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Nov 15, 2011 08:53 PM

'Keywords' for 'Dry'

I am trying to direct someone toward a dry white wine (for a recipe). Short of suggesting specific wines, (and after suggesting she look for 'Dry' on the label!,) are there other common indicators for how sweet a (white) wine will be? The best correlation I could come up with was German Riesling or Gewurz...? ('Trocken'?)

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  1. Nearly all the wines in the store will be dry, particularly for her purpose. Similarly, nearly all the German wines will have too much residual sugar. So best to just play it safe and stay away from those. She should just ask someone working in the store.

    To the general question, though, of keywords on the label... You are right about "trocken" on German labels. Some U.S. riesling wines are labeled "dry riesling." Champagne and most other sparkling wines have words to indicated level for dryness/sweetness

    4 Replies
    1. re: Brad Ballinger

      Thanks! I suggested asking the store staff, but she'll likely be shopping at a supermarket, and I'm not certain whomever she finds would know. Why do you expect nearly all will be dry? I have wound up with some rather sweet wines by picking at random, in the past.

      (I suppose this is not a really critical situation, but thinking about it got me curious.)

      1. re: eethan

        Well, finding higher RS in whites is rather limited, but then one can encounter it with whites, such as Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chard, as Jess Jackson found that the US palate really responded to some RS, so he made sure that that wine had some. Same for other winemakers too.

        Taking French wines, as a very general genre, unless one is going to a demi-sec Vouvray, or similar, there should be almost zero RS.

        Good luck,


        1. re: eethan

          An inexpensive sauvignon blanc from Calfornia or Chile will suit her needs just fine.

          1. re: eethan

            FWIW .......... I've probably made this comment here before, but my experience has made me conclude that a lot of consumers interpret fruitiness as sweetness in wine. Most wines on the market are 'vinified dry'.... meaning that all the natural sugars have been converted to alcohol. But fruitiness is often perceived as "sweet" even when there is no (or nearly no) actual residual sugar.

        2. Looking around the globe, most white wines will be "Dry."

          Even many high-level GR Rieslings, especially in the Kabinet level, will be "Dry," though some will have enough fruit-forward, that some tasters might think that they are detecting some RS (Residual Sugar).

          What is the recipe? Maybe there is a "known dry" white, that would be a good match.


          1. Dry white vermouth is a fine cooking wine.