There are countless types of wine made with hundreds of unique grapes from 70 wine-producing countries, which can be a lot to handle for a wine enthusiast that’s just getting started. Still, if you know what you’re looking for, you can consistently find the wine you like to drink and share.
Wine knowledge is the fastest path to wine enjoyment, and amongst the most frequent questions we find, what is the driest white wine? After all, dry white wine is thirst-quenching and delicious. So, what bottle should you pick the next time you visit your favorite wine store? Here’s what you need to know about dry white wine.
What is Dryness in Wine?
Let’s start with the basics. What is dryness? In wine terms, dryness is the opposite of sweetness. Imagine a lemonade with no added sugar; that’s a dry lemonade right there. Interestingly, at least 90% of the wine is fermented to dryness, so if you like dry wine, you’ve got it easy.
Only a few selected wine styles are sweet, and they can be white, red, sparkling or pink. The terms ‘sweet’, ‘semi-sweet,’ ‘late harvest’ and ‘demi-sec’ are often telltales for sweet wine styles. To further understand dryness in wine, let’s take a closer look at fermentation.
Residual Sugar Explained
Wine starts like grape juice, and it’s extremely sweet. In a nutshell, the art of winemaking involves allowing microscopic yeast to turn the sugar in the juice into alcohol. Once the yeast ferments all the sugar, you get dry wine.
The thing is, winemakers can stop the yeast on its tracks before the job is done, resulting in a wine with residual sugar, AKA sweet or semi-sweet wine. Here’s a fun fact: Even when the yeast consumes all the sugar, all dry white wines end with around 1 to 3 grams of sugar per liter of wine, but you can’t really taste it.
How To Know If A Bottle Of Wine Is Dry Without Opening It?
Almost all dry white wines are dry unless otherwise stated on the label. However, dry white wines can be fruity and sweet on the nose, although they have virtually no sugar. To avoid these, stay clear from wine from warm wine regions like California’s Central Valley, most Spain and Australia, amongst others. For less fruity wines, look for wine from cold regions like Washington, New York State, Coastal California and similar.
Tip: Even dry wine can taste sweet if it’s too fruity. Avoid wines from warm wine regions; these are also often higher in alcohol.
List Of Dry White Wines, From Driest to Sweetest
The driest white wine is Assyrtiko. A unique wine grape grown on the Greek island Santorini. The wine is citrusy and mineral.
Melon de Bourgogne
A noble varietal found in the French Loire Valley. Wine made with this seafood-perfect white wine is labeled as Muscadet.
A traditional varietal found in Austria. This grape produces dry white wine, often with white pepper scents.
One of the most famous grapes in the world, it produces crisp white wine, often with scents of tropical fruit and fresh-cut grass.
Winemakers make the classic Italian white wine in Veneto and at the foot of the Alps. Pinot Grigio is pleasantly peachy. New World renditions of the grape might be sweeter.
This French grape is mixed with Sauvignon Blanc in France, but winemakers do varietal wines with it in the Hunter Valley, Australia.
Popular in Spain and Portugal, refreshing wine made with this grape is ideal with seafood.
A versatile wine behind bone dry, sweet and even sparkling wines. The dry wines are often reminiscent of white flowers and wool.
This lesser-known grape is only found in the Spanish region of Rueda. It produces medium-bodied wines that go perfectly with sushi.
An actual mutation of the famous Pinot Noir, this white grape produces medium-bodied white wines that are still dry but round.
The queen of white grapes and the most planted varietal in the world. Chardonnay has a sweet nose redolent of golden apples, and it’s often aged in oak, so the wine has scents of vanilla and butter.
This traditional grape from the French Rhône Valley is floral and has honeyed flavors and aromas. It is usually dry on the palate but might have noticeable residual sugar.
You’ll find this grape in Argentina, and it grows on the Andes foothills. Flowers, orange peels and peaches make wine made with this grape instantly recognizable.
Although sometimes fermented to dryness, Riesling is the source of some of the sweetest and most exclusive white wines on the planet. You’ll often find it from Washington, Germany and Australia.
Another white floral grape with sweet scents that can be attractively sweet, especially from the ancestral vineyards of the French region of Alsace.
Grown worldwide, especially around the Mediterranean, this grape accumulates massive amounts of sugar that usually end in the wine. Expect grape flavors and lots of ripe fruit.
This fortified Portuguese wine has tons of residual sugar and alcohol. More than wine, this one is the perfect after-dinner drink and goes great with white chocolate and caramel.
This specialty can be made with various grapes, but the winemakers pick the fruit when still frozen during winter. The resulting wine has stratospheric amounts of sugar; this is a dessert in its own right.
How To Pair Dry White Wine With Food?
Dry white wine is amongst the most versatile wine styles with food. These wines often have a mouth-watering acidity that balances sweetness, and cuts through fat. Dry white wines are also incredibly refreshing, so they’re perfect for outdoor grilling parties but also memorable dinner parties.
Try your favorite dry white wines with salads, fresh cheese, cured meat, fish, seafood and, of course, appetizers, pâté and fried finger food. White wines are also perfect ways to start the night, as they get your appetite going. Serve dry white wine at fridge temperature and enjoy!
There’s no doubt dry white wine is immensely appealing — sophisticated, easy to drink and adaptable; there is no better alternative for dinner parties, outdoor grilling, pool parties and evenings with friends.
And now that you know all about dryness in wine and which white wine is driest, you can stock your cellar with the tastiest wines with confidence. Share this post with your friends and make some calls. Who’s up for a few glasses of dry white wine? Count us in! Wine brings people together, and that’s what makes it so much fun. Don’t you agree?