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Cooking with wine

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am a beginner when it comes to cooking with wine and other alcoholic beverages. Plust I am not a wine drinker.

How do you tell the difference between white and red wines?
How do you know what wines to cook with specific recipes?
post #2 of 13
1. By looking at bottle and determing its color.

2. Most recipes will tell you what to use

Most common sherry, sauterne, burgundy, marsala, chablis ,bordeaux there usage depends on dish you are making. :D
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

It's not that simple

that's what I thought about wines, but just looking at the bottle does not work. Thought any wine that is red in color is red wine and white wine, is clear.
The recipe itself will tell you, red or white wine but not tell you which red or white would be best.

What do you look for in selecting a bottle of wine to cook with?
post #4 of 13
A wine that you would drink. More specifically, you cook with the same wine you would drink with the meal.

IMHO, "cooking wine", i.e. wine laced with SALT, is a waste of time, money, and effort!
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

both answers are good

only problem is that I am not a wine drinker, when looking at the label of any wine bottle, what am I looking for an ingredient that matches what I see in the recipe?
why are some reds look white and some whites look like red wine?
post #6 of 13
I have always lived by the premise that I would not cook with a wine that was not suitable for my palate to taste (ie drink).
Crap wines = crap results.
post #7 of 13
No, except for "preservatives", the only "ingredient in wine is grapes. You are looking for the "type" or varietal of grape that complements your intended dish. Often, this relates to the recipe's origin.

If you have a specific dish in mind, it would be far easier to make a recommendation if we could see the recipe. I cannot recall a "red" looking white but there are those like "White Zinfandel" that are more of a "blush" or Rosé and even white wine can be made from red/black grapes, if the grapeskins are removed before fermentation, that's only for Vitus vinifera grapes, Vitus Labrusca grapes have colored flesh as well.

As a "general rule" white wines are lower in alcohol and younger than reds and have more delicate flavors and nuances. Now, remember, I said "general rule" and there are numerous exceptions.

If you are not a wine drinker and the recipe doesn't clearly specify the type of wine to use, ask someone who cooks with wine, please.
Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
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post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you Pete for the insight. Believe me I do take the recipe with me, when I go shopping and then ask the clerk what wine to use for cooking and all I get is the aisle where they have Cooking Wine, even in my little knowledge of wine I know better to cook with that stuff.
post #9 of 13
Generally speaking I like to cook with an unoaked Chardonnay for a white wine and a Burgundy (Pinot Noir) for a red wine. There are certainly exceptions so this is just a general rule I go by.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

thank you

Thank you, for the response, will let you know how it turns out in the future. :)
post #11 of 13
good rule of thumb...
post #12 of 13
You can't use wines effectively as a cook unless and until you develop at least a rudimentary taste for them. Well you can, but it's unnecessarily difficult unnecessary unless you have an allergy, addiction or something similar. "I don't like wine" is all the more reason to learn. A civilized palate is part of becoming a decent cook.

The rule of not cooking with something that isn't drinkable has some flexibility. Like most cooks I cook with inexpensive but drinkable wines. However, the wines I drink are at least a step or two up from those I use for cooking. $5 a bottle is pretty close to max for cooking. $2/bottle Charles Schaw ("Two Buck Chuck") from Trader Joes' is the usual.

The red varietals I most often use are Shiraz (aka Syrah); Merlot; Pinot Noir; and Cabernet Sauvignon. Also, generic Burgundies; Beaujolais; Chianti; and "reds," such as "Big House Red," which is currently vastly underpriced. The defaults are Shiraz or Zinfandel when I want something fruity, and Merlot when I want something laid back.

For whites: Chardonnay (but not oaky, as vjbme said; Chablis, Riesling, Pinot Grigio; Frascati (hard to find, very crisp); Chenin Blanc; and occasionally dry, white vermouth which is not, properly speaking a wine at all -- it's "fortified wine." I most often use Chablish or Chenin Blanc as varietal whites; Traminers or Rieslings for something flowery and and spicy; and vermouth for dishes dishes big enough to handle its winey herbaciousness.

Hope this helps,
BDL
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post #13 of 13
I'm glad I saw this thread - I was about to ask the question about cheap wine versus drinking wine for cooking. There seem to be 2 schools of thought on this. Either its only cook with what you would drink with the meal, or any wine (within reason) is ok.

I agree with you BDL, I would rather cook with an ok wine, then save my money on a better wine to drink with the meal. After all, isn't the use of wine mainly for tenderising the meat with slow cooking/marinading, or to flavour a sauce? Consider the use of vinegars for the same effect. Some cheaper wines do taste pretty acidic, like vinegar, and I assume they have the same effect on meats for tenderising. Citrus juices too. Red wine is often paired with red wine vinegar in the same dish - I wouldn't drink a glass of red wine vinegar :eek: , but I'll cook with it.

And I'll be darned if I'll use a Barolo or a Grange Hermitage for cooking! Though it would be nice.....
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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