General Chat

Snooth User: grantaireofjc

Dry Whites....

Posted by grantaireofjc, May 25, 2011.

I am looking for some suggestions on purchasing dry white wines.  While I like Gruner Veltliners, my date is always looking for what she calls a "viciously dry white."  Any and all recommendations will be researched.  Thanks and enjoy your wines!

Replies

254
491
Reply by duncan 906, May 25, 2011.

Muscadet is a very seriouisly dry white

0
9
Reply by grantaireofjc, May 25, 2011.

Thanks! I will check it out.

254
491
Reply by duncan 906, May 26, 2011.

Muscadet is from the mouth of the Loire Valley in France and goes well chilled with oysters or fish.The better bottles say Muscadet de Sevre sur Lie on the label

0
9
Reply by grantaireofjc, May 27, 2011.

Found numerous options in the Muscadet with prices ranging from $3.00 to $39.00 a bottle.  I did notice the Loire Valley in most descriptions and will look to reduce my options by  looking for "de Sevre sur Lie" as well.  Thanks again.  

0
9
Reply by grantaireofjc, May 27, 2011.

I ordered two bottles of Delhommeau 2009 Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Harmonie which has a RP rating of 91.  It's a good start.  Thank you Duncan.

0
3
Reply by elvinesque, May 27, 2011.

Try Greek Assyrtiko. Bone dry, citrusy. Low alcohol. Very affordable too. 

8
549
Reply by Girl Drink Drunk, May 27, 2011.

I dig the Italian whites: Gavi, Falanghina, Friulano, Grechetto, Trebbiano, Vermentino, Vernaccia, Arneis, Greco, etc.  Basically, AbPG (Anything but Pinot Grigio).

They, in general, are all dry, with solid acid and low, if any, oak.

4
23
Reply by njhic, May 27, 2011.

Chablis can be viciously dry. Also, does she like Sauvignon Blanc (may be one from Marlborough)?

9
8
Reply by courgette, May 27, 2011.

In the past few years, I've found I crave a lot of acidity in my whites. I love Pewsey Vale's Dry Riesling (Australia), described by a brilliant wine "dude" at Zipp's in Minneapolis as "an acid bomb"-- it is! All the glorious fragrance of riesling, in an austere style. 

0
9
Reply by grantaireofjc, May 27, 2011.

Thanks to all!  Elvenisque, I never gave a thought to Greek (shame on me) but will look into it.  Girl Drink, thanks for the Italian representation, I have a lot of options here.  Njhic, she thought Chablis was sweet.  When she said she was looking for a "viciously dry white" I was a bit lost. Courgette, I will be looking into Pewsey Vale's as well.  

9
8
Reply by courgette, May 27, 2011.

Make sure it's actual FRENCH Chablis-- she's probably thinking of what Gallo et al used to call Chablis in the 70s, which WAS sweet!

Speaking of France, Sancerre is unbeatable for dry, crisp excellence. 

Entry-level Chablis and Sancerre will run you around $20. 

9
8
Reply by courgette, May 27, 2011.

One last thought (from me): Dry Creek's Chenin Blanc. Bone dry, lip-smacking goodness, totally reliable year to year, and often around $10!

0
9
Reply by grantaireofjc, May 27, 2011.

Courgette, I'm sure her experience in Chablis was of the Gallo kind, so I will check out the French options.  I do drink and like Chenin Blancs, and will check out Dry Creek. Thank you.

0
2682
Reply by gregt, May 28, 2011.
Edited May 28, 2011

grantair - Chablis is of course Chardonnay, so no need to limit yourself to Chablis, which may or may not be "dry".  And that's the issue. 

"Dry" just means that you have practicaly no residual sugar left in the juice - in other words, the sugar has been almost completely converted to alcohol.  If you have little or no sugar and you have serious acidity, particularly if the wine didn't go through malolactic fermentation, you get a sensation of mouth-puckering acidity and that's usually defined as "dry". 

The problem is that the chemistry and your taste don't always agree.  So you can have wine that's got almost no sugar and you may find it to seem less dry than another wine that actually has more sugar. 

For ex, let's assume that you have several wines and in each of them you have less than 2 grams/liter of residual sugar, or RS. They're all "dry".  But let's look at the other factors that determine whether the wine actually seems dry to you.

One thing is the total acidity.  One way to measure acidity is by the pH of the solution. The lower the pH, the more acidic the wine (the higher the pH, the more basic or alkaline the solution).  So let's say that wine maybe has a pH around 3.5.  By way of comparison, a lemon (lower pH) may be 2.5.  And here's our first problem.

There are different kinds of acid in the grapes and wine.

As a bad analogy - ever taste a white grapefruit and a red grapefruit?  One is bitter, the other sweet. Different acids have different effects on your palate. So if you want a real super mouth-puckering acidity in your wine, you don't let it go through malolactic fermentation, in which the malic acid (like sour green apples) gets converted to lactic acid (like yogurt).  Malic acid is harsher on your palate. If the winemaker chills the wine as a way to prevent it from going thru malolactic fermentation, it's going to retain more malic acid and it will seem really sour to your palate.  In fact, it will seem drier than the wine next to it, even tho they have identical amounts of RS.

Some of the Muscadet people have mentioned is done w/out malolactic fermentation, and it's consequently really dry and tart and seems very lean in your mouth. Let's call that wine #1. 

But maybe you don't want all that cutting acidity in your wine.  What do you do?  Several things. Once you ferment the wine, you have tiny little particles of dead yeast cells and other stuff that falls to the bottom of your tank.  Those are called "lees". If you let the wine rest on the lees for a while, it picks up some flavor and texture from them.  That's the Muscadet Sur Lie, which we'll call wine #2. It feels more creamy in the mouth and consequently doesn't feel as dry, even though it may have exactly the same amount of RS as wine 1.  Matter of fact, you can take a big wooden paddle and stir those lees from time to time.  It's what the French call bâtonage.  That can really give the wine a feeling of fatness in your mouth while it's not going to change the final sugar content. The wine will still be dry, but it won't seem as dry as the first one or even the second.  So let's call that wine #3.

Suppose you want the wine to have a real creamy big feel. You let it go through malolactic fermentation.  That can give it a buttery quality (lactic acid = milk) and the wine can feel really fat in your mouth.  Often people think  they're tasting oak, but usually they're wrong.  That wine can have exactly the same RS as the first one, and might have the same pH, but it will seem much milder to you and much bigger in the mouth, because different acids strike us differently.  For ex, malic acid has a bitterness that lactic acid lacks.  Let's call that #4.

You could go even farther.  You could ferment the wine in barrels, which gives it a completely different texture. Let's call that wine #5.  Or once fermentation is complete, you could put it into new barrels and leave it for a while. That wine will pick up flavors from the barrels - toasted marshmallow, caramel, etc., and it will coat your mouth in a way that the original young Muscadet never will. That's actually Chablis.  Let's call that wine #6. 

All of those wines may have the exact same amount of RS and maybe even the same pH, but they're all going to taste dramatically different and more important, they're going to feel dramatically different in your mouth - some will feel more or less "dry" to you. Depending on which things you do, you come up with a wine that's dry but that the drinker, or your girlfriend, may not think is really dry.

Kendal Jackson made wine with a little more RS and full malolactic fermentation and barrel flavors that's what became the image of Chardonnay in the US.  It's not bad and some wine like that can be very deliciouls but it's not the only kind of CHardonnay you can get. And even w no real RS at all, you get very different types of wine depending on what you do in your winemaking.

Now let's add another variable.  The grape.

The grape for Muscadet - Melon de Bourgogne, is on it's own, pretty insipid.  Historically it was just fermented into alcohol - eau de vie.  Chardonnay is related and it's much the same - it really hasn't much personality on it's own.  For those reasons, people do all the above things to it - all to give it texture and flavor it doesn't have on its own and as a result you get wildly different types of Chardonnay, depending on who made the wine and what they did. That's not to say any of those things are bad, and in fact, I like Muscadet, it's just that those things affect what you experience as the essence of the grape.

Chenin Blanc on the other hand, has a bit of a flavor on its own - a bit of a grassy, straw-like quality.  But that's also attenuated by what the winemaker does.  And even if we say the wine is legally "dry" -  all other things being equal, you can tell the dif on your palate between a wine that's got 2.3% RS and 1% RS, even tho both are called "dry".

Now take a grape like Riesling. It's got very distinctive aromas and flavors.  Even if you make it bone-dry, the fruity quality may make a drinker experience what he feels is a sweetness.  We correlate fruity with sweetness, so even if we have almost no RS and we have a super-low pH, we may feel like the wine isn't all that dry even tho it's exactly as "dry" as wine #1. That's not unique to Riesling, which in fact often has a lot of RS. The point is only that wines that have a really fruity profile, unlike Chardonnay or Melon, can be perceived as less dry than another wine simply because our mind associates the fruit with sugar that isn't really there.

When the grape has lots of malic acid and it's very lean because it hasn't been on the lees or thru malo or been in wood, people talk about "minerality" and pretend they can taste "minerals", which is when I stop listening because it generally indicates zero clue.

In your case, look for wine that has not gone thru malo, has no oak, and no lees stirring.

So now that you know all that - happy hunting!

 

20
6009
Reply by dmcker, May 28, 2011.

Good explanation, Greg, as usual.

So, Grant, I hope it's clear now how you may also have to look for wines that are less fruity, with no malolactic fermentation, and perhaps have higher acidity. Trying all the options, of course, is an excellent excuse for tasting many different wines!

Greg, I assume you meant 'distilled' into alcohol and thus eau de vie.  ;-)

0
2682
Reply by gregt, May 28, 2011.

Si senor.  Good catch.  I was drinking a Chardonnay while I wrote that.

0
9
Reply by grantaireofjc, May 29, 2011.

GregT, thank you for the explanation!  I now have a better idea of what to investigate.  Being new to most of the wines listed already, I have my work cut out for me, but with your explanation, I now understand better what she's trying to find.  

27
1257
Reply by Stephen Harvey, May 29, 2011.

Grant

Certainly a great tome by Greg and good stuff to follow.

On Courgette's reco re Pewsey Vale, it is made by good friends of mine and is an excellent Eden Valley [next door to Barossa Valley in SA] Riesling.  The 2010 is drinking excellently.

I would also recommend its big Brother Pewsey Vale Contours Riesling which is relaeased as a 5 yewar old wine and whilst about $10 bottle dearer is IMHO worth the extra few dollars.

If you like the Pewsey Style I can recommend many other Aussie Rieslings for you to try

0
9
Reply by grantaireofjc, May 30, 2011.

Stephen, thanks.   And I will probably get back to you about  more Aussie Rieslings. 

0
9
Reply by grantaireofjc, Jun 2, 2011.

The Muscadet arrived today, and I have orders place for Terredora 2009 Greco di Tufo, Pewswy Vale 2010 Eden Valley Reisling, and Dry Creek 2009 Dry Chenin Blanc.  Thanks again to all for the recommendations.  


Back to Categories

Top Contributors This Month

125836 Snooth User: dmcker
125836dmcker
80 posts
847804 Snooth User: EMark
847804EMark
62 posts
1498622 Snooth User: Really Big Al
1498622Really Big Al
52 posts

Categories

View All





Snooth Media Network