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Summer Whites... Recs for bone dry white

Looking for a bone dry... hopefully reasonable priced (under $20) white that doesn't mind a big chill down. I like it dry and crispy and very cool. Thanks!

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  1. Starting very generally, since I'm not sure where you are located. Chenin Blancs from the Loire Valley might be a good choice.

    7 Replies
    1. re: goldangl95

      Chenin Blanc is not the first grape that comes to mind when I think of "bone dry" whites, since it seems to me most commonly we see Vouvrays from the Loire which are often favored for sweetness. Look for a "Sec" wine from this area.

      Look for German Rieslings marked "Trocken" or dry.

      I think Pinot Grgio wines are pretty damned dry, I drink very little of this wine. I like the German version GrauerBuirgunder, but examples I have had are seem richer, therefore less 'bone dry' than those wines produced in other areas.

      Dpends on how "bone dry" you want. To the best of my knowledge, the majority of white table wines not marketed in 1.5 litre and above format are finished dry. Pull something off the shelf, chill it and drink it.

      1. re: FrankJBN

        Huh, thanks for the clarification! For whatever reason, I've somehow been picking out chenin blancs that are not sweet (and don't say sec) but now I'm realizing there's a whole world of sweet chenin blancs that I have been skipping.

        When I think of a cool, clean crisp summer wine with strong acidic structure, mineral finish, and a hint of stone fruit on the palate I've turned to chenin blancs. A good somewhat widely available version at a decent price (in my opinion) is Champalou Vouvray. I REALLY like vivid fruit on the palate though, so hints of stone fruit to me is probably different for someone else.

        OP is that what you were thinking of when you said cool, dry wine? By dry did you simply mean zero sweetness? Sometimes when people say dry or sweet they are talking about the fruit taste on the palate and not how sweet or sour the wine is.

        I think FrankJBN gives excellent advice if you mean tart verging on sour wines with lots of lemon/lime/sour green apple notes (I think Vinho Verde also fits in this category).

        1. re: goldangl95

          Thanks for the great discussion here. I did mean zero sweetness -- something crisp on the palate not overly fruity.. but not sour definitely not sour or tart. I'll look for the Vouvray as I've enjoyed that varietal in the past.

          1. re: veggiequeen

            NZ SB's, though they will show better, if you let your hands heat up the glass a bit.


        2. re: FrankJBN

          >>> Chenin Blanc is not the first grape that comes to mind when I think of "bone dry" whites, since it seems to me most commonly we see Vouvrays from the Loire which are often favored for sweetness. Look for a "Sec" wine from this area. <<<

          "Sec" will be dry, but avoid "Sec Tendre" as these do have low levels of RS. OTOH, try Savennieres . . . bone dry.

          1. re: zin1953

            Also a thought to the OP, make sure to drink them young, the acidity that gives that zippy crispness drops out over time.

          2. re: FrankJBN

            I agree here. CB is a great, and versatile wine, but "bone dry" is not a characteristic that I attach to any. Yes, there are many examples with no RS, but with the fruit, one usually perceives some element of "sweetness," and especially if chilled to the max.

            Riesling is similar, thought there are some, that do NOT exhibit the RS elements, or the fruitiness, especially if nearly frozen.

            That "cold" aspect puzzles me, and really, really limits my suggestions, as I feel that most wines have an ideal temp, and it is seldom "cold." Champagne, upon serving, is about the only one, in my book, other than Sangria.


        3. One of my favorite summer wines (winter too) is a Côtes de Gascogne blanc. They are usually a blend of some combination of Colombard, Ugni Blanc, Gros Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc. Flavor descriptors such as fresh lime, grapefruit and other citrus notes are often used with these wines. Terms such as light-bodied, fresh, zesty are often applied. Usually, they run in the $8 to $12 range and I have yet to find one I did not like.

          1. A good muscadet would be very fun.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Maximilien

              Great call. I was not thinking of a Melon de Bourgogne, but many will be stone-dry, and can take some good chill (though most WILL blossom with a rise in temp).

              Just did not think of that choice.


              1. re: Maximilien

                I'm not knowledgeable about wines, am I wrong to think that muscadet is made from muscat grapes? The few muscat wines I've had have been dessert wines, one of them spectacular, but definitely sweet.

                1. re: EWSflash

                  Muscadet is made from the Melon (or Melon de Bourgogne) grape, which thrives almost entirely as Muscadet in areas throughout the coastal Loire. There are many varieties of muscat, some coarse, others more polished, that are made into wines that can be almost totally dry to super raisined, sparkling (lightly or energetically) or still. It's said that wines made form muscat are the only ones where you can still taste and smell the fresh grape. I love dessert muscats from France (St, Jean de Minervois in the SW, and Muscat de Beaumes de Venise in the Rhone) and Italy (the Pantelleria Islands off Sicily). Fresh muscat table grapes from Southern Italy are glorious, too.

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    There are several different varieties of Muscat grapes, but as bob96 has rightly pointed out, Muscadet is 100% Melon de Bourgogne, and contains not one drop of Muscat . . .

                    1. re: EWSflash

                      That is a very common misconception. However, Bob96 has provided the information, that you need.

                      Do not feel bad, as too many misunderstand the name vs the varietal. It took me some years to get my cousin to understand, but then she was a linguist, and kept getting lost in the roots of the words.



                  2. "Bone dry" does not bring much to mind when I think of white wines. I'm guessing you're talking about minerally wines, rather than sweetish. Muscadet would fill the bill for affordable and not at all sweet. Some Sauvignon blancs, especially from the Loire, would too -- but they might be above your price ceiling.

                    Most Alsatian white wines would qualify, as well.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ChefJune

                      "Most Alsatian white wines would qualify, as well"

                      I've noted here previously, but I think it worth repeating, that while "old school" rule of thumb was that Alsace whites are bone dry wines, this simply is no longer true (if it ever was).

                      Many Alsace whites are off-dry or sweet. I had a sweet Pinot Gris with foie gras the other week although there was nothing on front or back label to indicate this. At least a couple of the large and popular producers in Alsace (Zind-Humbrecht for one I think) mark their labels with a sweetness indicator.

                      I don't think it is safe to say that "most Alsace white" would fill the bill for someone seeking dry wines. If unsure, inquire of the seller.

                    2. Bone dry (but in some variation with fruit) and under $20: picpoul de pinet, muscadet, seyssel, verdicchio, pecorino (abruzzo), greco di tufo, gavi, santorini/assyrtiko, xarell-o from catalonia,.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bob96

                        Thanks! The Picpoul de Pinet is one I've tried and does fit what I'm thinking about... Greco di tufo & gavi also. I will look for the others.

                      2. My current favorite is the Kono Marlborough sauvignon blanc from New Zealand - $7.99 at Trader Joe's here in SoCal. Very clean, with good acidity. The vinho verde they have is good too, a tad more citrus-y. Lemonade for grownups!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Will Owen

                          I do like Sauvignon Blancs but find most to be more fruity than "dry". The vinho verde I've tried in the past have been a bit sour tasting rather than just dry... I do appreciate all the suggestions and will re-post once a winner has been determined! Thanks all!

                        2. Savennières, Anjou Sec, or Vouvray Sec from the Loire

                          Muscadet from the Loire

                          Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc

                          Entre-Deux-Mers from Bordeaux

                          Txakoli from Spain

                          14 Replies
                          1. re: zin1953

                            Vermentino, verdecchio, fiano, fruilano, falanghina, gavi, souave. All great dry Italians as well as the above.

                            1. re: zin1953

                              I've seen Picpoul noted herer a couple of times and the OP says she liked it, but to me the couple examples I had were less than enough to have me try a third. A dull wine.

                              1. re: FrankJBN

                                And, again, this is why there is more than one winery on the planet -- we all have our own, *different* palates, our own tastes.

                              2. re: zin1953

                                zin1953's list is the same as my list. Picpoul and Savennieres were the first two that came to mind.
                                Muscadet and Txakoli (txakolina) were the second two.

                                1. re: zin1953

                                  I think white Irouleguy on the French side of the Basque country is about the
                                  same as Txakoli. I had a bottle 3 months ago in a Basque restaurant in France and
                                  it was dry, crisp, but yet floral. It is made from the same varieties (gros and petit
                                  manseng, courbu) as Txakoli.

                                  1. re: bclevy

                                    Could you point to a source that says that Hondarrabi Zuri -- the grape used in Txakoli -- is the same grape variety as either Gros Mensang, Petit Mensang, or Coubru?

                                    According to *my* sources, including the online Cave d'Irouleguy --see http://www.cave-irouleguy.com/page.as... -- gives the following Basque names to the grapes permitted under the appellation Irouleguy Blanc contrôlée regulations:

                                    Gros Mensang = Izkiriota Haundia

                                    Petit Mensang = Izkiriota Ttipia

                                    Coubu = Xuri Zerratia

                                    1. re: zin1953

                                      The confusion arises, first, because Hondarribi Zuri can refer to any of several grapes.
                                      Hondarrabi refers to its origin in the Basque town of Fuenterrabía, spelled Hondarriba in the Basque language. Zuri refers to color -- white. Beltza, as in Hondarrabi Beltza, the red wine of Basque country, means "black."

                                      So it's the third word in the grape name -- Zalla or Zerratie -- that specifies the varietal.

                                      "Hondarrabi Zuri Zalla is the official Hondarrabi Zuri, and is the same as a French grape called Courbu Blanc. Somewhat confusingly, there is also a grape called Hondarrabi Zuri Zerratia, which is the French grape Petit Courbu. These two grapes (Courbu Blanc and Petit Courbu) are related to one another but are ultimately different cultivars. The last email I have from Dr. Ortiz states unequivocally that the grape that is known officially as Hondarrabi Zuri is actually Courbu Blanc."

                                      "Petit Corbu is sometimes known as Hondarrabi Zuri Zerratie in Spain, which is not the same as Hondarrabi Zuri Zalla, also known as Courbu Blanc in France."


