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When you’re trying to choose a wine to use in the kitchen, it can be a bit intimidating. Sure, drinking wine is easy, but cooking with it can be a little trickier. Here are some of the best wines you can use for cooking.
When cooking with white wine, it’s usually a good choice to use dry, crisp whites rather than rich or oaky ones. The second option could create a bitter taste in some dishes while sweeter wines could add an unnecessary sweetness to a dish or potentially even caramelize. This is why it is best to use dry whites like Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay, as long as it is unoaked.
If you have never cooked with wine before, it’s probably best to go with a Pinot Grigio, as it is the most neutral of the three and will create the lightest flavor. However, Chardonnay creates a richer flavor, which can be good if you’re more comfortable cooking with wine or at all.
Dry, robust reds are often good for making sauces, especially if you are cooking during the colder, winter months. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and burgundy are all great choices for cooking with reds. Fruiter wines can sometimes help an otherwise bland dish explode with flavor, but this is usually a good choice if you have spent a lot of time in the kitchen. Shiraz and Chianti can also be good choice for red wines used in cooking, but many people swear by using Port as a cooking wine.
There’s nothing wrong with following a recipe. Some recipes are very specific about what type of wine you should use while others are a little more lenient. Depending on your expertise, you may be able to experiment, but it’s usually best to play it safe at first.
Another tip: don’t use red if a recipe calls for white and vice-versa. There’s a serious reason why one type of wine was meant to be used in a recipe, and you shouldn’t substitute a completely different flavor. This means sticking to whites or reds when appropriate.
It is important to think about your dish and what flavors you are trying to create. A good way to tell if a wine is good to cook with? If you wouldn’t drink the wine with your meal, definitely don’t cook with it.