Wine is not a simple drink. It is one of complexity and variance that can make one bottle a masterpiece to some or a failure to another. Everyone has a different taste in wine, and every wine falls into a certain flavor category. We have previously discussed part of these flavor profiles, but it goes deeper. Whether you enjoy a bold red wine or a crisp white wine, each one will have distinct features of its flavor profile. One of the more well-known wine profiles in the world is dry wines. However, finding a quality dry wine can challenge white wine enthusiasts.
Dry white wines are not exactly uncommon, but finding a high stock of dry wine is another challenge entirely. The driest white wines can be an excellent addition to any connoisseur’s collection but finding them requires expertise and resources to make sure the bottles you buy are genuine and worth the expense.
However, it is also important to review the information surrounding dry wines to be sure you are making the right decision. This article will focus on evaluating dry wines and some of the driest white wines available.
What is a Dry Wine?
Before talking about the best dry wines available, we need to discuss what a dry wine is.
For those who are only just beginning to take an interest in wine, you might not know what a dry wine means. The answer is remarkably simple. Plenty of people believe that dry wine refers to how it feels when drinking it. One of the most common thoughts in people’s heads when they hear “dry wine” is that it leaves their mouth feeling dry. This is a common mistake made by people who are not overly familiar with the intricacies of wine. The true meaning of dry wine is more to do with the contents of the wine itself rather than the taste.
A dry wine refers to a wine with remarkably little natural sugar content, which is less sweet than other wines. This is not to say that dry wines have no sweetness to them whatsoever, but the dryness refers to how much sugar is present in the wine after the fermentation process is complete. This lack of sugar causes the dry wines to have their unique flavor profile, and white wines are some of the driest wines available in the modern market. This means you can enjoy a dry wine with less guilt since you do not have to worry about how much sugar you consume.
Finding a dry white wine is a little complicated compared to others since the grapes used in white wines naturally have more sugar. This means that most white wines will not be as dry as others, but several high-quality white wines fall under the “dry” category for you to enjoy. Unfortunately, figuring out which of these wines is best can be difficult without some help.
Perhaps the driest white wine in existence is known as Assyrtiko. It also doubles as one of the more exotic wines on the market. Assyrtiko wine originates from Greece and, like so many wines, is named after the type of grape used to brew it. What makes Assyrtiko grapes so unique is that they grow in the soil on the Aegean islands, which are known to be rich with volcanic ash. Given that the soil from which a grapevine grows is a significant aspect of how the subsequent wine turns out, the volcanic ash makes Assyrtiko wines unique.
As a result, Assyrtiko wines are among the driest available and are commonly mixed with other wines to compound flavor. Often, Assyrtiko wines are combined with others to create a dessert wine known as Vin Santo to restore some sweetness to the flavor.
#2: Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is not only one of the driest white wines available but also one of the most popular. Unlike Assyrtiko wine, Sauvignon Blanc comes from France, a country famous for its elegant wines. Sauvignon Blanc is produced in the Bordeaux region of France and can adopt a variety of flavors depending on the climate the grapes grew in. The wine can have an earthy or sweet profile, but it is almost always a dry wine. As a result, Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most sought-after wines globally, and, for enthusiasts, there are few white wines as dry.
Sauvignon Blanc is also one of the wines that Assyrtiko is mixed with to restore some of the sweetness. As a result, Sauvignon Blanc is slightly higher on the popularity scale, but it is less dry than Assyrtiko.
#3: Melon de Bourgogne
Melon de Bourgogne wine, also known simply as Melon, is another French wine that is very popular with enthusiasts. This wine comes from the Loire Valley rather than the Bordeaux region. Melon grapes have an interesting history, originating in Burgundy until it was ordered to be destroyed by the region’s leader in the early days of the 18th Century. However, the French eventually replanted it in 1709 following a very harsh winter. As a result, Melon grapes have been used to produce a wonderfully light white wine.
The Melon wines are as dry as they are light and are a rising star among enthusiasts of white wines. As of 2007, Melon grapes have been grown in Oregon following their loss in France. However, the higher quality wines are still made in French wineries.
#4: Grüner Veltliner
Grüner Veltliner wine is a German wine derived from grapes of the same name, not that this information should surprise you. Grüner Veltliner grapes are the second-most common grapes grown in the Czech Republic and constitute 11% of the wine manufactured there. In Austria and Germany, Grüner Veltliner wine accounts for 32.6% of the wine available. Needless to say, it is one of the most popular wines in the country. Part of its popularity is that the wine itself is a dry one with more citrus and pepper notes than anything sweet or sugary.
