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Cooking with wine - a few questions

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Alright so I know next to nothing about wine. The only wine that I've tasted and liked was a 10€ bottle of some gran reserva Chardonnay from Chile with fresh quince and vanilla on the nose and nice flavour, too. From what I've read, wines are supposed to have some aroma and some taste.

 

I live in Slovakia and in this part of country wine is not used in cooking. So in my family, wine has always been drunk only at Christmas, New Year, birthdays and such, and always either red wine with no bouquet that tastes exclusively of alcohol and tannins and nothing else (not even a trace - even though on the bottle it says bouquet/taste of vanilla, chocolate, strawberries, raspberries and what not, it's not there at all), or a similarly terrible sparkling wine. I guess that's the result of improper storage.

 

There's a rule that you shouldn't use wine in a dish if you wouldn't drink it, but I've never seen it explained. So what kind of wine is not suitable for cooking? Is it such wine that already tastes like vinegar or perhaps the red wine I described? If it lacks anything but tannins+alcohol if it's red or acidity+alcohol if white, can you cook with it? Especially white wines have caused me lots of troubles. Well it's probably partly my fault since those whites cost about 3€ in a supermarket chain, but they always made my dish distractingly sour. That's obviously not good. Is there anything special that you must do to the white wine when cooking with it, like reducing by half or simmering it longer?

 

Sorry for it being quite long and thanks in advance.

post #2 of 9

I enjoy a nice glass of wine from time to time, but it's not something I have on hand most times.  True that you should only cook with wine you would drink... NOT stuff you might fnd in supermarket called "cooking" wine.  Liquor stores around me sell LITTLE bottles (maybe 4 oz or what ever that is in metric) of stuff that totally usable to cook with.  I'll buy a "six pack" of something red and something white and have used that with satisfactory results.

post #3 of 9

Making any long stew like ragú, beef bourguignon, tail stew, ossobucco, etc.) is one way to introduce yourself in cooking with wine. You can find many recipes online and in youtube. And yes, you use nice wines, not top 100 Wine Spectator list, but good, healthy wines.

Gebbe Got uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichen und schönen Tod. Joseph Roth.
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Gebbe Got uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichen und schönen Tod. Joseph Roth.
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post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slayertplsko View Post

 

There's a rule that you shouldn't use wine in a dish if you wouldn't drink it, but I've never seen it explained.

It's a direct reference to quality.  If you wouldn't drink it because it tastes bad/no flavor, then it's not something you want to put in your food either.

There are fairly good wines that are also reasonably priced.  Ask for recommendations at the store, or try different ones and keep a list.

As far as I know, there's nothing you can do to a bad wine to make it good.

Many red wines will benefit significantly from being opened early and left to breathe.  Decanting is even better.

post #5 of 9

OK. Here is something I posted in another thread. It was good/true then ... I think is is also the same here. 

 

 

~ Don't ever use "cooking wine". Completely fictitious, no such real thing. Only use a wine that you would drink. It doesn't have to be expensive, just good enough that you would drink it on it's own. 

~ Use the same wine (same varietal) that you are drinking with the meal. If you will be drinking a pinot noir, use a pinot noir. That's not too tough. However, it doesn't have to be the same pinot noir. As an example, I'm not going to cook with a $98 bottle of juice; I will though, no questions asked, drink that bottle. 

~ Pick wines that will go with the profile you are looking for; smooth/creamy : chardonnay, clean/crisp : viognier; bold/full : cab-sauv, fruit/fresh : carménère.

~ Pick and drink what you like. Don't get into any ideal relationships because someone or some book tells you to. You're buying with your money, eating/drinking with your palate.

~ Find a local wine store (LWS) that has regular tastings (preferably free). Try as many wines as you like. Learn things about what you like. Remember what sucks. 

*~ Vocabulary: Quality Price Ratio (QPR): Wines that are inexpensive, but drink like they cost a lot. One of my current favorites is an $8 juice that drinks like $40. I buy it at a grocery store. 

 

There is only one(1) place acceptable for using 2-$-Chuck. That would be as a "holy wine" for church services, so that the clergy members don't become winos. 2-$-Chuck is not suitable for any discussion in any professional level food/wine conversation. I wouldn't use 2-$-Chuck as a gag grab-bag gift for the winos at the shelter. 

 

Here are nice links to a good wine threads: 

What are the best supermarket wines?

Differentiating the wine

 

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

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post #6 of 9

Slayertplsko, let me make sure that I understand. 

In your family, drinking wine is not necessarily a pleasant or everyday occurrence? 

