Learning about dry red wine might not be for you if you are all in for sweet white wines or, God forbid, rosé.

Jokes aside, you’ll find below some “good to know” about dry red wines. You won’t become a sommelier overnight, but you’ll feel more at ease when your friends will start showing off their wine knowledge.

Prepare your wine opener.


What Is a Dry Red Wine?

Simply put, it’s a red wine with no residual sugars, as in, no sugars at all, therefore the dryness.

The more complex definition (you can impress your dinner guest with it) is that the wine fermentation process went all the way through and there were no more residual sugars left from the original grapes.

(As opposed to the sweet wines where the fermentation process is stopped half way through, thus leaving some residual sugars in the wine.)


Dry Red Wine Types

According to the red wine sweetness chart, there are two types of dry red wines:

Very Dry

Some examples: Bordeaux, Chianti, Montepulciano

Characteristics: 0-9g of sugar/l

The French term is “sec”.

Off Dry

Some examples: Beaujolais, Burgundy, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, Valpolicella

Characteristics: up to 18g of sugar/l

The French term for off dry (or medium dry) is “demisec”.


A List of Dry Red Wine Names by Country

Italian Dry Red Wines

Sagrantino (Umbria)
Piedirosso (Campania)
Perricone (Sicily)
Nero de Troia (Puglia)
Amarrone della Valpolicella (Veneto)
Nebbiollo (Piedmont & Lombardy)
Aglianico (Southern Italy)
Casavecchia (Campania)
Montepulciano (Abruzzo & Molise)
Dolcetto (Piedmont)
Lagrein (Alto Adige)
Cesanese (Lazio)
Tintore de Tramonti (Campania)
Bonarda (Northern Italy)
Vespolina (Piedmont)
Pignolo (Friulli)
Cannonau (Sardinia)
Gagliopo (Calabria)
Canaiolo Nero (Lazio)
Scianscionoso (Campania)
Nerello Mascalese (Sicily)
Primitivo (Puglia)
Negroamaro (Puglia)
Lacrima di Morro d’Alba (Marche)
Nero d’Avola (Sicily)
Teroldego (Trentino)



Côtes-du-Rhone (Rhone Valley)
Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Rhone Valley)
Côte-Rôtie (Rhone Valley)
Saint-Emilion (Bordeaux)
Château Margaux (Bordeaux)
Pétrus (Bordeaux)
Château Latour (Bordeaux)
Château Cheval Blanc (Bordeaux)
Côte de Nuits (Burgundy)
Côte de Beaune (Burgundy)
Clos Vougeot (Burgundy)
Saint-Amour (Beaujolais)
Juliénas (Beaujolais)
Chénas (Beaujolais)



Tempranillo (La Mancha)
Tinto Fino
Tinta del País (Ribera del Duero)
Tinta de Toro (Toro)
Ull de llebre (Catalonia)
Morisca (Extremadura)
Campo de Borja


Recommendations: Good Dry Red Wine for Cooking

A Syrah goes well for a roast.
A Chianti or a Pinot Noir goes better with a lighter dish.
In general, you can’t go wrong with a Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc. Inside the dish or in your glass while cooking.


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