White wine lovers are often divided between those who love dry white wine and those who prefer a little sweetness in their glass.
But every wine has a place at the table and with so many varieties of grapes and methods of producing white wines it can be hard to choose between them.
We have looked at some of the world’s best white wines to discover the 14 driest white wines for you to taste.
Some you will have heard of, others perhaps not, but they are all worthy of being tasted at least once.
Muscadet wine is a French white wine which is made near the city of Nantes in the Pays de la Loire region.
It’s made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape which is often simply referred to as melon, and it is the only variety of grape used for making Muscadet.
This wine is light bodied and has very little residual sugar with the AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) stating that it shouldn’t have more than 5 grams of sugar per liter.
Typically, the foods served with a Muscadet are seafood due to it being grown in proximity to the coast.
It has been referred to as the perfect oyster wine. Its moderate level of alcohol means it has a light, crispy taste which works well with rich dishes.
The majority of Muscadets should be consumed within three years, although some have the potential to be aged for up to 10 years.
Chablis is in the Burgundy region of France and the cool climate there produces wines which are dry, less fruity and with more acidity than those from warmer climates.
It is made using only the Chardonnay grape and has a reputation for a purity of taste and aroma.
Most Chablis is vinified in stainless steel tanks rather than oak barrels.
The amount of barrel maturing varies among the different producers, with Grand Cru and Premier Cru more likely to be fermented and matured in oak barrels.
The clean, pure taste of a Chablis is often ascribed to the simple method of winemaking employed to produce it.
It has a greenish-yellow color, an excellent clarity and an acidity akin to green apples. Although the acidity may mellow with age.
Young Chablis goes well with seafood, charcuterie and cheesy nibbles while a Premier Cru pairs with vegetable based soups and creamy sauce dishes.
Assyrtiko is a Greek wine made from the grape of the same name and which comes from the island of Santorini.
The island has soil which is rich in volcanic ash and here some vine plantations still exist which are over 70 years old.
The wine produced from Assyrtiko grapes are mainly dry white wines of which some are aged in oak barrels.
Others are sweet wines made from sun dried grapes. It is often blended with other grape varieties such as Aidani and Athiri.
Due to the hot, dry and windy conditions on Santorini the growers have trained the vines to grow into circular ‘baskets’ which protect the grapes from the strong winds.
One of the most popular wines made from Assyrtiko is PDO Santorini.
The acidity of the wine makes it a good match for Greek dishes such as grilled halloumi, or seafood such as shellfish and particularly, oysters.
Albariño is a wine made from the grape of the same name and which grows in regions of Portugal and Spain.
In northwest Portugal this grape is called Alvarinho while the name Albariño is used in Galicia, northwest Spain.
The wine has a botanical aroma with citrus undertones and is an unusually light wine. Generally it is high in acidity with hints of salinity and alcohol levels that don’t typically rise above 12.5%.
Foods that go well with Albariño include light meats and seafood. A seafood risotto, clams or oysters are excellent choices to complement this wine.
It also pairs well with cheese including salty feta or try it with Spanish tapas including caprese or grilled peppers.
Vines of the Albariño grape are among some of the oldest in the world with some exceeding 300 years of age.
This wine is typically not aged in oak barrels and is prized for its freshness.
Vinho Verde translates to ‘green wine’ in Portuguese. It originates from the Minho province in the far north of Portugal.
Unlike many wines, the name Vinho Verde does not refer to the grape variety or the region from which it comes.
Instead the name refers to the production of the wine. Green wine also means young wine and indicates a wine that is released between three and six months after the grapes are harvested.
White Vinho Verde is fresh as a result of its natural acidity. Many have floral or fruity aromas, but this depends on the grape variety used in the wine’s production.
There are twelve permitted varieties of white grape used in making white Vinho Verde.
Foods that go well with this wine include ceviche, fish tacos, teriyaki bowls and many light sweet and sour dishes. It has a light body and up to 11.5% alcohol.
Soave is a dry white wine from the Veneto region of northeast Italy, in particular around the city of Verona. Only white wine is produced in this region, and they must contain a minimum of 70% Garganega grape.
The remaining 30% can be made up of Chardonnay, Pinot Blanco or Trebbiano di Soave. Most Soave is dry, but there are sparkling styles permitted too.
The terroir of a Soave wine is complex with a mix of volcanic and limestone rock and mists from the Po Valley.
Soave is a light bodied wine which has fresh, fruity notes and a straw color. It has flavors of citrus zest, peach and melon with a note of saltiness.
This is a wine that improves with age, preferably for around five years when it can develop flavors of honey, marmalade and fennel.
It goes well with rich seafood, risotto, gnocchi or clams.
Italian Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is a dry wine made from the grape of the same name, with a light body and aromas of apricot, peach, lemon and lime.
You may also find notes of honeysuckle, and almonds. It has a medium to high acidity which keeps the wine from becoming too sweet.
Italian Pinot Grigio is low in tannins which gives it a leaner body while the same grape from Alsace can often have a fuller and richer body.
The wine has a smooth, silk like texture which leaves an impression on the palate.
This wine pairs very well with seafood including ceviche and sushi but also with pasta dishes, cheese or a fresh salad.
With its high acidity you should avoid serving it with acidic foods such as tomatoes or dishes with citrus fruits.
Pinot Grigio is one of the most popular wines in America, and you’ll find a variety of options to meet your requirements.
