Tips for choosing the best wine(s) for cooking

You may know what wine to buy to pour yourself a drink, but when it comes to cooking with wine, the same rules don’t apply. Cooking with wine is common in many cuisines around the world. The acidity of wine helps break down tougher cuts of meat when used in marinade, keeps it offer when cooking or braising for a long time, and also imparts tenderness to delicate ingredients like steamed fish and poached vegetables when cooking using quick methods. It is also a favorite ingredient for many dessert recipes.

But, if not chosen correctly, your wine can end up making the dish too bitter or dry, thus wasting a perfectly good glass that you could have poured yourself.

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However, if you think you have to break the bank to cook with wine, you are wrong. The answer lies in careful selection, keeping in mind the following tips and tricks:

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Avoid “cooking wines”

When shopping for a wine you want to cook with, it’s best to avoid the ones piled up in the dressings and sauces aisle of the grocery. Cooking wines are full of sugar, salt and preservatives which not only spoil the taste of your dish but are also harmful to your health. Choose a wine that you would also drink, except, of course, for the best vintage wines from your precious collection.

Don’t trade red for white

If you’re following a recipe that calls for red, don’t swap it with white, or vice versa. White wine is less tannic than red, which means it does not absorb moisture, leaving the mouth dry. It can also reduce further without leaving the dish with a bitter taste. In red, if you do not braise the meat for a long time, it is not recommended to reduce more than 50% of the wine as this can make the dish bitter. Generally, red wine is bolder than White wine which is best when used when looking to add a slight acidity.

One formula does not apply to all

There is no formula or wine list that you can add to the dishes. Choosing a wine for a dish also means understanding what you want the wine to bring to the dish. For example, if you are preparing a sweet dish, opt for wines like Reisling, Sauternesor Moscato which will add to the sweetness of the dish.

When cooking savory dishes, choose a bottle of dry red wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay. As for reds, look for those with low tannins like Merlot, Chianti, and Pinot Noir.

Once you have opened a bottle, keep it refrigerated and consume it within four days to prevent it from oxidant.

Put your wine knowledge and culinary skills to the test with this traditional Coq Au Vin recipe.

If you’re a seasoned home chef ready to hone your culinary skills, Jualia Child’s Beef Burgundy recipewhich uses red wine, might just be the right stop for you.

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