What makes a dry red wine? What's the difference between dry and sweet? Let's take the pride and joy of Oregon wine, pinot noir. Red wine like this tastes full of fruit like cherries and sometimes blackberries. So how is it that something with sweet flavors isn't actually considered sweet? These questions have simpler answers than you think.
Why Dry or Sweet?
Wine that's referred to as dry has less than 5% of residual sugar. More than 5% of residual sugar and the wine is referred to as sweet. Our taste buds obviously pick up on this. A dry red wine like pinot noir will almost always have less than 5% residual sugar. Why not add more? Pinot noir is finely balanced to bring out its fruit flavors in a way that doesn't overwhelm. As a dry red wine, you can taste its entire flavor profile and enjoy each. As a sweet red wine, these flavors would be overwhelmed, and the textures and tannins that bring them out on your tongue would become lost.
Sweetness with Less Sugar
This doesn't mean that there's no sweetness in pinot noir. Red wine doesn't often need sugar to have a sweet note. Elements like alcohol content, acids, and tannins are just a few that also influence how sweet a wine tastes. Pinot noir's own flavor profile already features sweetness, so keeping it dry keeps it tasting like a full-bodied wine instead of candy.
How to Ask for Dry Red Wine
Most reds wines are kept dry because of this. It never hurts to ask, but if you're self-conscious about making sure a red wine is dry, or not wanting as strong a taste of fruit, try asking for one that's earthy. This is essentially super-secret wine code for a dry red wine that isn't as fruit-focused in its flavors.
One of the advantages of pinot noir is that many varieties feature a robust and darker fruit focus that has depth beyond simple sweetness, all balanced against with earthy, dry qualities.
What About White Wines?
You may encounter wines with variations on dry and sweet. White wines especially will often be quoted as “medium sweet.” Treat this like it sounds: it's sweet, but not too sweet. You may encounter wines with almost no sugar whatsoever...or you may encounter incredibly sweet wines with sugar that approaches 20%.
Do you like dry or sweet? There’s no wrong answer when it comes to wine!
Can you compost wine corks? Or do you recycle wine corks? Both are possible. Cork itself is an incredibly unique wood that can be harvested in a sustainable manner. It doesn't even harm the tree. If you understand what makes cork so special, you'll also understand the proper ways to compost or recycle it.
Why Cork is Special
Cork is made from cork oak, a tree that grows up to 65 feet tall. Yet the tree doesn't need to be cut down in order to harvest it. It can keep on standing and growing. Cork oak regrows its outer bark. About once a decade, the bark can be stripped off an adult tree without causing any harm. On average, a single cork tree can see its bark safely harvested 16 times in its lifetime.
Cork Oak Stewardship
Many cork producers are also working with the Rainforest Alliance. While these trees grow in Southwest Europe and Northwest Africa, the Rainforest Alliance itself is helping cork producers to earn Forest Stewardship Council certifications. These educate producers and place requirements on them to meet both social and environmental standards. This will help conserve cork oak safely into the future.
What makes cork so special? Why can't you use any old product to seal wine? Cork is light and possesses elastic qualities. This allows it to serve as a stopper in many bottled products. It's also impermeable so gases and liquids can't pass through it. This keeps whatever is sealed in a corked bottle fresh and unspoiled.
How to Compost Wine Corks
Make sure that the cork isn't actually a synthetic material made to look like cork wood. You can cut the cork open to check. Synthetic corks are foamy and look very uniform inside. Do not compost a synthetic cork.
If it's a real cork, remove anything artificial attached to it. This can include foil covers, plastic, or screw lid material. Anything plastic, from a synthetic cork to a plastic screw cap, can go in the recycling bin.
To compost wine corks much more quickly, chop the cork up to help it break down. As in any compost material, the more green elements (like grass, plant clippings, or leftover vegetable scrap) added into the compost, the quicker non-green materials will break down.
You can even do this with other cork materials, such as a notice board. Just make sure that they don't have glue or paint on them. You can cut these parts out and still recycle the parts without paint or glue.
How to Recycle Wine Corks
Real cork can be recycled, but don't throw it in the recycling bin. Many stores have programs to recycle wine corks – you can take your corks into Whole Foods, for instance. Look for a store with Cork Reharvest Boxes.
There are also companies that have drop-offs at other businesses, such as ReCork and Cork Forest Conservation Alliance. You can search online for the nearest drop-off locations. If these locations are too distant, you can mail your corks in at no cost to CorkClub. There are other businesses that may offer these services, so don't be afraid to check. These are simply the ones that are accessible to the most people.
Of course, you can also reuse corks in home art projects. If you're recycling corks that were used in these projects, cut any parts with paint or glue off them before bringing them in for recycling.
So uncork a bottle of your favorite wine and explore your possibilities!
“Dry” is a word often used when describing wine, but it can be confusing. Some people use it to mean that the wine “feels” dry in the mouth or will, in fact, dry it out. This is not the case! A dry wine is one that has no residual sugar, so it is not sweet. If this appeals to your taste buds, you may want to consult a white and red wine sweetness chart to ensure you are getting the driest white wine or driest red that will suit your palate.
