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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by SFJoe » Sun May 21, 2006 12:42 am

Isaac wrote:
I agree that the answer is, or should be, technical, and I think we should all use terms the same way.

Isaac,

I must admit that my naive folk definition of dry tracks yours.

I would have put considerations like acid vs. sugar, tannin vs. sugar and so on under headings of of "balance" or "stylistic preference."
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Sun May 21, 2006 9:08 am

SFJoe wrote:
Isaac wrote:
I agree that the answer is, or should be, technical, and I think we should all use terms the same way.

Isaac,

I must admit that my naive folk definition of dry tracks yours.

I would have put considerations like acid vs. sugar, tannin vs. sugar and so on under headings of of "balance" or "stylistic preference."


Does this mean, Joe, that you accept or reject the explanation I put forward?

I neither preclude the concept of balance (in fact, I require that it be included), nor do I preclude stylistic pesonal preference. I merely explain what this concept "dry" means.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by SFJoe » Sun May 21, 2006 12:51 pm

Thomas wrote:
SFJoe wrote:
Does this mean, Joe, that you accept or reject the explanation I put forward?

I neither preclude the concept of balance (in fact, I require that it be included), nor do I preclude stylistic pesonal preference. I merely explain what this concept "dry" means.

I think we have a semantic difference, Thomas. "Dry" to me in a strict sense means "very low in residual sugar", certainly less than 0.5g/l. Things may taste "dry" that aren't, but if you listen to your palate on the finish, you can tell. Acid and so on don't enter into it for me, and I find your usage frankly confusing.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Isaac » Sun May 21, 2006 1:02 pm

So far, Thomas, everything I find agrees that the technical definition is based entirely on the amount of residual sugar, not the feeling of dryness in the mouth.

How many times have you overheard someone in a restaurant or shop saying they want a wine that "isn't too sweet"? Maybe you've said this yourself; most people think they want a dry wine. Dry seems sophisticated. In fact, this is an easy demand to meet, since most table wines today (with the exception of White Zinfandel) are entirely dry--in the technical sense that they contain virtually no residual sugar.
http://starchefs.com/wine/tips/html/tips_02.shtml

DRY
Having no perceptible taste of sugar. Most wine tasters begin to perceive sugar at levels of 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent.
http://www.eatwithus.com/interact/wine_glossary.html

A sweet wine is one that has a level of residual sugar that gives it a sweet taste. There is no indication of sweetness in a dry wine due to its low level of residual sugar. An off-dry wine is one that is slightly sweet.
http://www.supermarketguru.com/page.cfm/page.cfm/315#04

The difference between dry, medium dry and not dry is essentially one of sweetness.When the wine is not sweet, it means that all the sugar has been converted into alcohol in the process of fermentation.
http://www.101lifestyle.com/cooking/win ... sting.html

I'll stop there. My point is that I can't find any reference that agrees with your position, Thomas. If I and everything I've read are incorrect, please point me to the technical references that support your position, so that I can be educated. This would be prefereably to your simply saying, "This is what it means. I am right, and you are wrong," which is essentially what you have done so far.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Sun May 21, 2006 1:17 pm

Joe,

Something in the wine must be making it seem dry to the palate. What would that be?

Water is sugarless; why doesn't it taste as dry as a dry wine? What makes strong brewed black tea seem dry?
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Sun May 21, 2006 1:25 pm

Isaac wrote:So far, Thomas, everything I find agrees that the technical definition is based entirely on the amount of residual sugar, not the feeling of dryness in the mouth.

