Wine Word of the Week: Residual sugar

By Kori ~ July 10th, 2010.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is residual sugar.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Residual sugar, occasionally RS, is the total quantity of sugars remaining unfermented in the finished wine.  This may include both fermentable sugars, mainly glucose and fructose, which have for some reason remained unconverted to alcohol during fermentation, and small amounts of those few sugars which are not readily fermented by typical wine yeast. Some, but by no means all, residual sugar is tasted as sweetness.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Residual sugar in a wine is achieved by either arresting fermentation or fermenting to dryness and then blending in unfermented grape juice in order to attain the desired level of sweetness. Residual sugar can provide balance for wines with high acidity such as Riesling. Residual sugar is usually measured in grams of total sugars per liter of wine and often listed as a percentage (i.e. 15 g/l = 1.5%).

Filed under: Wine Word of the Week

Reader's Comments

  1. Nikolas Hinnant | February 5th, 2012 at 1:37 am

    Major thanks for the blog.Much thanks again.