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    Driest Red Wines (What Is The Driest & 7 Dry Varieties)

    Dry Red Wines

    There’s nothing better than a perfectly balanced bottle of dry red wine.

    Whether you have a ruby red Pinot Noir or a deeper, darker Cabernet Sauvignon in your glass, dry red wine is the perfect accompaniment to a Friday night in.

    But what exactly is a dry red wine?

    What is Dry Red Wine?

    Red Wine

    A dry wine is the exact opposite of a sweet wine, so therefore a dry red wine is a red wine with little to no residual sugar.

    Sweet and dessert styles of red wine will have lots of detectable sugar on the palate, whereas dry red wines only have 1% or less sugar left once the fermentation process has finished.

    So what are the most popular styles of dry red wine?

    The 7 Most Popular Dry Red Grape Varieties

    Here are some grape varieties that make classic (and delicious) styles of dry red wine:

    Grape Variety Characteristics Food Pairings
    1. Cabernet Sauvignon Bold and complex with smooth tannins. King of dry red wines. Beef, lamb, hearty stews, aged cheeses.
    2. Merlot Smooth and plummy, often used in Bordeaux blends. Roast chicken, pasta dishes, pork.
    3. Cabernet Franc Floral, fruity, with black fruit flavors. Classic French. Grilled meats, duck, tomato-based dishes.
    4. Malbec Deep red with chocolate and cherry aromas. BBQ, grilled sausages, spicy cuisine.
    5. Grenache Often has sweeter cherry flavors, used in blends. Mediterranean cuisine, roasted vegetables.
    6Pinot Noir Soft, smooth, and bright. Well-planted globally. Salmon, poultry, mushroom dishes.
    Sangiovese Dry Italian wine with balsamic and dried fig flavors. Italian cuisine, tomato-based dishes.

    1. Cabernet Sauvignon

    Cab SauvBold and complex Cabernet Sauvignon is the King of dry red wines.

    This hearty dry red with smooth tannins is grown and drunk all over the world.

    2. Merlot

    Merlot WinesOften found in Bordeaux blends of red wine or making waves for itself in the USA, Merlot is a smooth and plummy red grape which makes softer styles of dry red wine.

    3. Cabernet Franc

    Floral and fruity with lots of black fruit on the palate, Cabernet Franc is a classic French example of a dry red wine

    4. Malbec

    Malbec WinesNative to France but perhaps better known for the wonderful dry red wines it makes in Argentina, Malbec is a deep red grape with lots of tannins and known for its chocolate and cherry aromas. 

    5. Grenache

    Although still a dry wine, Grenache often has sweeter, cherry flavours to it and plays an important role in the blending of red grape varieties. 

    6. Pinot Noir

    Pinot NoirSoft and smooth, light and bright, a good Pinot Noir is like drinking a hug and is one of the most well planted styles of dry red grapes planted globally. 

    7. Sangiovese

    SangioveseYou may have come across this grape in a bottle of Chianti wine.

    Sangiovese makes a beautiful dry red Italian wine that oozes with balsamic vinegar and dried fig fruit flavours. 

    So what are the main tastes and characteristics of dry red wines? And what foods go best with dry styles of red wine?

    Dry Red Wine: Taste, Characteristics, and Food Pairings

    A classic example of a dry red wine will have noticeable levels of tannins and a complete absence of sugar resulting in a smooth, supple red wine with lots of structure. 

    Dry red wine is best served at 55°F–65°F (13°C–19°C).

    So you can get away with slightly cooling the wine before serving - yes even red wine can be chilled to get the most out of your bottle!

    A good dry red wine makes a perfect accompaniment to richer, more savoury dishes.

    Think stewed meat, rich sauces and your roast dinner on a Sunday.

    So if you want to start buying more dry red wine for your collection what bottles should you look out for?

    The Best Dry Red Wine Bottles to Buy 

    Here are some of our favourite dry red wines you can buy at the moment:

    • 2015 Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru, Côte de Nuits, France ($143,433) - Smooth tannins that are almost silklike in texture, this dry red wine has a perfectly balanced palate of soft violets, deep plum fruit and a savoury kick of spice. 
    • 2018 Chateau Petrus, Pomerol, France ($6,082) - A Bordeaux style blend that perfectly balances earthy notes of forest floor alongside smoky tobacco and the rich snap of dark chocolate.
    • 2011 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf-du-Pape Reserve, Rhone, France ($2,494) - You have to taste this wine to believe it, a real explosion of summer fruit, all strawberry and cherry mingled together with herbaceous mint. A joy to behold.
    • 2016 Catena Zapata 'Catena Alta' Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($48) - A smoothly balanced dry red wine with rich notes of cocoa alongside elegant hints of mulberry infused incense.
    • 2005 Opus One Vertical Collection, Napa Valley, USA ($505) - A New World wine made in the Bordeaux style we all know and love, this dry red wine has a delectable bouquet of blackberry and cassis with smooth smoke and oaked notes weaving through.

    Mouth watering at the thought of trying these wines?

    But what do you need to consider before investing in dry red wines such as these?

    Investing in Dry Red Wine

    Dry red wines are a permanent staple on the cellars of serious wine collectors and no real wine investor will be seen without at least a few cases of good quality dry red wine.

    Authentic and good quality dry red wines will last years, if not decades, and their worth will only increase over time, making them the perfect investment. 

    Make sure you speak to your wine retailer here to check the credibility of the bottles you have in mind and how you can expect your dry red wines to develop over time.

    No red wine lasts forever, after all!

    But dry red wine isn’t just perfect for investing, it's also an invaluable ingredient in every good cook's kitchen.

    So how do you cook with dry red wine?

    Cooking with Dry Red Wine

    Steak and Wine

    Chances are, most of your favourite dishes are made with the help of a good wine as an ingredient. 

    Dry red wine can help to boost the flavours and depths of lots of dishes.

    Try adding red wine to your next marinade mix, or slowly adding it to a sauce in order to give the alcohol time to cook off and the flavours to develop.

    Try not to use a wine past its best here, as the better the dry red wine involved, the better the end dish! 

    Before You Go...

    Red Wine VineyardFrom cooking to investing, the tastes and textures of dry red wine knows no bounds.

    So don’t delay in grabbing a case or two and seeing what the world of dry red wine has to offer you and your kitchen!

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    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin