Many people favor dry wines over other types of wine. Wine drinkers value these wines for their crisp flavors. You can also drink dry wines any time of the year.
With so many varieties of dry wines produced around the world, you can easily get lost with all the names and terms.
Whether you like off-dry, very dry or medium dry wines, you can easily pick one if you understand how they smell like and taste like. We have rounded up some of the most popular dry wines to help you in picking.
What is Dry Wine
Wine grapes greatly differ in the amount of natural sugars they contain, depending on their variety, how late in the season they are harvested as well as the level of concentration in the juices.
During the fermentation process of wine, yeast is added to convert the natural sugar in the grapes into alcohol. When most of the sugar is converted, and the remaining sugar is just one percent of the wine’s volume or four grams per liter, the wine is considered dry.
There is also the medium-dry wine when the residual sugar is at 12 grams per liter. Wines that contain a higher amount of sugar are considered off-dry, medium or sweet wines.
When it comes to dry wine, you will frequently encounter the terms sweet and fruity. Sweet wine is what it is, sweet. To create sweet wines, there has to be high residual sugar in the mix. But a fruity wine does not necessarily mean a sweet wine. Some fruity flavor notes can be tangy rather than sweet.
Different Types of Dry Wine
Very Dry White Wines
These wine types contain very little residual sugar of only 4g/L, giving them dry and crispy characteristics. They don’t have any sweet flavors at all.
Dry and crisp, very dry wines are among the best wines for cooking and food pairing.
Sauvignon Blanc Dry White Wine
Sauvignon Blanc is a dry white wine that is considered one of the most popular dry wines in the US. Often referred to as “grassy,” Sauvignon Blanc is known for its crispness which resulted from having low amounts of sugar and high acidity levels.
The grape that is used to produce Sauvignon Blanc originated in the Bordeaux region of France. This is also the same region where Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot originated from.
The name Sauvignon Blanc is from the French word sauvage which means wild. In the region of Bordeaux, the Sauvignon Blanc white wine grape grows like a weed, hence the name.
Sauvignon Blanc is considered the best dry wine for sipping and cooking. It is perhaps the driest and crispest of dry wines available. Aside from its crispness, Sauvignon Blanc has underlying fruit flavors that many wine lovers like.
Albariño Dry White Wine
Albariño (Alvarinho) is a variety of white wine grape that is native to Galicia, an area on the north Atlantic coast of Spain. This variety is high in acidity which makes it ideal for producing light white wine or fuller white wine.
The Albariño wine has a crisp and fruitiness that resembles peach and tropical fruits, citrus in particular. As the grapes used to produce this wine are grown in a coastal area, they leave slightly salty notes on the wine. Those combined characteristics and flavor make Albariño wine an ideal cooking wine. It also pairs well with seafood which is plentiful in Spain.
Chardonnay Dry White Wine
France’s Burgundy region is well known for its excellent Chardonnay grapes. This type of green-skinned grapes easily adapts to a variety of climates and they also produce a wide variety of wines, among which are dry wines.
Chardonnay wine can be crisp and clean or rich and oaky. The taste of chardonnay wine depends on where the grapes are grown, and how it is made. But typically, dry to medium white wines have well-balanced acidity and moderate alcohol content. Their flavor notes range from lemon and apple to papaya and apple. Oaked Chardonnay can also taste a hint of vanilla.
Chardonnay wines are great as an apéritif and pair well with cheeses, delicate fish and seafood.
Muscadet Dry White Wine
Muscadet is a light-bodied bone-dry white wine from the Loire Valley of France. However, the Melon de Bourgogne grapes originally came from Burgundy to the Loire Valley.
This dry white wine is well-loved as an excellent food pairing wine because of its high acidity and minerally, citrus notes. If the grapes are grown close to the sea, the wine tends to have a salty note due to the salty sea breezes.
Muscadet wine is perfect for those who love sipping anything but fruity wines. There are no fruity flavors in this wine.
Light-bodied and bone-dry white wines such as the Muscadet are the perfect palate cleansers. They stand up well to high-acidity dressings and zesty vinaigrettes in food. Moreover, Muscadets are also perfect for any seafood, particularly oysters, mussels and the like.
Torrontés Dry White Wine
Torrontés is a dry white wine that is growing in popularity nowadays. Many of the delicious Torrontés comes from South American countries such as Argentina. It is an aromatic wine with a hint of peach and citrus flavors with a bit of salty taste. It also has floral notes and bright acidity.
If you think of a wine that pairs well with Asian and Indian cuisine, Torrontés is the first to come to mind. It’s a great match for dishes, curries and Thai spicy foods as well as light-colored meats.
Medium-Dry White Wines
Medium-dry white wines have a sugar content of about 12 grams per liter. They are a bit sweeter than very dry white wines. But the sweetness is not excessive as to be classified as a dessert wine or off-dry and sweet wines.
Blanc Pinot White Wine
Blanc Pinot or Pinot Blanc are versatile white wine grapes that are popularly used in producing sparkling and dessert wines. Although it is not the most glamourous grape in the Pinot family, this variety has proven its worth in wine-making.
The alcohol content in Blanc Pinot wines is typically between medium to high. These medium to high alcohol wines are versatile with similar flavor profiles as the Chardonnay. It has a zippy acidity with apple and almonds flavor notes. Moreover, it also has a slightly tart and sour taste because of its acidity.