While this wine might be a little more difficult to get ahold of outside of Germany or the Czech Republic, it is still a suitable addition to this list. Obtaining a bottle of Grüner Veltliner is sure to provide you with a dry white wine you will love.
#5: Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is likely, a name you recognize even if you are not an avid wine drinker. It stands as one of the most famous white wines in the industry and remains a coveted addition to any enthusiast’s collection. There is some confusion about the origins of Pinot Grigio, however, as many believe it to be a wine of Italian origin. However, the Pinot grape originated in Burgundy, France but became one of the popular products in Italy when Pinot grapes immigrated there. However, the nature of the grape allows it to be processed in several different ways to promote new flavor profiles.
Pinot Grigio generally has a neutral flavor profile that the vintners can alter depending on the environment and refining process. In most cases, Pinot Grigio can be a sweet and dry white wine and a counter to the popular red wine, Pinot Noir. Pinot Grigio might be exactly what you want if you are looking for a dry wine.
You will be hard-pressed to find any wine drinker who does not enjoy a glass of Chardonnay. It is easily one of the most famous white wines globally as it is usually a form of champagne. Granted, the only way a bottle of Chardonnay can earn that title is if it was produced in the Champagne region of France.
Chardonnay is still a grape originating from France’s Burgundy region. This sparkling white wine is a popular choice for enthusiasts and casual enjoyers alike. One of the reasons that Chardonnay is a popular wine is that it is a dry and crisp wine that is excellent for celebrating.
The vinification of this grape can take many forms and has spread from France to Italy to the United States of America. Keep in mind that sparkling wines are not for everyone, but Chardonnay is an extremely dry wine that has more than earned its place on this list.
Riesling is another well-known and well-loved white wine that pairs wonderfully with a seafood dinner. Riesling is another German wine made from grapes native to the Rhine region. Riesling outranks the previously discussed Grüner Veltliner as the most grown grape in the country, accounting for 23% of the vineyards in Germany proper.
Riesling grapes have high acidity, making them ideal for creating dry wines. Riesling wines are some of the driest out there and are amongst the most popular dinner wines in the world. However, Riesling maintains a distinctly sweet flavor profile despite being a dry wine.
So, if you want to enjoy a wine that is both dry and able to provide a sweet flavor, investing in a bottle of Riesling is a wise move. They are not the cheapest globally, but you can save them for a special occasion since they are one of the most long-lived with proper storage.
Sémillon grapes are yet another French grape native to the Bordeaux region to produce a dry white wine of the same name. Despite originating in France, the wine is also very commonly produced in Australia since the grape was brought there in the 19th Century.
Sémillon wines are generally either dry or sweet depending on the vinification process they are subjected to. When a Sémillon grape is vinified into a dry wine in France, it is generally labeled as Bordeaux Blanc, making it difficult to locate in the United States if you are unaware of it. France also creates a sweet variant of the wine, but that is for another day.
The Australian variants are almost exclusively dry and are generally produced in the Hunter Valley region. The Sémillon wines of both France and Australia are extremely dry and can be used for any dry wine collection. However, Sémillon is far less popular than the wines already listed.
Viognier grapes hold a distinguished position in the world of French wines. To date, they remain the only grapes authorized for use in the production of Condrieu wine in the Rhône Valley. Outside of France, Viognier grapes are most vinified in New Zealand, Israel, and even the United States. The wines themselves present as a wine that will likely have a sweet profile. However, this is a misconception.
Viognier wines are dry wines despite the appearance and aroma of the liquid. While the grapes do have low acidity, they are excellent for creating dry wines and can be an ideal addition to your collection.
Even the Condrieu for which Viognier grapes are reserved can be dry. The exact vinification process determines the flavor profile, but almost all Viognier wines will have a dry profile.
Raise a Glass with Us
Wine is an amazing beverage that can take on many forms and profiles to distinguish it from bottle to bottle. Dry wines are just one of the many ways that a grape can be vinified, and white wines are easily the driest type of wine available. By taking the golden grapes used to make white wine and refining it into a dry wine, many vintners can produce bottles that are amazing additions to any existing wine collection.
However, these wines are only the tip of the iceberg, as every type of wine will have its unique traits and qualities. Knowing how to distinguish these details is merely one step in ensuring you have all the information you need to make a purchase confidently. The only trick is finding a place where this information is readily available.
We at the Wine Diarist have made it our mission to provide as much information about wine as possible. We want you to not only understand the different wines but be able to store and serve them properly (not that white wine needs decanting). If you have any concerns about your wine before you commit, visit our website, and browse our collection of postings and articles about the different parts of wine culture.
If you have a question we have not yet answered, feel free to leave a comment so we can address it with our next post. As always, we at the Wine Diarist raise a toast to your health and happiness. Cheers to you!