The Sémillon grape is native to the Bordeaux region of France and was known as Sémillon de Saint-Émilion, a commune in the Gironde department.
It was once upon a time considered the most planted grape in the world, but not any longer.
It is a golden skinned grape which is used to produce dry and sweet white wines, both in France and Australia where it arrived in the early 19th century.
Sémillon is also widely grown in South Africa, but there it goes by the name Wyndruif, meaning wine grape.
In Bordeaux, Sémillon is blended with Sauvignon blanc and Muscadelle. As a dry wine it is called a Bordeaux blanc, but it can be grown in other regions too.
The flavors in a Sémillon depend on the climates the grapes are grown in, with differences between hot and cool regions.
Hot climate variations have peach, papaya and mango flavors white cool climate Sémillon can taste more citrusy and acidic.
The Sauvignon Blanc grape is indigenous to South West France, hence its name which most likely originates from ‘wild’ and ‘white’.
These grapes produce a crisp, dry wine, although the grape is also used in dessert wines like Sauternes.
Depending on the climate it is grown in, the Sauvignon Blanc can give differing flavors.
The grape is cultivated in many areas around the world including Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and of course, in France.
In cool climates, the wine will be noticeably acidic and have ‘green’ flavors such as nettles, grass and green bell peppers with some fruit and floral notes.
From warmer climates it may have more tropical flavors but can lose aroma from over ripeness.
This wine works well with herb driven cuisine such as Vietnamese and Thai but also with chèvre or feta cheese, tofu or some fish dishes.
The Verdejo grape has been grown in the Rueda region of Spain since the 11th century. It was typically used to produce a strongly oxidized wine that resembled sherry.
The grape had almost become extinct by the mid 20th century but was rescued by a local winegrower.
Wines which are designated Rueda Verdejo must contain 85% to 100% Verdejo grapes.
The grapes are typically harvested at night which means they go into the cellar at a lower temperature which means less oxidation.
Verdejo wines are light bodied, dry white wines with a pale straw color and medium high acidity.
It has flavors of lime, lemon, fennel and grapefruit. It is often likened to a Sauvignon Blanc. When aged it acquires a rich texture and flavors of almonds.
Enjoy Verdejo with chicken, fish, pork, tofu, cheese, vegetables and spicy foods. Its high acidity makes it an excellent palate cleanser.
Chenin Blanc is a white grape variety from the Loire Valley region of France.
It has high acidity and is used to make everything from sparkling to dessert wines. The grape is also widely planted in South Africa where it was called Steen.
The grape has a neutral flavor and so allows the terroir and vintage variation to be expressed as well as the treatment by the winemaker.
As a dry wine the Anjou AOC are a good expression of the Chenin Blanc grape with flavors of apples and quince.
With a high sensitivity to noble rot the Chenin Blanc grape is capable of producing a unique style of wine.
It develops more layers and depth but with overtly floral notes. It’s also sensitive to early harvesting, when picked too soon the grapes produce an unpleasant wine.
Dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire has notes of chalky minerals, apples and greengage.
The Vermentino grape grows primarily in Sardinia and Liguria regions of Italy but is also planted in Corsica and more recently in the Languedoc-Roussillon area of France.
The grapes are amber yellow and form pyramid shaped bunches on the vine.
Typically the vines are grown on sea facing slopes to benefit from the additional reflected light. The grape is known by many other names and is grown in the United States, Argentina and Lebanon.
It has a light bodied character, but it is also quite complex with a subtle bitterness on the finish. Vermentino is dry with flavors of citrus, grapefruit and a touch of saltiness. The finish can be reminiscent of grapefruit pith.
Due to its slight bitterness, Vermentino pairs well with dishes which are herby and spicy.
It works well with halibut and meats such as pork sausage. Although you probably shouldn’t serve it with dishes which are tart or pickled.
Grüner Veltliner is probably Austria’s most significant white wine made from the grape of the same name.
It represents around a third of the vineyards planted in Austria, but it can now also be found in Slovakia, Hungary, Northern Italy and California.
The wine has bright citrus notes, mostly lemon and lime but also grapefruit on occasion and a core of minerality. There are suggestions of peppercorn, and herbs and some people detect warm stones or lentils.
Fans of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio will appreciate its citrus notes and energetic texture. It pairs well with a wide range of dishes including light fish and seafood, vegetables and fried foods.
In the right location, a Grüner Veltliner can produce a great aged wine. As it ages it develops a sense of nuttiness and this works well with caramelized foods.
Chardonnay is named for the grape that it is produced from which originated in the Burgundy region. It is thought that the village of Chardonnay and its surrounding regions are the origin of this grape variety.
The grape is neutral, and the flavors associated with Chardonnay wine come from the terroir and the fermentation and maturation process.
It has been adopted in many other countries such as South Africa, New Zealand and is widely grown in North America.
As a very malleable and adaptable grape, Chardonnay takes on the flavors of its terroir, so there is no one stand out characteristic of this wine.
It can be paired with a variety of dishes and goes particularly well with chicken, and other white meats.
While it suffered from some stereotyping in the 1990s the wine is still very popular today and enjoyed the world over.
It’s impossible to cover all the potentially great dry white wines out there, but we hope that this dive into some of the driest white wines has given you a taste of what’s available.
Whether you are sticking to your favorite or willing to give a new wine the benefit of the doubt, we hope that you have enjoyed our guide to the 14 driest white wines.
Life is about experiencing new things, so we hope we’ve found something new for you.
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