Finding the driest white wine to enjoy at home or a restaurant is easy when you know a few fundamental points. You don’t need to become an expert in the fermentation process or measure grams of sugar. You need to know a few principles of dry wine and how to find drier wines. With these insights, you can impress your fellow wine lovers and enjoy this type of wine further.
What Beginner Wine Drinkers Need To Know
Beginner wine drinkers are sometimes unsure about the driest white wines. Before recommending specific white grape varieties, there are some other quick points we need to cover.
- What Does It Mean If A Wine Is Dry?
Since a wine is a beverage, it may sound a bit strange to describe liquid as dry. If that description sounds odd to you, you are not alone. However, it is a widely used convention in the wine world. Dry wines tend to have low residual sugar. That means that other aspects of the wine’s taste, like floral notes or citrus notes, are easier to detect. You don’t want zero residual sugar, though, because other aspects of the wine, like acidity and alcohol, might become overwhelming. Some people consider drier wines to be acidic wines because the acid is hard to miss.
- What Does It Mean If A Wine Is Sweet?
In contrast to the dry style, the sweet style of wine means a higher level of sugar. Overall, the sweet style of wine is less popular today than it was centuries ago. To find a truly sweet wine, you need to ask for dessert wines in the wine shop. To try sweet wines, I recommend ice wine from Canada. A higher sugar content generally means more calories, so keep that in mind when selecting wine. Overall, having a slight sweetness from natural sugars is a generally a brilliant idea.
It is a common misconception that dry wines have no sugar at all. There is a natural amount of residual sugar in all wines. The closest you can get to a glass of wine without sugar would be called “bone dry,” and some dry wine lovers enjoy that style of wine. For simplicity, we are going to focus on still wines. If you are looking for an introduction to sparkling wines, look at the following post: Prosecco vs Champagne.
The Driest White Wine: Top 4 Options
The following white wine grapes produce some of the driest white wine in the world. Find your way around these bottles of wine with this short introduction.
1) Sauvignon Blanc
- Top Wine Producing Countries: USA (26% of production), New Zealand (23% of production), and France (22% of production)
- Flavor Profiles. The flavor profiles of Sauvignon Blanc vary depending on location. New Zealand is known for producing a relatively high acidity version made without oak barrels. In terms of fruity flavors, the wine is associated with passionfruit and gooseberries
- Food Pairings: Goat Cheese is a classic food pairing. In addition, the dry wine goes well with fresh greens, oysters, and herbal spices.
In France, the best wine region to find Sauvignon Blanc is the Loire Valley region. That said, French wine bottles usually do not list the white wine grapes that go into the wine. Instead, you need to know that some geographic regions specialize in certain types of grapes. Find out more about the delights of French white wines covering Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and other white wine grapes.
2) Pinot Grigio
No guide to drier wines would be complete without covering Pinot Grigio. Some people consider Pinot Grigio to be a bad wine. That’s unfortunate because Pinot Grigio can be made well in many wine regions. Avoid the lowest-priced wine, and you will find it easier to find a more excellent bottle.
- Top Wine Producing Countries: Italy (59% of production), USA (32% of production), and Australia (6% of production)
- Flavor Profiles. In many cases, the flavor profiles of Pinot Grigio include lime, pear, and green apple. Since the wine has relatively high acidity, it is usually considered sweeter than Chardonnay.
- Food Pairings. Like Sauvignon Blanc, you want to emphasize light food pairings. For example, salads, seafood, and light pasta dishes work well.
Deepen your understanding of the wine taste by comparing a Pinot Grigio from Italy to the USA. Drinking wine from different regions is one of the best ways to plan a wine tasting at home.
3) Chenin Blanc
Among white wine varieties, Chenin Blanc is somewhat less well known than some other grapes. To become a resident wine expert in your home, understanding this dry wine is recommended.
- Top Wine Producing Countries: France (63% of production), South Africa (28% of production), and the USA (6% of production). These figures are courtesy of the information Chenin Blanc grape profile provided by Wine-Searcher.
- Flavor Profiles. The classic Chenin Blanc includes flavors of apple. You may also notice floral notes. Expect to enjoy some good acidic flavors as well.
- Food Pairings. A bottle of Chenin Blanc goes well with spicy foods. Further, you can also enjoy this white wine with white meats like chicken and pork. For vegetable pairings, the wine goes well with cabbage and cauliflower.
In France, the best place to find Chenin Blanc is the Loire Valley in the western part of the country. It is important to note that Chenin Blanc is not always made as a dry wine. If you are visiting a wine shop, ask for expert advice before buying. For example, ask the wine shop expert where they would place this bottle of wine in a wine sweetness chart.
4) Gruner Veltliner
Gruner Veltliner is the most famous white wine grape produced in Austria. This blog has not covered Austrian wine in much detail in the past. However, these wines are well explored! Remember an essential rule of wine value – less well-known wines often offer tremendous value for the price you pay. If you mainly drink French or Italian-style wines, it is well worth trying an Austrian wine now and then.
- Top Wine Producing Countries: Austria (94% of production), Italy (1% of production), and the USA (1% of production).
- Flavor Profiles. Most Gruner Veltliner wine has citrus flavors like grapefruit and lemon. You can also enjoy the herb flavors in the wine.
- Food Pairings. Ask a wine enthusiast, and they will tell you to drink this famous Austrian white wine with Asian dishes, especially Vietnamese food. In addition, the wine goes well with fish and chips and several kinds of cheese, including goat cheese.
When you visit wine shops, don’t limit yourself to the list of the driest white wine bottles listed above. You might find other white grape varieties from your region that few people know about. That means you are likely to find wines that Wine Enthusiast and other wine experts have not discovered. It can take trial and error to discover the next great driest white wine, but that is part of the fun. Of course, you can also save time when searching for a dry white and buy an expensive bottle with a good reputation.
Learn More About White Wines
The dry white wines covered in this post are just the start of your wine journey. Excite your taste buds by trying fuller whites like Chardonnay. To learn more, read this overview on Chardonnay Vs Sauvignon Blanc. In addition, you might want to learn about unoaked Chardonnay – a white wine style that shows Chardonnay can shine without buttery flavors. There is a whole world of white wine types, so there is plenty more to discover.