAUSLESE) are made from grapes that have been left on the vine until they're so overripe that the fruit is sugar-laden and full of rich, concentrated flavors. The juice from such grapes contains more sugar than can be fermented out. Whether or not sweetness in a wine is pleasant or cloying depends on the balance between ACID and sugar. Though the term sweet generally applies to the sense of taste, certain components-such as oakiness, which contributes a sweet vanilla essence, or intense fruitiness-can give wine a seemingly sweet smell. Winetasters may therefore use the term sweet for both flavor and BOUQUET.

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Material adapted from the The New Food Lover's Companion

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on
THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

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