Most white wine is dry. When we talk about a dry white wine or the driest white wine, it is important to know that we are talking about wines with little to no residual sugar.
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What is residual sugar?
Residual sugar is a natural byproduct of the winemaking process. Without getting into too much technical detail, suffice it to say that residual sugar gives the wine a sweet taste. Depending on the level of residual sugar (usually measured by grams per litre), this can range from very very sweet to undetectable, and everything in between. There are some very popular sweet wine types like Sauternes and Tokaji, but dry white wine wins the contest, hands down.
What is the driest white wine in the world?
If you’re reading this article, let’s assume that you prefer dry white wine – or at least you are looking for the driest white wine that you can get your hands on. Once you get close to zero residual sugar, you’ve got a “dry” wine.
- A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will be fully dry, as will a Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre or Bordeaux in France. Sauvignon Blanc makes some of the direst white wine around.
- A steely Chablis, made from Chardonnay in the Burgundy region, will also be bone dry. Spanish Chardonnay too.
- There’s lots of dry white Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Albarino out there too. All of these wines will have little or no residual sugar, so will be dry. Instead of looking for the driest white wine, we recommend you try a few of the following styles and figure out for yourself what you like!
Look at this funny video and find out in a few minutes the difference between the difference withe wines:
Dry white Sauvignon Blanc
For many people, Sauvignon Blanc is the dry white wine of choice. Its mouth-watering acidity is refreshing and cleanses the palate, and it can have highly pungent aromas including the famous “cat pee” (not a bad thing in Sauvignon Blanc). Combine this with gooseberry and herbaceous flavours and it is no surprise that people love it so much.
Sauvignon Blanc from prestigious French regions will not usually be labelled according to the grape. Look out for names like Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé, two regions from the Loire Valley that make excellent dry white wines from 100% Sauvignon Blanc.
We recommend: Marqués de Riscal Sauvignon Blanc
You’ll find great, affordable dry Sauvignon Blanc everywhere, though we recommend a Spanish example such as Marqués de Riscal Sauvignon Blanc, which is a real crowd pleaser from a top notch producer.
Alcohol content: 12,5%Serve between 2ºC and 5ºCOptimal consumption period: 2016-2018The wine does not need to be decantedBest served in Sauvignon Blanc GlassPairing: Appetizers, Rice Dishes, Roasts, Seafood, Semi-mature Cheese, Whitefish
Dry white Albariño
Want something other than Sauvignon Blanc? Dry Albarino wines, particularly from Rias Baixas in Spain, are incredibly popular. This grape has exploded in popularity in recent years, and with good reason: These are some of the driest white wines on the market, and are brimming with character! In terms of aroma and flavour profile, the best examples will have a lot of herbaceous and mineral character, tingling acidity and a long fruity finish.
Sometimes we are confused and associate fruitiness in wine with sweetness, but make no mistake: Despite its bright fruit forward character, this is a fully dry white wine.
We recommend: Albariño de Fefiñanes
Try something like Albariño de Fefiñanes and see how it stacks up against a dry Sauvignon.
Alcohol content: 12,5%Serve between 2ºC and 5ºCOptimal consumption period: 2015-2017The wine does not need to be decantedBest served in Chardonnay GlassPairing: Appetizers, Rice Dishes, Roasts, Seafood, Whitefish.
Dry white Chardonnay
Chardonnay sometimes gets a bad rap, but this is unfair. Sure, there are many bad examples of Chardonnay out there, and unfortunately this has been enough to turn many wine lovers away from the grape altogether. Let’s not forget, however, that the finest dry white wines in the world come from Chardonnay. We are of course talking about fine white Burgundy.
The whites of Mersault, Puligny-Montrachet, Volnay and Pommard, to name but a few, are totally dry and seriously good wines. Expect to pay a fortune for such names, so luckily there is great dry Chardonnay from elsewhere, too!
We recommend: Enate Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2010
A Spanish example like Enate Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2010 will illustrate how barrel aging can influence a dry white, just like in Burgundy.
Alcohol content: 13,5%Serve between 6ºC and 12ºCWe recommend to decant the wine 1 hour before servingBest served in Chardonnay GlassPairing: Fish Stew, Omelets, Pasta, Soups and Creams.
There you have it. Instead of speculating about the world’s driest white wine, you know now that many of your favourite whites are equally dry. The fun part comes now, when you get to try all the different grapes and styles in order to figure out what your favourite dry white wine really is!
Tell us your favourite dry white wine, and why you like it so much!