In a lifetime of standing in restaurants the question on everyone’s (wine-ready) lips is: Is it dry? Or, declaratively: I like it…dry, ‘very dry’, not-too dry. It’s never certain what the word means to anyone but it does have a meaning and its meaning is…science!
Science says the sugar present in a grape is measurable and can be expressed as a number on a scale of degrees. As Farenheit tells us temperature, degrees of Brix (b-r-i-x) measure fermentable sugars and, thus, are the primary tool when winemakers assess ripeness. Sugar–this Brix measurement–is the irreplaceable food of fermentation. Yeast cells consume sugar and in the process—god bless ‘em—create alcohol. Once the sugar’s gone, fermentation’s over and the wine is dry…and that’s all ‘dry’ means. There’s no sugar residual in the wine. But that’s true for nearly every wine on the market. Thus, dry, our favorite tiny wine-word, offers no helpful distinction among about 95% of wines. Now what?
Remember: understanding wine is easy: I drank it, I liked it. There. You have a perfect understanding of wine. And Bacchus, that recklessly convivial God of wine, would agree: drink, enjoy and shut up already. Once we start naming wine, categorizing it, comparing it…learning about it…well Bacchus is on a bus to the nearest orgy and you’re on your own. But not entirely on your own.
Common Fire has put together a four-Tuesdays series of conducted tastings that will root you in fundamentals and extend your reach and your grasp of good wine. Join us at Common Fire for four Tuesday evenings–So This Is Wine–beginning Tuesday September 24th. Advance tickets are required and are available at our website, TAOS common fire dot com.
Simply drinking the stuff suffices, but exploring the whys and hows of wine opens new worlds. Join us.