How many times have you overheard someone in a restaurant or shop saying they want a wine that "isn't too sweet"? Maybe you've said this yourself; most people think they want a dry wine. Dry seems sophisticated. In fact, this is an easy demand to meet, since most table wines today (with the exception of White Zinfandel) are entirely dry--in the technical sense that they contain virtually no residual sugar.
http://starchefs.com/wine/tips/html/tips_02.shtml

DRY
Having no perceptible taste of sugar. Most wine tasters begin to perceive sugar at levels of 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent.
http://www.eatwithus.com/interact/wine_glossary.html

A sweet wine is one that has a level of residual sugar that gives it a sweet taste. There is no indication of sweetness in a dry wine due to its low level of residual sugar. An off-dry wine is one that is slightly sweet.
http://www.supermarketguru.com/page.cfm/page.cfm/315#04

The difference between dry, medium dry and not dry is essentially one of sweetness.When the wine is not sweet, it means that all the sugar has been converted into alcohol in the process of fermentation.
http://www.101lifestyle.com/cooking/win ... sting.html

I'll stop there. My point is that I can't find any reference that agrees with your position, Thomas. If I and everything I've read are incorrect, please point me to the technical references that support your position, so that I can be educated. This would be prefereably to your simply saying, "This is what it means. I am right, and you are wrong," which is essentially what you have done so far.


Isaac,

I've never said any such thing like "you are wrong and I am right" so please dispense with that bs.

I have tried to explain what is in wine that gives the palate a sense of dryness. Under all the definitions above, water should taste as dry as a dry wine. It doesn't. I have stated that acidity and pH play a role in that sense of dryness on the palate.

I am merely saying that it is too simplistic to say that a dry wine lacks sugar. In fact, many dry wines do not. Do what you want with my take on the matter.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by SFJoe » Sun May 21, 2006 1:40 pm

Thomas wrote:Joe,

Something in the wine must be making it seem dry to the palate. What would that be?

Water is sugarless; why doesn't it taste as dry as a dry wine? What makes strong brewed black tea seem dry?


I think the word you seek might be "astringent." Or "zippy." Or "refreshing." If you prefer to call all those things "dry" without qualification, I'm afraid you will confuse people.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Bob Ross » Sun May 21, 2006 1:57 pm

Isaac, you might want to review Jancis Robinson's definition of the term "dry" from the Oxford Second:

Adjective often applied to wines, usually to describe those in which there is no perceptible sweetness. Such wines may have as many as 10 g/l residual sugar, or even more in wines with particularly high acidity (which tends to counterbalance sweetness). In this sense virtually all red wines are dry, while white, rosé, sparkling, and fortified wines can vary considerably between bone dry, dry, medium dry, medium sweet, and sweet.

Some wines, particularly reds, are said to have a 'dry finish' if they are especially astringent.


This definiition seems close to Thomas's version if I'm following the discussion properly.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Sun May 21, 2006 2:00 pm

Joe,

What I mean is that acidity and pH (and tannin) play a role in the sensation we refer to as dry. Nothing more, nothing less, except that it is simplistic to say that lack of sugar equates to "dry."

...and I'm still wondering why water doesn't taste as dry as dry wine.

I just picked up on that phrase "without qualification." I believe that I am the one qualifying the term "dry." You guys are using it loosely to refer to sugar.
Last edited by Thomas on Sun May 21, 2006 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Sun May 21, 2006 2:05 pm

Bob,

You are following it precisely.

The fact of the matter is that many dry wines come in above .5% sugar, whether consumers are aware or not (even cult wines).
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by SFJoe » Sun May 21, 2006 2:09 pm

Thomas wrote:Bob,

The fact of the matter is that many dry wines come in above .5% sugar, whether consumers are aware or not (even cult wines).

Some of us are well aware of this, especially in California wines, and we find it gross and manipulative. It is one of several reasons why I drink very few of them--zinfandels with lots of rs, chardonnay with rs, even cabernet with rs. Bleh. More and more food and wine I encounter is sweet, and I am unhappy about it.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by SFJoe » Sun May 21, 2006 2:12 pm

Bob Ross wrote:Isaac, you might want to review Jancis Robinson's definition of the term "dry" from the Oxford Second:

Adjective often applied to wines, usually to describe those in which there is no perceptible sweetness. Such wines may have as many as 10 g/l residual sugar, or even more in wines with particularly high acidity (which tends to counterbalance sweetness). In this sense virtually all red wines are dry, while white, rosé, sparkling, and fortified wines can vary considerably between bone dry, dry, medium dry, medium sweet, and sweet.

Some wines, particularly reds, are said to have a 'dry finish' if they are especially astringent.


