I love a crisp, dry white wine — especially in the spring and summer when the weather is warmer and there's lighter fare on my table. There's nothing better than diving into a citrussy, herbaceous sauvignon blanc, an aromatically floral gewürztraminer, or a buttery Chardonnay as I sit on my deck watching the sun dip down past the horizon.
And there are so many to choose from that it's easy to find the best dry white wines available. Of course, best is subjective, so I'm including a little something for everyone on my list of favorites.
Popular Types of Dry White Wine
Dry whites are great food wines, but they're also perfect for sipping just because. It's a beautiful experience when I pour a glass of chilled, straw-colored liquid into my favorite stemware, take that first sniff, and then sip. When I do, all is right with the world.
A dry white is a wine with residual sugar lower than 1%. This may include many varietals.
Chardonnay is one of the most popular dry white wines in the world. Whether it's an unoaked chardonnay from the Southern Hemisphere, a classicly lean Chablis, a bold white Burgundy, or a buttery chard from California, you'll be amazed at how many different expressions winemakers can coax from a single grape.
With so many styles and types to choose from, it's easy to find a chardonnay that pleases your palate. Chardonnays aged in oak are toasty and buttery. Unoaked chardonnays are aged in stainless steel vats and create a lighter, fruitier style. 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.
Some of my favorite chardonnays that are consistently good from year to year include:
- 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. The wine is unrefined and unfiltered, so it's intense. And while it is powerful, it has the acidity and creaminess to make it very satisfying. This is a chardonnay worth the splurge.
- Vincent Girardin, France: This Burgundy winemaker has been producing great dry white wines for a long time. It's the perfect introduction to just how amazing white Burgundy can be.
Riesling was one of my introductions to dry whites. While many rieslings produced in the US and around the world are off-dry, a dry riesling is a revelation. This crisp and aromatic wine has beautiful acidity, so it is bright and refreshing with pleasing notes of mineral, petrol, lemon, and citrus.
I like riesling from cool climates best, particularly those that are made in Germany and Alsace, France. Make sure the label calls the wine "dry" or "kabinett," or you may wind up with a sweeter wine (which will also be tasty).
Try a riesling from any of these producers.
- 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 excellent.
- Domaine Weinbach, Alsace, France: Alsatian rieslings like this one are crisp and aromatic with floral notes.
I love the citrus and herbal notes of sauvignon blanc. To me, it is the ultimate summer wine. It tends to be super affordable, and you can expect notes of herbs, grapefruit, lemons, and lime. Sauvignon blancs from New Zealand also have notes of spice and gooseberries.
Try these consistently good sauvignon blanc wines.
If you like a fruitier dry white with a hint of minerals, then you'll love pinot gris. Also called pinot grigio, pinot gris is the second best-selling white wine in the world. The grape is related to pinot noir, and it produces a medium-bodied white wine with flavors of minerals and pears.
Looking for quality pinot gris to try?
Here is a quick reference list to some of the best dry white wines not listed above:
- Veramonte Sauvignon Blanc
- d'Arenberg The Hermit Crab Marsanne/Viognier
- Mirassou Pinot Grigio
- Kendall-Jackson Vintners Reserve California Chardonnay
- Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc + Viognier White Blend
- Cousino Macul Antiguas Reservas Chardonnay
- Elk Cove Pinot Gris
- Chateau St. Jean Fumé Blanc
- Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc
- Voss Vineyards Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
- St. Clair Vicar's Choice Sauvignon Blanc
- Yalumba Y Series Viognier
- Kunde Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Discover Your Favorite White Wine
There are so many dry whites to explore beyond these. So whether you want something super aromatic, a little spicy, or smooth and round, you'll find a dry white wine to suit your palate. And if you're still unsure where to start, ask at a local wine shop, and they'll help you find the perfect dry white wine for you.