The first thing to know about dry white wine is that the dryness doesn’t come from the grape. Dry white wine is a style of wine that certain wines (and certain grapes) are traditionally made in.
So, how do they make a wine dry or sweet? It’s all about the winemaking process. As grapes ferment, yeast turns the fruit’s sugar into alcohol. If you let the yeast eat all the sugar, you get dry wine; if you stop the process in the middle, you get sweet wine.
Best Wines for Cooking
Although there are many types of dry white wine, not all of them are appropriate for cooking. It’s the crisp acidity of light-bodied or herbaceous whites that you want for cooking. These include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, and unoaked Chardonnay. Richer, full-bodied dry whites like Sémillon and oaked Chardonnay don’t have enough acidity and may even introduce bitter notes when cooked. Check out this great list of recipes using leftover dry white wine.
How to Cook with It
Crisp dry white wine is an extremely versatile tool for any cook. Use it to:
- deglaze a pan
- sauté fish, chicken, or soft vegetables
- braise tougher vegetables
- steam or poach seafood
- cook risotto
- create a pan sauce
How to Store It
Unopened, store your dry white wine like any other bottle, in a cool dark place. Any opened bottles should be recorked, refrigerated, and used within a week.