Tradition doesn’t mean sweet

The impression that it is an Alsatian tradition to produce wines with residual sugar isn’t helpful for the regional image. Over the past decades, wine styles have become unpredictable, one of the biggest criticisms that can be levelled against Alsatian wines. Will the wine be dry, off-dry, semi-sweet, or sweet? One cannot tell when looking at the label and the efforts to put a scale on the label which shows the sweetness levels have to be communicated much better to become effective. This tendency to produce full-bodied and ever sweeter wines had to do with the number of great (meaning hot) vintages over the past 15 years, making it difficult to produce a dry wine with fresh acidity under 14,5% ABV, then there was the trend of wine critics in the past awarding high scores for those wines. It took a while for journalists to realise that residual sugar isn’t the same as extract and that quality isn’t equal to concentration. There clearly is a trend for more elegant and drier wines, which are not meant to enter competitions but for drinking a whole evening long.