12 Types of Dry White Wine That We Absolutely Love

Don't let the color fool you. While dry white wines may all look similar, the sheer variation in character, flavor, and aroma is mind-boggling. And delicious.

Updated January 31, 2024
white wine

I love a crisp, perfectly chilled dry white wine during the summer. And with so many types of dry white wine to choose from, I can pick up a bottle that suits my mood, from a lean, herbal sauvignon blanc to a vibrant and aromatic dry riesling. 

12 Types of Dry White Wine

There are a ton of different types of dry white wine. These are some of my favorites.

  • Sauvignon blanc
  • Albariño
  • Chardonnay
  • Muscadet
  • Torrontés
  • Pinot blanc
  • Pinot gris/pinot grigio
  • Viognier
  • Grüner veltliner
  • Gewürtztraminer
  • Riesling
  • Soave

Very Dry Whites

Vineyards with old wooden barrel on row vine green grape

Very dry white wines are exceptionally crisp without much lingering sweetness. They contain less than 4 g/L of residual sugar

Sauvignon Blanc

I especially love sauvignon blanc in the summertime. It has an herbal, grassy character along with light fruit notes and exceptional crispness that comes out when the wine is served at the perfect chilled temp. This is one of the driest, crispest wines, making it a superstar for sipping or cooking. It's a lean, clean wine with well-balanced acidity and underlying fruits. You can find sauvignon blanc grown around the world. Major growing regions include Bordeaux, New Zealand, the Loire Valley, South Africa, Austria, California, and Washington State.


I have one word for albariño... yum. This dry Spanish wine wine, pronounced al-buh-reen-yo, has bright acid and refreshing flavors of citrus and light salty notes. It is delicious with the seafood that is plentiful in Spanish cuisine. The Portuguese call it alvarinho. It also grows in South America.


My favorite chardonnay is a lively Montrachet from the Burgundy region of France, an area well known for its excellent chardonnay wines. Chablis from France is a crisp, lean wine made purely from the grape. Wines from this region are redolent with flavors of apples, tropical fruits, citrus, and flint.

Chardonnay can be somewhat of a chameleon, depending on where it grows and if it's oaked. New World versions from states like California, Oregon, and Washington are aged in new oak, and they tend to be toasty with vanilla flavors. Without oak (or with less oak), chardonnay is bright with tropical notes.


Pronounced musk-uh-day, this light-bodied wine is extremely dry. Muscadet is made from melon de Bourgogne grapes and shouldn't be confused with muscat or moscato wines, which tend to be off-dry or semi-sweet. Instead, muscadet is sharp, tangy, and delicious with citrus and mineral notes. This wine comes from Loire Valley.


If you love a dry, aromatic white, then you'll love torrontés (torr-on-tez). You'll find many delicious examples from South American countries, particularly Argentina. The wine is so fragrant that even before it hits your palate, you can smell its flavors. On the palate, you'll discover peach and citrus notes along with bright acidity and a lovely floral character.

Related: Dry Red Wine Types & Characteristics

Medium-Dry White Wines

These wines are far from sweet, but they aren't quite as spare and dry as the previous batch. They may have as much as 12 g/L of residual sugar. 

Pinot Blanc

Pinot blanc is a genetic mutation of pinot noir, and I'm glad that genetic mutation happened. While it's often confused with chardonnay, pinot blanc is just the tiniest bit sweeter. The wines made from pinot blanc are full-bodied and zippy with notes of apples and almonds. You'll find the grape grown in regions like Germany, Austria, Italy, and Alsace, France. 

Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris

In Italy, this wine is called pinot grigio. Elsewhere, particularly Oregon and France, wines from the same grape are called pinot gris. And in Germany, it's called grauburgunder (that's a mouthful!). Pinot gris from Alsace, France is often a sweet wine and isn't dry at all, but pinot grigio from other locations is drier.

Dry pinot grigio/gris wines are light, crisp, and fruity with mineral or citrus notes. Italian-style pinot grigio tends to be the crisp, mineral version of this dry white wine, while the French pinot gris style tends to be fruity and dry.


Viognier (vee-oh-nay) is an aromatic grape. It's so fragrant that in France's Côte-Rôtie wines, winemakers blend a little viognier with the syrah to add an enticing scent with a nose of citrus. It's a French grape that's growing in popularity all around the world for its highly fragranced aromas and flavors of peaches and honeysuckle.

Grüner Veltliner

Austria specializes in this peachy dry white wine with undertones of pepper and spice. When the grapes are harvested when they're less ripe, citrus — particularly lime — is the flavor that predominates. However, the later in the season the grapes are harvested, the fewer citrus notes you'll find in the wine. Those made from riper grapes have peach overtones. 


Germany and Alsace specialize in this spicy, aromatic white. You can also find good examples from New Zealand, Oregon, and California. Not all gewürtztraminers (guh-vurtz-tra-mee-nehr) are dry. This grape is also popular in a sweeter, late-harvest version. If you're looking for dry, choose a German trocken or halbtrocken version. Expect floral, spice, and citrus notes.


I love virtually every type of riesling I try. It's another aromatic wine, and, whether it's sweet or dry, it has crisp acidity that makes it bright and lively. The acidic wines have flavors of minerals, stone fruits, and apples. Riesling grapes thrive in the cooler climate of Germany and Alsace, and you can also find examples of dry Rieslings in Washington, Oregon, and California.


Soave is an Italian wine that has a pleasant hint of brine underlying notes of peaches and melons. The wine is named for the region instead of the grape, and the grapes it contains are called garganega. 

Defining Dry in White Wine

Chef opens Italian dry wine with oysters with lemon

Wine grapes have varying degrees of natural sugars depending on the varietal, how late in the season the grapes were harvested, and the level of concentration of the juices. During the fermentation process, yeast converts sugars from grape juice into alcohol. When most of the sugar is converted, and residual sugar is less than 1% of the wine's volume (4 grams of sugar per liter), the wine is considered dry. Wines can also be considered medium dry if it contains a residual sugar of up to 12 g/L. Wines with higher levels of sugar are off-dry, medium, or sweet.

Need to Know

Sweet and fruity are two terms that are often confused in wine terminology. A fruity wine is not necessarily a sweet one, and the driest of wines can still have multiple fruit characteristics. Fruity doesn't necessarily describe the wine's level of sweetness but rather its fruit flavors and aromas.

The Right Dry White

When I first started on my wine journey, I leaned towards off-dry and even sweet wines. But as I learned more, I started to not just appreciate, but absolutely love what dry white wines bring to the table.  So don't let the term dry intimidate. While the wine may not be sweet, it's still loaded with flavors and aromas that make it tasty and interesting. 

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12 Types of Dry White Wine That We Absolutely Love