How can I tell if a wine is dry or sweet?
Readers often ask if there's a simple way to tell sweet, light, dry or fruity wines by looking at the label. In fact, save for dessert wines, most table wines are "dry" (unsweet). But some dry wines are more fruity than others, and this fruitiness may communicate itself as slight sweetness.
There are many exceptions, so be aware that this list is only a general guide. But it offers a broad summary of popular wine grapes and types that might help give you a general idea of what's in the bottle:
SWEET: Dessert wines. Port, Sauternes, Cream Sherry. These are strong and very sweet, intended to sip after dinner, not to drink with meals.
LIGHTLY SWEET: German whites, Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer. "White" Zinfandel.
DRY, FRUITY REDS: Merlot, Zinfandel, Beaujolais
DRY, FRUITY WHITES: Chardonnay
DRY, TART REDS: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Syrah, many Italian reds.
DRY, TART WHITES: Sauvignon Blanc (Fumé Blanc), many Italian whites.\r\n