White wines contain sugar due to the wine grapes used in fermentation. However, the sugar level varies with bottles. Dry wines usually have little to no residual sugar content. It doesn’t mean any sweetness in the wine. Instead, the tannins and alcohol content contribute to the flavour profile of such wines. Winemakers use yeast to consume all the sweetness, leaving no or minimal residual sugar. Dry white wines are intriguing because of their distinct texture and complexity. The following article on the most expert tips on choosing dry wines will enhance your knowledge.
How are Dry White Wines Made?
Grapes require fermentation to release carbon dioxide, which allows the flow of alcohol in the beverage. Winemakers use yeast for this process, which consumes the sugar in the grapes to turn it into alcohol. In general wine-making, the yeasts get extracted with residual sugar remaining in the wine. However, while making dry wines, yeasts stay for fermentation until the entire sugar level gets consumed. Thus, dry wines aren’t the ones leaving your mouth feeling dry (because all wines do so). Instead, they have little to no sugar content and thus are an excellent choice for people not wanting to indulge in sugary wine.
Features of a Good Dry White Wine
The most expert tips on choosing dry wines begin with looking at the features of good wine. A good dry white wine can get characterised by the following:
- Crisp Acidity
A good dry white wine will have crisp acidity, indicating a tart taste and high acidic levels. Sauvignon Blanc is one such dry white wine with a crisp acid taste.
Although a dry white wine is not sweet, it might have a fruit flavour.
- Alcohol Levels
The term ‘dry’ has no association with the alcohol level in the wine. Thus, it depends on the fermentation and the wine-making process.
How to Use Dry White Wine?
While dry white wines are available for drinking, people can also use them for cooking. Since these wines do not have much sweetness, they can get added to light dishes like pork, veal, chicken, soup, vegetables, shellfish, seafood, etc.
Tips To Choose Dry White Wine
Choosing an excellent dry white wine for any purpose requires considering the following factors as mentioned under the most expert tips on selecting dry wines:
- Explore the Grape Variety, Structure, and Flavours
The primary consideration in dry white wine is the grape variety that sets the basic structure and flavours. The boldness level varies, with Reisling being the lightest and Chardonnay the boldest. Beyond that, the varietal flavour profile differentiates into:
- Herbaceous wines have dominant green and herbal notes.
- Sweet and aromatic wines have higher levels of monoterpenes.
- Neutral wines taste like apple-citrus that do not fit in other categories.
- Aging and Fermentation Process
Dry white wines undergo different winemaking procedures, affecting the overall texture and complexity. It involves:
- Oak- Aging in oak enhances exposure to oxygen and brings a distinct oak flavour to the wine. Similarly, fermenting in oak brings out the white colour and affects aromatic compounds and phenolic presence.
- Malolactic fermentation- MLF occurs when white wines age in oak barrels but leaves a creamy, buttery, and oily feel in the mouth. It is not fermentation but activity by a microbe causing acid conversion.
- Aging on Lees- Lees are like small yeast bits sunk to the tank bottom. The wine-maker sticks a golf-stick thing in the barrel to stir the lees. The most expert tips on choosing dry wine mention how it adds creaminess and oiliness to the wine and produces a beer-like smell.
- Skin Contact- White wines with skin contact are for the ones with an acquired taste. Some white wines get maceration on their skin before squeezing. The grape skins contain polyphenols that make wine taste green, herbaceous, and bitter.
- Native Yeasts- White wines taste intriguing with wild yeasts. They release sweet aromatic compounds during the first four degrees. Since native yeasts slow the fermentation process, the length affects the taste. The acidity level also gets altered, and the wine may taste smoother.
Most Popular Dry White Wines
The following crisp and dry white wines from the best wine regions of the world are pretty famous:
- Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is perfect for cooking or drinking, owing to its crispiness and dryness. It has a well-balanced acidity, underlying fruity touch, and a lean and delicate herbaceous and grassy wine. California, Austria, New Zealand, Bordeaux, etc., are primary growing regions.
- Pinot Grigio
The most expert tips on choosing dry wines call Pinot Grigio one of the most popular dry wines. This wine from Alsace/ France is crisp, fruity, and light with mineral or citrus notes. The Italian version is crisp and mineral, while the French has fruity and dry flavours.
- Pinot Blanc
A genetic mutation of Pinot Noir, this white wine grape grows in Italy, Alsace, France, Austria, and German regions. The flavour profile is like Chardonnay, with apple and almond notes, zippy acidity and medium to full-bodied wine.
Generally off-dry and full-bodied, Semillon wine has honey and citrus flavours. It is a golden-skinned grape grown in South Africa, France, and Hunter Valley, Australia. Join with a Hunter Valley private wine tour to sip the best Semillion in the world.
The subtle hue of white wines has several things hidden under it- more than grape variety, the quality matters in picking the right dry white wine. Hopefully, the most expert tips on choosing dry wines helped you make a wise choice.