Label of Moelleux Cotes de Bergerac, Club de Sommeliers white wine

“Moelleux” is sweet, er, soft white wine

I’ve been enjoying a little glass of this chilled, somewhat sweet wine as an aperitif before dinner.

But I don’t actually know what moelleux is, and there’s not much about it on the English-language Internet. The wine experts at say moelleux is a type of sweet wine; and in the scale of sec, semi-sec, moelleux, and doux, it is mid-level sweet.

However, in his interesting post Wine balance – English vs French…”Moelleux” lost in translation, J.C. Viens of the wine blog Grande Passione disputes the translation of moelleux. Being a speaker of both English and French, Viens says that while English translates the word Moelleux as “sweet” or “sugar,” French translates it to “soft:”

…The english-speaking literature speaks of balance in white wine as being: sugar = acidity, while the french speak as being moelleux: (alcohol + sugar) = acidity …sugar is not really sugar for the french, but softness. Moelleux in the context of wine tasting does not mean sweet but soft.

Thanks to M. Viens, this Canadian can no longer ignorantly sip a glass of soft moelleux wine.

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