White wines are one of the best drinks to have in summer. They perfectly complement the season, being light, crisp, and elegant without being overpowering in flavor.
This is why you will often see these kinds of wines at weddings and other important ceremonies, where you want people to feel a certain atmosphere.
With that said, though, that doesn’t mean that a light, sweet wine isn’t the only one available.
On the contrary, the crispness of white actually lends itself quite well to being very dry, which gives it a whole new flavor profile. Dryness isn’t normally associated with white wine, but it is something to definitely try.
Therefore, we decided to look at dry white wines, the different varieties of them, and what exactly makes a wine dry in the first place.
What Do We Mean When We Say A Wine Is Dry?
Wines are described in one of two ways: either as sweet or as dry. While it is obvious what a sweet wine is, it is less obvious what a dry wine is.
Many people think that a dry wine is simply one that leaves a dry feeling in your mouth after you drink it, and while this may be an odd after effect of the wine, it is not the reason it is called dry.
The reason these wines are called dry is that they are dry of sugars, meaning they have little to no sugars in them, despite being made from the very sugary grape.
So, why is this? Well, wines are made from grapes or more specifically their juice. This juice is separated from the grape before being fermented with yeast.
The yeast eats the sugar and turns it into alcohol. If you want to make sweet wine, you stop the yeast from fermenting the wine earlier, as this will also stop it eating all the sugar.
If you want a dry wine, then you let it ferment until completion, letting the yeast eat all the sugar.
Since the sugar is consumed in dry wine and there is little to no residual sugar after fermenting, this makes the wine a dry wine, a wine basically lacking in all sugar or sugary taste.
Why Are There More Dry Red Wines?
This comes down to the winemaking process and the properties of both wines.
White wines are made from the juice of the flesh of the grape, which is light, sweet, and a little fruity, however red wines contain another ingredient, which is that of the grape skin.
Grape skins are fermented alongside the juice in red wine (see also ‘The Healthy Benefits Of Drinking Cannonau Wine‘), and they provide a slightly bitter, more bold flavor, as they are full of tannins.
This bitter, acidic flavor can hold its own and is very strong, meaning it works really well when the wine isn’t sweet, as it is not competing with the sweetness.
Since white wine has a lighter and more subtle flavor, it normally is easier to make a good sweet white wine than a good dry white wine.
However, that is not to say that making a dry white wine or a sweet red wine isn’t something that can’t be, in fact there are many absolutely delicious versions, like port or a chardonnay, it is just not as easy to do as when you make a dry red wine and a sweet white wine.
Are Dry White Wines Popular?
While there might not be too many of them, they are considered one of the most popular drinks you can have.
A good dry white wine is a fantastic accompaniment to many different meals, especially those that are fish, chicken, or vegetable based.
This is because of the subtler flavor they provide, than red wines, while also not being sweet and unbalancing the flavor.
A lot of white meats and vegetables have a great flavor, but it can be easily overpowered, and so drinking a red wine while eating these meals is foolish and can just mean that you taste the wine throughout the meal.
But if you drink a dry white wine, you use it as a little palate cleanser without destroying the flavor.
Another way to use dry white wine is in sauces or bases. The unique flavor of the wine adds an extra richness to the sauce, without making it too fatty.
This is better with white wine, because it has a subtler flavor than red wine, and so will keep the flavor of the sauce without being overbearing.
However, if you are making a rich, red meat sauce, then you should consider using a red wine instead, as it can stand up to the rich and bold flavors.
Dry White Wines
Now, we’ve talked about dry white wines and their counterparts in some detail, it is time to look at some dry white wines that you can try, starting with the driest of white wines:
Driest White Wines
A Sauvignon Blanc is not a wine that you gulp down in one go. This is a wine you use lavishly in sauces or that you sip and absorb the flavors over a long time.
It has a clean, crisp flavor that has grassy and herbal undertones, while being incredibly dry, allowing you to absorb these flavors free of the sometimes overbearing sugary flavor.
This wine has proven so popular in recent years that it is now grown and produced all over the world, from Bordeaux in the north of France to New Zealand in the south.
This is probably the driest white wine you are going to come across.
Bone dry is the way we would best describe a Muscadet, utterly bone dry.
Most people have drunk a Muscat or a Moscato wine – semi dry and semi sweet, respectively – but a Muscadet is an experience.
It is far sharper and tangier than most other wines, with distinct mineral notes and citrus undertones to it.
Between Sauvignon Blanc and a Muscadet, it is a toss up to see which is the driest white wine, but considering that Muscadet can only be really dry, whereas Sauvignon Blanc can have a range, the Muscadet might just take it on occasion.
This wine is produced and made in the northern French regions.
This wine might be one of the most popular in the world, or at the very least is a wine with such refinement that most people know of it.
It is a wine that produces pungent aromas of sweet fruits, like apples and oranges, while also providing the same fruity flavor to its liquid.
More modern Chardonnays from America age their wine in oak barrels, but this takes away some of the delicious flavors and bold fruit tones that it has and makes the whole wine a little sweeter.
This may be to a lot of people’s taste, but we prefer the drier, richer wine. This wine is grown in many places, but is particularly prominent in Burgundy in France and California in the United States.
Moving away from French wines, for our last very dry wine on the list, we have the Alberino from Spain.
It is quite an acidic wine with heavy citrus overtones and an undertone of saltiness. It has been described as having a picnic in the hot sun on the seafront.
The food this wine is paired with often denotes this, with it being drunk with many Spanish seafood dishes or eaten with hard Spanish cheeses.
Quite Dry Wines
We couldn’t have a dry white wine list without the most popular white wine in the world: Pinot Grigio. This wine is insanely light and clear, with it having a refreshing quality to it, while also being very bright.
The notes of different fruits are abundant throughout the drinking experience, with tastes of citrus pervading the entire flavor profile.
Depending on where your wine is from, you are going to have a slightly different taste to it.
French Pinot Grigios are very fruity and particularly dry, while Italian ones tend to maintain their brightness and be more minerally in flavor.
Another thing to note with these wines is that some French Pinot Grigios can be quite sweet, and it often depends on what vineyard you are buying from.
A wine not many have probably heard of is the Gruner Veltliner.
This is a wine that is from the land of Austria and is quite well-loved in its own country.
It tends to have a fruity flavor reminiscent of peaches in season with peppery and spicy undertones that makes the wine incredibly refreshing, especially considering how dry it is.
These wines and grapes are a strange one in the wine producing story, as they are undoubtedly a white wine grape, but they came to be from a genetic mutation of red wine grapes known as Pinot Noir.
However, this is not an unwelcome development, as Pinot Blanc wine is absolutely delicious resembling chardonnay in its flavor, but being slightly more acidic and having slightly nutty undertones.
The final addition to the list was a hesitant choice, as even though Riesling is delicious, it can be as dry as it is sweet and tends to swing between the two.
If you find a dry Riesling to drink, though, you will not be disappointed.
It is quite a minerally wine, with that flavor dominating the profile but has subtle undertones of fresh fruits – reminiscent of apples – and is particularly acidic which can pair well with very salty foods.
The regions that the Riesling has to be from to be dry are those of the Americas, particularly in the Washington, Oregon, and California areas – basically the entire west coast.
There are other dry white wines that could be absolutely delicious – like a champagne – but we have food that are the ones that are the best to try if you are looking for a new dry white wine to add to your wine cupboard.
The driest white wine is probably a Sauvignon Blanc, followed closely by a Muscadet, both of which are French wines.
These wines are delicious, but there are many other wines to try in your free time as well and see which you like.
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