Of the many adjectives used to describe wine, “dry” is perhaps the most misused and misunderstood.
To those unfamiliar with the wine world, hearing a wine described as dry would be a little confusing. How could a liquid be dry?
But the word “dry” here doesn’t refer to texture. It’s not a sensory descriptor.
Rather, it refers to how much sugar is in the wine. A dry wine contains no residual sugar, so it doesn’t taste sweet.
Its sugar content is around 4 grams per liter, amounting to less than 1% of the whole bottle.
But how can a wine end up with no residual sugar when it’s made of grapes that contain sugars? Here’s the science behind it.
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How is dry wine made?
The handling of yeast in the fermentation process is responsible for how sweet or dry a wine is.
The role of yeast is to break down the sugars in the grape juice. Depending on the winemaker, the duration of the fermentation process may differ.
When fermentation doesn’t take too long, it means yeast doesn’t have enough time to process all the sugars in the wine, leaving a lot of residual sugar that ends up sweetening the wine.
However, when a wine is fermented completely, the yeast has a lot of time to break down the sugars in the wine, leaving the finished product stripped of residual sugars and therefore not sweet, also known as dry.
Is there any relation between dry wine and alcohol content?
To answer this question, it’s important to firstly differentiate between “dry” in the context of sensation, and “dry” in the context of sugar content.
Some people associate dry wines with wines that are high in ABV. High alcohol levels may relate to a dry texture in the mouth, as alcohol does soak up moisture.
However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that dry wines–those that contain no residual sugars–always contain more alcohol.
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Is there any relation between dry wine and tannin levels?
A wine that is high in tannin will most likely dry out your mouth, leaving a bitter aftertaste.
However, that doesn’t always mean that the wine is dry, as in, low in residual sugar.
In fact, you will often come across high tannin wines that are also sweet, such as the zinfandel.
The level of tannin in a wine has no relation to the amount of residual sugar found in the wine, because tannins only affect texture.
Types of dry wine
Not a fan of sweet wines? You can check out these dry wines and see which ones you like best!
A go-to for many, chardonnay is a fruity dry wine that pairs well with rich, creamy dishes.
Its dryness balances out the decadence in any meal. Not only that, chardonnay boasts hints of vanilla and a slight char when aged in oak barrels.
Chardonnay available at minuman.com and the minuman.com Superstore:
2. Pinot Grigio
This dry wine is most commonly imported from Germany, France, Italy, and the United States.
The lightness of pinot grigio makes it pair great with seafood dishes.
It may be less fruity than chardonnay, but it still contains a lot of flavors and carries its own kind of freshness.
Pinot grigio available at minuman.com and the minuman.com Superstore:
- Grant Burge Benchmark Pinot Grigio
- Beringer Main & Vine Pinot Grigio
In the red wine category, there are also plenty of dry wines. None are as popular as the merlot, though.
It may be highly favored because it does carry some sweetness, and is lower in tannin than other red wines.
It has flavours of strawberries, watermelon, and cherries.
Merlot available at minuman.com and the minuman.com Superstore:
4. Sauvignon Blanc
For a crisp, light dry wine, your best bet is a bottle of sauvignon blanc. It’s high in acidity, and contains flavors of gooseberries and vegetation.
Sauvignon blanc is commonly found originating from South Africa, New Zealand, or Chile.
Sauvignon blanc available at minuman.com and the minuman.com Superstore: