The Top 7 Best Dry Red Wine Types

On the broader wine spectrum, basically all red wines qualify as dry. Even the sweetest red wines, like a Recioto della Valpolicella, still contain less sugar than the majority of whites. With the exception of port and dessert wines, you probably don’t have to worry about your red wines being too sweet.

With that being said, if you know you really prefer dry, you can learn a few tricks to help you make a more educated selection. First of all, you should know that the dryness of a wine is the outcome of the fermentation method, during which the sugar content of the grapes used is entirely converted into alcohol.

Although there is a multitude of dry red wine varieties to buy from, there are a few choices that tend to rank high when it comes to dryness. Here are seven of the best dry red wine types worthy for your consideration:

1. Cabernet Sauvignon Red Wines

Currently one of the most widely planted grape varieties in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon originated in France in the 17th century. A happy accident involving Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon is now grown in many different climates.

Characterized by its dry, earthy flavour, the subtler aspects of Cabernet change according to the region. In cooler climates, these dry red wine types tend to have notes of blackcurrant, pepper, and mint, while moderate climates produce more black cherry and olives notes. Cabernet Sauvignons from the warmer climates are those that tend to be most “jammy” in flavour.

2. Carménère Red Wines

Another member of the Cabernet family, Carménère is also a fairy dry red wine. Although these days it is produced most widely in Chile, it is considered part of the original six red grapes of Bordeaux. With plenty of potential as a blending grape, Carménère grapes are used in many of the different experimentations taking place in some of Chile’s most innovative vineyards.

3. Malbec Red Wines

Swiftly becoming the grape of choice for many wine enthusiasts, Malbec built its reputation in South West France but is now increasingly associated with Argentina. Producing a dry and luscious wine, Malbec grapes ripen mid-season and can bring deep colour, ample tannin, and a welcome plum flavour to any blend they touch.

4. Merlot Red Wines

A standard offering the world over, Merlot is produced in two primary styles. The most common, “international style,” is full-bodied, high-alcohol, and inky purple, with intense, plum and blackberry fruit.

The more traditional “Bordeaux style” of Merlot involves earlier harvesting to maintain acidity and produces more medium-bodied wines with moderate alcohol levels, red fruit flavours and a vegetal note.

5. Pinot Noir Red Wines

Also considered the healthiest of dry red wine types, thanks to its high concentration of resveratrol, Pinot Noir tends to grow best in cooler climates. When young, Pinot Noir grapes generally produce red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. As the wine ages, they become more complex and takes on an earthier quality.

6. Syrah/ Shiraz Red Wines

With plenty of tannins and notes of black pepper and mint, Syrah, also known as Shiraz, is a dark-skinned grape variety grown throughout the world. When grown in moderate climates, Syrah grapes tend to produce medium to full-bodied wines with medium to high levels of tannins and notes of blackberry, mint and black pepper.

Syrah from hot climates, on the other hand, are more consistently full-bodied with softer tannin, jammier fruit and spice notes of liquorice, anise and earthy leather.

7. Tempranillo Red Wines

Although sometimes blended to create sweet fortified wines like Port, many wines are produces from Tempranillo grapes are also wonderfully dry. Boasting a fairly neutral profile, Tempranillo is an early ripening black grape variety that is often aged for extended periods in oak where the wine easily takes on the flavour of the barrel.