Tannins are polyphenols found in apples (and red wine grapes, tea leaves, and other fruits and vegetables). Thanks to decades of research, especially in the wine world, we have a good understanding of how tannins interact with sugar and acid to reduce the perception of sweetness in your mouth. Tannins create dryness.
But “dry” is a term that has confused cider drinkers, and so the New York Cider Association is working to explain what “dry” means, by creating an honest, consistent, reliable framework in the form of a scale, describing what level of dryness or sweetness will be experienced when you try a cider.
This scale will objectively position any orchard- based cider on a spectrum that ranges from Dry, to Semi Dry, to Semi Sweet, to Sweet. Lab testing will quantify the ratio of Residual Sugar to Total Acidity in a cider, and adjust the cider’s place on the scale to factor its Tannin content, giving it a score that is used to place it on the scale.
The result of the scale’s adoption will be the elimination of “talk dry, taste sweet” misinformation on labels, and will boost confidence on the part of cider drinkers. You should begin to see the scale on labels in late 2018. Cheers to that!
Visit CiderWeekNewYork.com to learn where to meet makers and sample their cider during Cider Week Hudson Valley and throughout the year.
By Jenn Smith, NYCA Executive Director