What Is Dry Wine? (Full Guide Inside)


Wine lovers around the world enjoy different kinds of wine. However, in most cases, it comes down to four categories; your whites versus your reds and your sweets versus your dry. Each category appeals to a different taste pallet and sometimes meal pairings. Simply, it all boils down to preference. But do you know what makes a wine ‘dry’?

In this article, we explore the world of the dry wine, a wine the world has collectively come together and recognized as sophisticated.

What is a Dry Wine?

From a technical point of view, it is simply a wine with less than 10 grams of sugar in every liter. A winemaker will, during fermentation, allow the yeast to eat out all the sugar, leaving very low levels of residual sugar. This means that in a dry wine, that hint of sweetness will be absent, but you get to enjoy a full range of other flavors that you would probably miss out on in a sweet wine.

Getting it Wrong?

A common mistake wine drinkers make is labeling a wine “dry” from the sensory reactions they get from it. A drying sensation does not mean that you are drinking dry wine; it could simply mean that there are high levels of tannins in the wine you are drinking. Dry wine is a phrase that should only refer to wine that lacks the sweet taste.

That’s not all in the world of common mistakes. We have scenarios where people consider wine with higher alcohol content dry wine. This comes from the sensation they get when they taste the alcohol flavors in the wine, which appear “dry”. This only happens because in most cases, the flavors from the wine have been overwhelmed by the higher alcoholic content. However, if checked, the level of sugar residue in the wine is above what is considered ideal for a dry wine.

There are two terms that might get you confused; fruity and sweet. This is another misconception that some wine drinkers tend to have.  It is important to note that these two are not substitutes of each other. Just because a wine is not sweet does not mean it is not fruity. If you take time to savor every sip from your favorite dry wine, you will realize that while the sweetness is absent, there are many other unique characteristics in the wine.

When defining a dry wine, the only ideal you need to consider is the residual sugar. Once you are done defining it, the next step is to enjoy your dry wine!

Before we dive into the types of dry wines, here’s our guide on the Most Popular Sweet Wines— to help balance out the dry tastes you’re going to want to indulge in.

Dry Whites

Dry white wines are among the most common among drinkers. They include classics like;

  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Chardonnay
  • Muscadet
  • Pinot Gris
  • Pinot Blanc

They come with crisp flavors and are easy to pair. For instance, dry white wines, like the Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris, are perfectly paired with roasted vegetables, fish and even fresh salads. Their light flavored characteristics do not overwhelm the tongue and rob you the pleasure of enjoying any accompaniments. They are a perfect for all seasons, so you will never have to check the weather to decide whether or not you want to enjoy your dry white.

Take a look at How Long Does White Wine Last, with our article here.

Dry Reds

A dry red wine speaks complexity, and not only just in appearance but also in the flavors it carries. With most dry red wines, you can pick up tannings, dark cherry and sometimes tobacco in their flavor, personality and aroma.  Some of the most popular dry reds in the world are;

  • Carbanet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir
  • Bordeaux
  • Shiraz

The intensity and complexity of their flavors means you should pick a dry red when you want to enjoy your roast meats and spicy foods. However, this does not mean that you cannot enjoy your dry red without a food pairing! The dry red is a good drink you can have on a warm afternoon or on a cold evening while catching up on a book you’ve been neglecting.

Speaking of books… We wanted to share that post is sponsored by Amazon Audible! They are offering all of our Wine on My Time community an exclusive offer of 2 FREE Ebooks when signing up for a free trial! You can sign up for a free trial here!

Take Time to Acknowledge Your Preferences

Remember to experiment with the different wines available as you appreciate each of their flavors and characteristics. Try them with different food pairings, try them out in different recipes but most importantly, savor and enjoy each moment. To bring out those hidden aromas and flavors, just be sure to give your wine a gentle twirl from time to time. It’s not only people in the movies that are allowed to do that, and they don’t do it just for show!

Now that you have the tools and knowledge to properly diagnose dry wines, aren’t you excited to go taste some?!

Drop a comment down below and let us know your favorite dry wines are! You can’t go wrong with a nice glass of Chardonnay, if you ask us.

Let’s continue the wine conversation… Learn about what the Best Wines for Cooking are, How to Recork Wine Like a Pro, and Where to Buy Wine Yeast.

Bottoms up, we’ll uncork ya later! ?

Wine on My Time is a resource blog for wine lovers all across the world! We take pride in delivering the best quality wine material for our readers. Check us out on Instagram and Pinterest for daily wine content!

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