Alcohol is produced during the fermentation process as yeast eats the sugar that is contained in the juice. Depending on the varietal, winemakers stop this process before the yeast can finish the feast. This leaves “residual sugar” behind. For dry wines, the process is allowed to finish. To make a very broad generalization, most Americans are acclimated to a diet with a higher sugar content than our counterparts overseas. As a result, many do not prefer truly dry wine; they like a hint of sweetness or a “semi-dry” option. Luckily, there are options all along the spectrum. The driest white wine, for example, is Muscadet. This is a bone-dry French wine with a mineral taste and citrus notes. From there, in order from dry to sweet, are some popular dry white wine choices:
- Sauvignon Blanc
- Pinot Gris
- Chenin Blanc
- White Port
- Ice Wine
For dry reds:
- Cabernet Sauvignon
- Pinot Noir
- Lambrusco Dolce
- Tawny Port
Wine Folly has a great white and red wine sweetness chart with other varietals that you can try. If you want to try a dry, sample Natura’s Cabernet Sauvignon or try our Rainstorm Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. While we wouldn’t say they are the driest of the dry, they give you a nice entry into this world. Let us know what you think!
Many people think a keto diet means they can't enjoy a drink any more. You still have a pretty wide range of drinks in which to indulge. This starts with pinot gris white wine on keto. You can move from there using a low carb wine chart you'll find below – one for white and one for red wine.
What Makes a Low Carb Wine?
Not all wines are keto-friendly, as many have a high residual sugar content. Some you can enjoy with limitation, some are just no-gos when on a keto diet.
What you're looking for are dry wines. A dry wine has less than 10 grams of sugar in every bottle. Sweeter wines have a shorter fermentation period. Since yeast consumes sugar in alcohol, this shorter fermentation period means not as much of the sugar has been consumed.
Seems easy, right? Wines usually don't have nutrition facts printed on them. That means keeping a handy low carb wine chart around. Here's one for red wine:
Red Wine Carb Chart
|Pinot noir||3.4g per 5 oz.|
If you're allowed 20 grams of sugar per day, a 5 oz. glass of pinot noir or merlot should be easy to factor in. Yet port and sherry will take up nearly half your daily allowance of sugar.
White wines can be a little better, but not by much:
White Wine Carb Chart
|Sauvignon Blanc||3g per 5 oz.|
Champagne can vary, but is typically in the 3.8 gram per glass range. You can enjoy 2 glasses of pinot gris and still be below the sugar content of a single glass of moscato.
Good Guidelines with Keto Wine
A good general rule to keep on the keto diet is to hold your wine choice to those below 5 grams of carbohydrates per glass.
Now one advantage of wine is that you typically have it later in the day. You already know how much sugar you've had throughout the rest of the day. If wine is one of the last things you'll have that day, it's easy to pull out your low carb wine chart and see what you can have.
Pinot gris white wine on keto is a great choice and goes with a lot of healthy meals.
You should know that products made from wine – such as alcohol pops or wine coolers – will have much more sugar. They'll come in at more than 30 grams of sugar apiece. Avoid these.
Wine, though, is one of the safer treats you can have in terms of sustaining your keto diet.
Pinot noir is a fantastic wine to enjoy while snacking. Its medium body, red berry flavor, and silky cherry notes all combine for a relaxing experience. That means there are several pinot noir appetizer pairing options that are ideal. When thinking of snacks to pair with pinot noir, think of what goes best with kicking back and enjoying a gentle sunset.
Oregon pinot noir is grown in the Umpqua and Willamette valleys, where the ancient volcanic soil offers a uniquely elegant wine. This makes for a wine that matches rich feasts of rare foods, sure. It also means a wine that's down to earth and pairs with snacks and even cold leftovers perfectly.
Salmon, duck, chicken, pork, and mushroom risotto are all ideal for a full meal with pinot noir. If you have anything like that in appetizer form, it will fit well. That said, let's think of more traditional snack fare: fruits, cheeses, and snack meats.
The Perfect Snack Plate
A snack plate with crackers, goat cheese, pear, and salami is the perfect way to enjoy pinot noir. Herb crackers are ideal because they aren't too salty, and the herbs will set well against the rich bouquet of the pinot noir. The goat cheese is creamy and lets the other tastes linger on your tongue. Pear is refreshing and complements the brighter berry flavors. Finally, salami is salty and has a mouthwatering taste that enhances every other element. Each of these enhances the others as well as the wine, so you have one of the most ideal and relaxing plates possible.
Other cheeses can also work, but will shift up the combined experience a bit. Fresh mozzarella matches these other flavors well, but you'll lose the creaminess of the goat cheese. Brie retains that creaminess, but can feel a little too understated compared to goat cheese or mozzarella.
Figs and dried fruit also match pinot noir well. So do walnuts.
Practically anything with mushrooms goes with pinot noir, so garlic butter mushrooms or bacon stuffed mushrooms can be phenomenal. You can also have them alongside plates like the one above. (There's nothing saying you can only have one pinot noir appetizer pairing at a time.)
Leftovers: Practical Snacks to Pair with Pinot Noir
Sometimes a snack isn't an Instagram-perfect meat-and-cheese plate, or stuffed mushrooms you spent 45 minutes preparing. Sometimes the best and most relaxed snacks to pair with pinot noir are just the delicious leftovers you've been looking forward to all day.
You might think from herb crackers, mozzarella, salami, and mushrooms that cold pizza would taste excellent with pinot noir. You would be absolutely right. The most popular pizza toppings (like sausage and pepperoni, or mushrooms and olives for vegetarians) pair exquisitely with pinot noir. The melty mozzarella cheese and oils are a delicious match, hot or cold.