This definiition seems close to Thomas's version if I'm following the discussion properly.

Regards, Bob


Bob, I'm trying to preserve a distinct sense of the word, which would lend itself to usages such as, "this spatlese tastes dry, despite its 15g/l rs."

These wines don't actually taste fully dry, in my experience. I prefer to say "drying finish" about reds with significant tannin, since it helps distinguish such from Thomas' cult wines with rs. These finish with perceptable sweetness, as do even balanced spatlesen that aren't strictly "trocken."

Do I have to import the German word "trocken" to be understood?
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Sun May 21, 2006 2:13 pm

Joe,

It might interest you to know that I am extra sensitive to sweet. I hardly eat sweet foods. So I am with you on that.

Balance is a whole 'nother issue for me. I learned by producing and consuming Riesling that one can create a beautifully "dry" sensation and maintain a level of sugar as well.

To me, wine is not about dry or sweet--it is about balance.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Isaac » Sun May 21, 2006 2:33 pm

Thomas wrote:I just picked up on that phrase "without qualification." I believe that I am the one qualifying the term "dry." You guys are using it loosely to refer to sugar.
Once again, I must disagree. You are taking a term which most of us think has a specific meaning, and making it into something which is entirely a matter of personal taste. You are taking a quantitative term and making into a qualitative term. After all, if dry is simply the taster's perception, then any wine could be dry or not, depending on who is tasting it. The term ceases to have any specific meaning. Your definition would take dryness and make it the same thing as perception of dryness, and we would have lost one more useful distinction. The term would have lost all meaning outside of personal experience.

Bob, Jancis' definition does, indeed, follow that of Thomas quite closely. My criticism of it is the same as above. If it is based strictly on perception, then it has no meaning that is transferable from one person to another.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Sun May 21, 2006 3:22 pm

Isaac,

I am talking about the technical, scientific reason for the perceived "dryness" in wine. The word "dry" is a perception in this context because, as anyone should know, the opposite of dry is wet, and the last time I checked, all wine was wet.

In point of fact, in this case the word "dry" refers to a sensation on the palate, and that sensation is affected by acidity and pH as well as (or more so than) sugar, which is what I posted initially on this subject--you can choose to believe otherwise, but it is a fact.

Will you try the water experiment I suggested? I still would like someone to explain why water is without sugar but does not taste as dry as dry wine.

You posted: "The term would have lost all meaning outside of personal experience."

This discussion proves that the term has a vague meaning, as does the fact that wines are adjusted to meet what the market will accept as "dry."

As far as I am concerned, we should not classify wine as dry or semi-dry or sweet. We should refer to balance and best usage for a particualr style. But that would get us into a much larger discussion...
Last edited by Thomas on Sun May 21, 2006 3:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Bob Ross » Sun May 21, 2006 3:41 pm

Isaac, Jancis is working on page proofs of the third edition. I'll drop her a line and see what she is planning for the definition there. Regards, Bob
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Victorwine » Sun May 21, 2006 9:50 pm

I Just finished reading a book dealing with this subject. The Wine Guy by Andy Besch with Ellen Kaye. Everything you want to know about buying & enjoying wine from someone who sells it. Great read!

Salute
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Bob Ross » Mon May 22, 2006 9:10 am

Isaac, Jancis Robinson posted my question and her reply on the Purple Pages this morning:

We are having a debate about the word "dry" when used with respect to wine. Is it subjective, as the second edition of The Oxford Companion has it. Or objective based solely on sugar measurements? How are you planning to handle the issue in the third edition?

Here's what a proponent of the objective standard has to say:

"Once again, I must disagree. You are taking a term which most of us think has a specific meaning, and making it into something which is entirely a matter of personal taste. You are taking a quantitative term and making into a qualitative term. After all, if dry is simply the taster's perception, then any wine could be dry or not, depending on who is tasting it. The term ceases to have any specific meaning. Your definition would take dryness and make it the same thing as perception of dryness, and we would have lost one more useful distinction. The term would have lost all meaning outside of personal experience. Bob, Jancis' definition does, indeed, follow that of Thomas quite closely. My criticism of it is the same as above. If it is based strictly on perception, then it has no meaning that is transferable from one person to another."

