What Is Dry Wine?
The term "Dry wine" might sound confusing, but it's simple to explain. Both red and white wines are considered dry if they contain less than 1% sugar. In this case, we’re talking about residual, natural grape sugar. Of course, it's impossible to produce dry wine without some sugar left in the juice, the fermentation process never uses up all the sugar. However, while tasting the dry wine, you won't detect it, as all that remains are small traces.
There are exceptions as some dry wines go over the sugar limit. If there's a high level of acidity in wine, it will still taste dry.
How to Know If the Wine Is Dry or Not?
Identifying wine that is truly dry might require some effort. Manufacturers rarely list their wines as sweet or dry, encouraging buyers to determine that themselves. If you look at the label, you'll rarely find information about the sugar level. There are methods to determine if the wine is dry, however. One of the simplest is to check the alcohol content. If it's less than 11%, the chances are the wine is sweet. Low alcohol implies that the yeast didn't fully convert sugar to alcohol.
But if you aren't willing to experiment, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best dry wines you can buy. For more straightforward navigation, we’ve divided them into white and red wines.
White Dry Wines
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is a popular choice among dry wine lovers. The main characteristics are intense citrus flavors of lime, lemon, and grapefruit. It's also affordable, and that’s the case with Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. This product comes from many vineyards across New Zealand with different climates. The results are diverse and flavorful wines that are distributed around the world, including California. What makes their Sauvignon Blanc unique are flavors of herbal aromas and gooseberry.
When it comes to dry white wines, you can't go wrong with Rieslings. They have an excellent balance of crisp flavors and acidity. While they’re made around the world, the best varieties come from colder climate areas in France, Austria, or in the case of Dr. Loosen Rieslings, Germany. This producer offers the right choice of dry wines, and we recommend that you start with Loosen Bros. Dr. L Riesling, which is a popular choice as an introductory wine. There is a sparkling variety named Dr. L Sparkling Rieslings, which is offered at a very competitive price.
Lynmar Estate Chardonnay
Chardonnay is a quintessential dry white wine produced in high quantities in the United States, especially in California. Picturesque Russian River Valley has the perfect climate for producing excellent Chardonnays, and that’s where Lynmar Estate is located. Their Chardonnay has a distinctive green-gold color and contains aromas of orange zest, honeydew, wet stone, and jasmine flower. Also, there are notes of lemon-lime and Bartlett pear. While the acidity is high, the balance is consistent.
Kistler Vineyard Chardonnay
Californian Chardonnays are known for their affordability, but Kistler Vineyard is relatively expensive. The company produces its wine from Chardonnay's single clone, imported from Burgundy at the beginning of the 20th century. This isn’t the dry white wine for everyone, as it's unfiltered. That gives it an intense taste, but also an essential creaminess and acidity. We recommend it if you already a decent knowledge of Chardonnays and are willing to sample something a bit different.
J Vineyards and Winery Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris is the second most popular white wine globally and has distinctive flavors of pears and minerals. J Vineyards and Winery are best-known for their range of sparkling wines, but they also have an excellent selection of Pinot Gris. White peach, tart pineapple, lemon, and lime form a distinctive taste that has additional depth thanks to hints of jasmine. This dry wine best combines grilled chicken and fish and goes with cheeses and citrus marmalade. It will certainly inspire you to experiment!
Red Dry Wines
Montoya Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a dry red wine that can have many different taste profiles. The European producers tend to go for the higher acidity and more herbal flavors, while the rest of the world focuses on fruit flavors. Montoya Vineyards produce an excellent and affordable Cabernet Sauvignon that combines plum and black currant aromas with mocha and baking spices. This wine ages for 16 months in French Oak before it's ready for the consumers. What makes this product worth trying is its strong flavor, based on minerals and tannin content.
Valserrano Rioja Crianza
Rioja Crianza is a wine area in Spain, and what makes it distinctive is the dedication to oak aging. It's not unusual for their red wines to age for 15 years or more years before they’re released. As such, Rioja wines are part of traditional Spanish cuisine. Valserrano Rioja Crianza ages for 18 months, in American and French casks, giving it the recognizable aroma of toasted oak. This wine should be served after being decanted for about an hour. Only then can you thoroughly enjoy its acidic notes of raspberries and dark cherries.
Sextant Cabernet Sauvignon Paso
There are so many different flavors in Sextant Cabernet Sauvignon Paso that it's a fun experience trying to recognize them all. You’ll immediately notice cranberry and red plum, with hints of vanilla. Further tasting reveals the tannin structure that’s rounded by eucalyptus. Every time you taste this dry red wine, you’ll discover something new. The other feature that makes it a popular choice is that the palate and nose are balanced almost perfectly. Despite its fine reputation, this is a surprisingly affordable product, which gives you another reason to give it a try.
Line Shack Cabernet Sauvignon
Line Shack Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the San Antonio Valley of Monterey in California. All of their vineyards are located at least 1,000ft above sea level, and on soil based on clay-limestone. What you can expect from this dry red wine is a rich taste, with flavors such as currants, black cherry, and licorice, with notable aromas of leather, violets, vanilla, and mocha. It’s aged for at least nine months before being introduced to customers. This is what you may call a typical Californian wine, and the Line Shack recommends pairing it with lamb, prime rib, or eggplant Parmesan. Again, this is a very affordable wine that you shouldn’t hesitate to sample.
Dry Wine for Everyone
All the wines we presented today are of excellent quality, and most are competitively priced and produced in California. Of course, you’ll make the final decision based on your preferences. Whatever your choice may be, this selection of dry wines represents what they’re all about.