                                      The second source of confusion is that there are several types of Txakoli, and each has their own blending rules.
                                      Txakoli from Getaria
                                      Txakoli from Biscay
                                      Txakoli from Alava
                                      Cantabrian Chacolí
                                      Chacolí from Burgos

                                      The txakoli from Alava is made with "Hondarribi Zuria ("white Hondarribia") but other grapes are also permitted: Bordeleza Zuria (Folle Blanche), Izkiriota Ttipia (Petit Manseng), Izkiriota (Gros Manseng) and Courbu. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Txakoli

                                      It's a little tough to sort out.

                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                        So nothing to do with either petit or gros manseng? (Btw, a Jurancon sec would be a good choice, too, for the OP).

                                        1. re: bob96

                                          The reason I've been curious about Hondarribi is that some of the Arabic names for wine -- like zibbobo and hondarribi -- are so musical, just like some of the Arabic names for stars -- Zubenelgenubi, Mintaka and Mekbuda. I'd aIready chased down the info so I had a few facts to post, but I just did a bit more reading and added to that.

                                          1. re: maria lorraine

                                            "Zibibbo, Zibibbo Blanco, Zibibbo de Pantellaria, Zibibbu, Zibibbu di Sicilia, Zihibbo, Zihibbo di Marcellinaria, Zihibbo di Milazzo, Zihibbo di Pantellaria, Zihibbo di Termini, Zihibbo di Trapani, Zihibbo Hianco Moscato, and Zihibbu di Sicilia."--Wikipedia. Whatever it's called, I love a glass of zibibbo with some seame biscotti overlooking the Straits of Messina.

                                        2. re: maria lorraine

                                          Yeah, I read all that before posting . . . then again, I'm not always confident that wikipedia is an authoritative source ;^)

                                          1. re: zin1953

                                            Neither am I. I never use it as a sole source, only as a corroboratory one.

                                            Presuming you read the other sources linked to as well.

                                            1. re: zin1953

                                              The French version of the Wikipedia article on Basque wines contains
                                              an abundant number of sources backing up Maria Lorraine's comments:

                                              1. re: zin1953

                                                What, all of MY additions to Wikipedia have not been to your liking... ?

                                                Amazing how Wikipedia can become the end-all, be-all, with inclusions from everywhere.

                                                Think about that for a moment... OK, enough time. Think back to some of the comments on this very board, and how absurd some have been. Have any of those posters contributed?


                                      2. Just took a look at your posting name.

                                        IMO the most veggie accommodating white wine is Austrian Gruner Veltliner. Several really good ones under $20. Look for Schloss Gobelsburg or Kurt Angerer.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jock


                                          Had not seen your contribution (Hi!, BTW), but GV was one of my suggestions, and for the reasons that you cite - though "cold" does not really benefit any wine, unless one is trying to hide flaws, IMHO.


                                        2. not sure where you are from, but being from Toronto, I'm loving the new grading system at our wine stores (LCBO)...it lists how many grams of sugar/ml on the labels so I know how to really find the true dry wines. I've realized my preference is 5gr/ml and below...wonderful change to labelling.

                                          1. Pinot Grigio is my favorite dry white. Don't know if you'd consider it "bone dry", since that's a personal preference term, But for me, Pinot Grigio makes for a wonderful chilled summer white.

                                            1. I'm definitely not the authority on summer whites (I drank one Kerner and then went to Cannonau, Cab Franc, and Zinfandel in that order last night), but IMO several dry reislings from the Finger Lakes area (Hermann J. Wiemer, Ravines) would fit your description and your price point. Probably the best summer picnic white wine from that region IMO would be Bloomer Creek Vineyard's Tanzen Dame riesling; not bone dry as you'd like but more along the lines of a Kabinett.

                                              1. "Very cool," is a trick that many restaurants and bars use, when serving inferior wines, especially whites. The idea is that the extreme cold occludes the real tastes of the wines. If a server wishes to do such, I wonder why.

                                                I do find that various Sauvignon Blancs CAN take a bit more cool, but still present their characteristics. The typical NZ SB's come directly to mind.

                                                I find that what little most PG's have to offer, will just disappear completely with too much cold. Chards also start closing up, with the cold.

                                                GV's, and some Rieslings will still show a bit of character, but not as much, as when sampled at an appropriate temp.

                                                If I want cold, I think Sangria.


                                                1. A note on why I specified a white that doesn't mind a "big chill" and wants to be bone dry and very cool. This is about not drinking a beer when it's hot -- I fully appreciate how wonderful a lovely made white or red can be when served at the correct temperature. However on hot days and evenings I crave a very dry very chilled white. I thought the Chowhounds on this board would be a great resource and I was correct. I do agree that very Brut Sparkling or Champagne often fits the bill but I have trouble finding here in the mountains of NH... we are pretty much limited to what the NH state liquor stores (or food markets) will carry. I occasionally get over to Portland, ME and have a better selection there. Thanks again for all the great recs and good dialog on this question!