How can anyone objectively determine what is the “best” dry white wine? Personal tastes differ and wines themselves differ in style and taste, so perhaps the only objective way to judge which dry white wine is best is its monetary value on the market.
The price of a wine indicates a worldwide consensus of desirability against the existing supply, simple basic economics.
Of course, fads and manias influence prices, so supply is not the only factor. The case in point is the rise in price of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc after it was “discovered by the wine raters.
Considering this, the best dry wines are still the Chardonnays from Burgundy in France. These dry white wines are made from the Chardonnay grape and have been the benchmark for all Chardonnays made all over the world.
In Chablis, they are crisp and unoaked, while the other prime regions of Burgundy produces barrel-aged examples that boast such sound structure and minerality that they can improve even over twenty years. The best dry white wines, other than from Chablis, come from the Cote de Beaune, from areas such as Musigny, Montrachet and Echezeaux. Fortunately, all these areas produce wines that can be had for around $20 from properties that may border the finest estates. To this day, the white wines of Burgundy have owned all the records for the highest price paid for still white wines.
At one time the Sauvignon Blancs from Pessac in Bordeaux were considered the finest, but there is stiff competition from New Zealand and California. The Gurgich Hills estate set the wine world on its ear in 1973 by winning the Gold Medal in Paris, showing that California wines had arrived.
Besides Sauvignon Blanc California is making wonderful Chardonnay of its own in Sonoma County and the Alexander Valley, which produce white wines with a similar quality as Burgundy. But the warmer weather in Sonoma County, coaxes many fabulous tropical notes like pineapple and mango, which would be unheard of in Burgundy, and for far less money. Try the Almira Chardonnay for this tropical taste sensation for around $20.
Not as firmly on the radar as Burgundy or Sonoma, the white wines from Alsace are delightful. Boasting many of the same grape varietals as Germany, the wines such as Riesling are dryer and crisper than their German counterparts. Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Riesling all share these crisp characteristics and are a joy to drink on a hot summer day.
The white wines from Italy, though not considered in the top-flight of white wines from around the world, produce hundreds of unique and affordable white wines. Beside the ubiquitous Pinot Grigio, try the Orvietto, Vernazzia and Frescati. They may not garner the top prizes or set record auction prices, but they are very inexpensive and taste delicious, which should get some sort of award.
Without any doubt the dry white wines from Burgundy are the best white wines in the world, but thankfully there is so much fantastic dry white wine that anyone can fill their ice bucket and have a delicious, ice-cold bottle of wine.