Can anyone recommend some very dry white wines (available in the UK)? I have found I don't even like medium or semisweet white wine - they're okay and drinkable but I would like to find something I really like. I have come across some in restaurants but they either don't list the brand/vineyard or I forget what it was. And of course it's not like I can pick up a bottle I've never tried before and know how dry it will be. I'm so tired of picking a wine at the store and not liking it because it's too sweet for me. Thanks in advance.
Very dry white wines
- Reply by GregT, Oct 26, 2009.
France - try Muscadet from the Loire valley or dry Bordeaux.
Spain - try verdejo from Rueda or Xarel-lo from Penedes
Italy - try verdiccio from the Marche region or pinot bianco from Alto Adige. You can try pinot grigio but there is so much insipid stuff produced that it's a crapshoot.
Hungary - try a dry furmint from Tokaj
Australia - try a semillon or even more interesting, a riesling. They tend to be much drier than the Germans these days.
There are many more but those should get you started.
- Reply by dmcker, Oct 26, 2009.
To amplify a little on the French part of Greg's recommendations, from Bordeaux many Entre-Deux-Mers whites on the lower end of prices will be dry, while those from Graves will tend to be a little more expensive but also include Semillon with the Sauvignon Blanc and be a bit more complexly interesting as a result. You can also look for dry Rieslings from Alsace and a number of chardonnays from Burgundy. Chablis, at the north end, might be a good place to start, while Macons Villages and Pouilly Fuisse will be less pricey versions from the more southern part of Burgundy.
From California, look for chardonnays that are made in a more 'Burgundian' style, from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast areas.
Are you also interesting in sparkling wine and even roses?
- Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 27, 2009.
Greg's list is a good one. I would just add that oaked wines can pick up a sweetness from their wood treatment so if you're looking for particularly dry wines it might be best to avoid those styles.
- Reply by White Winer, Oct 27, 2009.
Thank you everyone! That's very helpful, I can't wait to have a peak in the store now. I do love sparkling wine but I associate it with special occasions and being expensive - plus, I'm a lightweight and it gets me drunk more quickly than wine. I have never had a rose I liked, I always find they are very sweet - is that not necessarily the case?
I have noticed pinot grigio's seem to be all over the place - I've read they are dry so that's what I usually order at restaurants but it's totally hit or miss whether I like it.
- Reply by GregT, Oct 27, 2009.
No - rose or rosado does not have to be sweet, although a lot of them are quite fruity and some also have a little residual sugar left. That's the case with "white zinfandel" for example. But it needn't be the case. If you find some from Provence or some parts of Spain, they can be much drier, but they seem to be all over the map these days so you have to know quite specifically which wine you're talking about.
As far as oak making the wine seem sweeter than it is, that's an interesting point. Doesn't really mean the wine is sweeter but we tend to associate some of the flavors found in oak with sweets and in fact, oak is where they find vanillin for artificial vanilla flavorings. Some people label their wines Inox, which is stainless steel or sometimes they just call them unoaked. But that doesn't mean they're sweet. Usually the oak is used to make them feel rounder, if that makes sense. Chablis is an excellent suggestion too, actually I forgot about the white Burgundies but those are usually pretty crisp even though many have been put in wood. It might be interesting for you to try some of those to see whether you notice the effect or not.
Bubbles aren't always all that expensive either. Most of the cost associated with Champagne is about marketing. People were taught to associate it with special occasions so they'd be willing to spend a little more money.
If you want an alternative, Spain makes Cava in the same way. People think Cava is always cheap swill, partly because Codorníu and Frexinet dominate the market with really cheap stuff. So look for something called "reserva" or even "gran reserva" around $20 or so. Usually it has less alcohol than some other wines, so I kind of think it's not the sparkling wine that makes you drunk.
Maybe we're taking in a little too much alcohol in general at those "special" occasions? Hmmmmm.
- Reply by dmcker, Oct 27, 2009.
You can also look to prosecco from northern Italy, and some of the better sparkling wines from Napa and Sonoma (e.g. Schramsberg, Iron Horse and the French operations like Domaine Chandon and Mumms Napa) for (somewhat) cheaper alternatives to champagne prices. You'll be wanting their Brut, not cremant, offerings, of course. ;-)
For rosé you might try those from Tavel and some of the others being made in the southern Rhone area. Also, check out those from the Loire, though you'll need to watch for the dryer ones. I just had a 2008 Vacheron Sancerre Rosé that was the perfect autumn rosé, with cranberries and cinammon yet a very pinot-noirish mouthfeel like a wellmade Burgundy. Medium-bodied yet quite fresh. Hey, it even has some of that 'mineral' flavor that we all love to talk about! My guess is that this is a rosé that will age for a bit, too.
You should also check out rosatos from Italy or Italian varietals (such as sangiovese from California or the Pacific Northwest). As Greg so rightly points out, stay away from white zinfandels, for peace of mind and health of palate and soul... ;-)
- Reply by ramblero, Nov 9, 2009.
Rosé??? Try Paralelle 45 rosé, it's wonderful (and dry)..especially for approx. $12 (Cost Plus)...if you can get it now...as it's traditionally a more "summer" wine.