Despite the odd title, the thread gets into the discussion of "dry" about 20 posts into this thread of Robin Garr's Wine Lovers Page.

Regards, Bob

****

Jancis's response:

me:

But the counter-argument is surely overwhelming. How could one set an upper limit of residual sugar for all wines when a Loire Chenin or German Riesling has so much acidity that it can taste dry at much higher residual sugars than a Viognier or Chardonnay, say? Nor do I think you can be absolutist about a strict relationship between total acidity and residual sugar when extract and alcohol also play a part in the overall balance of individual wines. A relatively alcoholic wine with 3 g/l residual sugar can taste much sweeter than a low-alcohol one with the same strict sweetness.


As you may gather, there will be no major changes to the discussion in the third edition out in September in the UK (October in the US). And I would ask, "What more do we need than we already have when we use the word 'dry' about a wine?"


Publication Date: 22 may 06
Last Updated: 22 may 06
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Mon May 22, 2006 9:27 am

Bob,

Tell her she failed to mention pH--which is as important (or may be more) an indicator of the "dry" perception than alcohol.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Bob Ross » Mon May 22, 2006 9:30 am

Will do. Regards, Bob
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Rahsaan » Mon May 22, 2006 9:35 am

What makes strong brewed black tea seem dry?


Um, the fact that it is dry?

You wouldn't put sugar in your tea would you?

Then there's the astringency thing mentioned by Joe..

Anyway, it seems like you guys understand each other, but are just using different definitions..
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Mon May 22, 2006 11:14 am

Rahsaan wrote:
What makes strong brewed black tea seem dry?


Um, the fact that it is dry?

You wouldn't put sugar in your tea would you?

Then there's the astringency thing mentioned by Joe..

Anyway, it seems like you guys understand each other, but are just using different definitions..


Try this Rahsaan: What is the component in black tea that makes strong brewed black tea seem dry on the palate?

And no, I NEVER put sugar in my tea...I add lemon, to make it seem even more dry. The first time I ordered tea in London I was shocked to discover that, unless one specifically asks for black tea, the damned thing comes with milk already in it to ruin it forever. ;)

To me, and I believe to the dictionary, the definition of astringency is something along the lines of "harsh or biting." To be sure, tannic acids are biting; they also make the palate seem dried out--cotton mouth. There, I gave you the "tea" answer.

I don't think we are merely talking semantics. It seems to me the problem is that many people think the word "dry" in the context of wine drinking has a finite definition. It does not. In fact, it is more a laymen's (or catch-all) term than anything else; I know of no technical data that gives winemakers guidance or parameters to quantify what constitutes a dry wine.

I can remember a particular woman who tasted a wine at my tasting room that contained 2.5 % sugar by volume, but she said it was way too dry and she did not like it. The reason it was "way to dry" was that it also contained about .9 % total acidity, and had a pH of about 3.1. Her palate could not take it.

The simplistic "dry equals lack of sugar" is hardly a technical definition, and as I have pointed out about a thousand times, it is hardly accurate.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Rahsaan » Mon May 22, 2006 11:18 am

I can remember a particular woman who tasted a wine at my tasting room that contained 2.5 % sugar by volume, but she said it was way too dry and she did not like it. The reason it was "way to dry" was that it also contained about .9 % total acidity, and had a pH of about 3.1. Her palate could not take it.


Why is it not sufficient to say that she did not like the wine because it was too acidic or too astringent?
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Mon May 22, 2006 11:33 am

It is sufficient to say that, Rahsaan. But she would never have said anything like that; to her, it was "way too dry." She reacted to the components that make a palate feel "dry" plus, she, like most other consumers, think that dry simply means lack of sweetness.

She obviously did not think the 2.5% sugar by volume made the wine sweet.

I purposely left all that sugar in there to balance out the high acidity, to make the wine seem dry but also to make it drinkable. pH of 3.1 with total acidity of .9 % is higher acidity than most finished Rieslings, which are no slouches in the acid department.
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