Many people enjoy drinking white wine. Selecting the "best," however, is a subjective judgment dependent on many factors including personal taste and budget. Certain wines, however, are consistently good and people with a wide variety of palates find them enjoyable.
Popular Types of Dry White Wine
Dry white wines are not just for beginning wine drinkers. Some of the most celebrated wines in the world are dry whites. A dry white is a wine with residual sugar lower than 1 percent. This may include many varietals, including Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio), Viognier, and many others.
Many sommeliers enjoy Riesling for its crisp flavors, acidity, and balance. While many Rieslings are sweet, you can find plenty of dry varieties from around the world. These wines are best from cool climate areas such as Claire Valley Australia, Austria, the Alsace region of France, and Germany. The nose of the glass on these wines delivers notes of petrol, lemon, minerality, and citrus aromas. If you're looking for a dry Riesling, make sure it says "Kabinett" to signify dry.
Try the following Rieslings, which are consistently good.
- Dr. Loosen, Germany: There are many different types of Rieslings this producer offers, but they are all very good.
- Joh. Jos. Prüm, Germany: This family has been making Riesling for a very long time, and again, the entire lineup is very good.
- Domaine Weinbach, Alsace, France: Alsatian Rieslings like this one are crisp with floral notes.
Sauvignon Blanc is a wine many white wine lovers enjoy for its affordability and citrus flavors of grapefruit, lemons, and lime. Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand also has notes of spice and gooseberries. This is a great summer wine.
Try these consistently good Sauvignon Blancs.
- Geyser Peak Winery, California: Sauvignon Blanc from this award-winning winery are very acidic, with flavors of zesty lemon and grapefruit.
- Kim Crawford, New Zealand: These NZ wines show more of the fresh gooseberry and intense citrus and herbal aromas.
Also called Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris is the second best selling white wine in the world. The grape is related to related to Pinot Noir, and it produces a medium bodied white wine with flavors of mineral and pears.
Looking for quality Pinot Gris to try?
- J Vineyards and Winery, California: Although this winery is known for its sparkling wine, they make a wonderful Pinot Gris.
- King Estate Winery, Oregon: One of the largest producers up in Oregon makes a wonderful Pinot Gris. It's lean and dry with an earthy tone.
The most popular white wine is Chardonnay; it is the most planted and produced white wine varietal in the United States. With so many styles and types to choose from, it's easy to find a Chardonnay that pleases your palate. Those Chardonnays aged in oak are toasty and buttery. Unoaked Chardonnays are aged in stainless steel vats, and create a lighter, fruitier style. White Burgundy is made from Chardonnay, and many of the bottles from the Burgundy region of France are quite expensive, selling for more than $1,000 per bottle. American Chardonnay tends to be creamy, showing baked apple and spice through the nose to the palate. White Burgundies tend to have more minerality and leaner acidity, so frequently it takes years of aging to be able to open the wine and enjoy.
These are some consistently good Chardonnays.
- Lynmar Estate, Russian River: This producer is in the heart of the Russian River Valley in California, a great climate for Chardonnay. This wine shows notes of lemon curd and meringue. The acidity is high, but it's not too oaky, so it balances well.
- Rombauer Vineyards, Napa, California: This always popular Chardonnay is a nice expression of the grape coming from Napa. Baked apple and vanilla make this a great easy drinker.
- Kistler Vineyard, California: This producer does not make Chardonnay for the faint of heart. They are highly sought after, and fairly expensive. The wine is unrefined and unfiltered, so it's intense. The wine is powerful, but it has the acidity and creaminess to make it very satisfying. If you are a Chardonnay fan, you should splurge and try this one time.
- Vincent Girardin, France: This producer has been making great wines for a long time. They offer many levels of Chardonnay from village wine up to Grand Cru. If you are new to French wine, try something in the $20-$40 price range first. Then, you can go on and try Premier Cru and Premier Grand Cru if you'd like to splurge.
Here is a quick reference list to some of the best dry white wines not listed above:
- Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc Reserva
- d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab Marsanne/Viognier
- Mirassou Pinot Grigio
- Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve Chardonnay
- Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc
- Cousino Macul Antiguas Reservas Chardonnay
- Elk Cove Pinot Gris
- Chateau St. Jean Fume Blanc
- Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc
- Voss Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
- St. Clair Vicar's Choice Sauvignon Blanc
- Yalumba Y Series Viognier
- Kunde Estate Magnolia Sauvignon Blanc
Discover Your Favorite White Wine
There are more, and even highly obscure whites that can be added to your tasting such as Viognier, Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer to name but a few. One of the best ways to discover new wines is to ask your local wine shop owners. Most wine shop proprietors are very passionate about wine and happy to make a suggestion.