While Pinot Blanc originally grows in Alsace in northeast France as well as in the Alto Adige region of Italy, in recent years, there are also Pinot Blanc wines commercially produced in the United States, Canada and several other countries. In particular, Canada’s Okanagan Valley has the reputation of producing quality Pinot Blanc wines.
Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) White Wine
Pinot Grigio is a dry white wine that originated in France where it is called Pinot Gris. It is made from a grape that is thought to be a mutation of Pinot Noir. But instead of having green skins like other white grapes, the Pinot Gris grapes have a grayish hue which is why it is called by its name.
But the wine found great success not in France but in the Northeastern part of Italy where it is called Pinot Grigio. From that region, it became one of the most popular white wines in all of Italy and one of the most popular imported white wines in the US.
At its most basic state, Pinot Grigio wine is a refreshing drink commonly served cold. Imagine drinking a very cold lemonade on a hot day. That’s how refreshing this dry white wine is. In terms of flavor, Pinot Grigio has a punchy acidity with flavor notes that include limes, lemons, green apples and honeysuckle.
Moreover, Italian style-Pinot Grigio dry wines are crisp, light and with mineral notes. On the other hand, the French version of this wine tends to be dry and fruity.
Most, if not all wine drinkers are probably familiar with Champagne. This classic wine is named after its place of origin which is the region of Champagne in northeastern France.
All Champagnes are considered sparkling wines, but not all sparkling wines can be called Champagne. It can only be called Champagne if it is produced in that particular region in France.
While many Champagne wines are considered as dry, the region in France where they are produced have their own classifications based on wine sweetness.
- Extra Brut – Champagne with less than 6 percent residual sugar.
- Brut – Champagne with less than 1.5 percent residual sugar.
- Extra Sec – Champagne with 1.2 to 2 percent residual sugar. It is a medium-dry wine.
- Sec – Champagne with 1.7 percent to 3.5 percent residual sugar.
- Demi-Sec – Champagne with 3.3 percent to 5 percent residual sugar.
- Doux – Champagne with 5 percent or more residual sugar.
Viognier White Wine
Viognier wines are full-bodied wines that originated in southern France. It is well-loved for its perfumed aroma that combines tangerine, peach and honeysuckle. Moreover, Viognier white wines that are aged in oak have a distinctly rich and creamy taste with a hint of vanilla.
Viognier pairs well with a wide variety of shellfish and seafood, pork and chicken dishes, and Asian dishes.
Grüner Veltliner White Wine
Grüner veltliner the most widely planted white wine grape in Austria. It is an aromatic grape variety with hints of lemon and lemon zest and undertones of spice and pepper.
The hints of citrus flavor in this Austrian wine depend on how late in the season the grape is harvested. If they are harvested before they are fully ripe, the lime flavor predominates. The later in the season the grapes are harvested, the fewer citrus notes you’ll find in the wine with the much riper grapes yielding wines with peach notes.
Gewürtztraminer White Wine
The Gewürztraminer is an aromatic wine grape that hails from a place located in the border of France and Germany. This grape produces Gewürtztraminer white wines that are spicy and aromatic.
There are different versions of Gewürtztraminers wines and not all of them are dry. The same type of grape but harvested late in the season is used in making Gewürtztraminers sweet wines. If you are looking for a Gewürtztraminers with low residual sugar, choose the German Trocken or Halbtrocken version. You can expect the Gewürtztraminers dry wine to have floral and citrus notes. More often, you’ll also notice spicy notes.
Riesling White Wine
Riesling is a delicious and refreshing aromatic white wine that hails from areas along the Rhine River in Germany. This type of fry wine can be dry or sweet and can have crisp flavors of minerals, stone fruits and apples. Riesling is one of the few wines with its unique wine bottle shape which is slender and tall.
While most white wines are meant to be consumed very soon, Riesling can last and improve in taste in wine bottles for more than 100 years.
Dry Red Wines
Some dry wines are not necessarily white wines as there are also red-colored dry wines. These wine types are produced around the globe from France to South America and other countries in between.
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular red wines in the US. It has a big bold taste that is relatively stronger than Merlot. It has tasting notes that include cherries, green olives and herbs.
This type of dry wine is made using a combination of Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes. It pairs well with any hearty dishes and red meats.
Compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot has fewer tannins. That is the reason why this wine can be between dry or sweet in nature.
Dry Merlot wines have watermelon, strawberry and cherry flavor notes. It goes well with just any hearty dish, but many wine lovers pair this wine with cheeses, lamb and mushroom dishes.
This red wine is a Burgundy-style wine with flavor notes of dark cherries and tobacco. It also has some hints of earthy flavors.
In the US, the states of Oregon and California make exceptional New World varieties of this wine.
The world of dry wines can be overwhelming and confusing. There are different descriptions and flavor notes that you need to understand. It’s no surprise that some people find the wine industry to be a bit intimidating.
Whether you are looking for a dessert wine, medium wine or off-dry wine, there is that one bottle that is perfect for the taste buds.
For those preferring dry wines, there are many options available including white and red dry wines. And those wines are a perfect match for certain types of food because of their flavor notes. Basic knowledge of the characteristics of dry wines allows you to easily choose the right one for any occasion.