The wine that you've had is a sour white wine and a red that is "alcohol and tannins",

oh and a Chardonnay from Chile that put you back 10 euros aka $12.27 US dollars. 

For me, I wouldn't like to cook with a wine that cost that much, on top of that I personally don't care for Chardonnay. 

Is it that you do not care for wine?  Because if you do not, then maybe you might want to stick with stock instead. 

No judgment though, my husband hates wine, but I do cook with it and he enjoys what I make for him, mostly :)

Maybe you could find a reputable wine shop and as chef Dave11 said, ask questions of the shop owner,

maybe enough see if they ever have any wine tastings? 

I've been to many tastings in the evenings.  Many Vineyards, at least in the US will do that to promote themselves.

That could be fun and you may find a nice, inexpensive wine to cook with.

from ...

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A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

First, I want to thank you all for your replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaneohegirlinaz View Post

Slayertplsko, let me make sure that I understand. 

In your family, drinking wine is not necessarily a pleasant or everyday occurrence? 

The wine that you've had is a sour white wine and a red that is "alcohol and tannins",

oh and a Chardonnay from Chile that put you back 10 euros aka $12.27 US dollars. 

For me, I wouldn't like to cook with a wine that cost that much, on top of that I personally don't care for Chardonnay. 

Is it that you do not care for wine?  Because if you do not, then maybe you might want to stick with stock instead. 

No judgment though, my husband hates wine, but I do cook with it and he enjoys what I make for him, mostly :)

Maybe you could find a reputable wine shop and as chef Dave11 said, ask questions of the shop owner,

maybe enough see if they ever have any wine tastings? 

I've been to many tastings in the evenings.  Many Vineyards, at least in the US will do that to promote themselves.

That could be fun and you may find a nice, inexpensive wine to cook with.

 

 

In my family, and most Slovak families, wine is definitely not an everyday occurrence and I bet mostly not a pleasant one either. This is a beer country, even though in the east there's the famous Tokaj region (mostly Hungarian but reaching into Slovakia) and in the west there's another region with long tradition (back to Marcus Aurelianus at least). So beer is used in cooking, but wine never as far as I know. That's why most people drink horrible wine.

 

Well, I wouldn't like to cook with a wine that costs that must either, but the problem is it's difficult to get wine that's been stored properly in my town. So you never know what you're buying if you cannot taste it first (I could taste the Chilean wine, so I knew what I was buying was good).

 

Whether I care for wine? I don't have to have it every day, and I don't really care that much for drinking it, but I do care for cooking with it, because sauces made with good wine are simply good (it's different from stock a lot, so I don't want to substitute anything). Though as I said, I don't much about wine and haven't tasted much good wine in my life, so I may start caring for wine as a drink, too.

 

I think I might try the wine festival that should take place in September. Otherwise I don't know about anything with regular tastings. What I want is to find affordable (that is, 5€ to 6€) white and red wines that I could use for cooking. I've even realized that I've got a small cellar that probably keeps a stable temperature all year round, so storing even a large quantity is not a problem. The only problem is that the cellar is 20km away from my flat.

 

So how fast can wine go bad (not vinegar, but lose its bouquet and flavour) , given it's stored in the right position, in dark, but at a higher temperature as it should be (say, up to 30°C/86°F but usually lower in summer or up to 24°C/75°F in the winter)?


Edited by Slayertplsko - 7/19/12 at 1:46pm
post #8 of 9

Slayertplsko, as to your last question on how to properly store wine, I yield to other members who are more versed,

as for myself, in our house, wine doesn't stick around that long tongue.gif

I had a thought as I read your post: is Italian dry Vermouth available in your town?

that can easily be subbed out for wine in any recipe. 

there was another thread not so long ago on Chef Talk on that topic of Vermouth, you may want to look and see.

As to a Wine Festival in September, I would encourage you to try it and should you find one that you like,

maybe buy just a few bottles and keep them in your refrigerator. 

I thought that I didn't like wine at all until I went to a tasting myself, had a little too much fun crazy.gif

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 

I just wanted to thank you all for your replies and let you know that the problem has been solved for good. I discovered some small shops that sell local wines directly from barrels. The wines are very cheap (usually not exceeding 2€/litre), you can get as much or as little as you want and as far as cooking is concerned, they're just fine. They're simple young wines, but who needs anything more for cooking purposes anyway? They're not oxidized and taste good, and that's all that matters to me. Today I bought some Grüner Veltliner, a variety that is traditional in Austria, Slovakia and Czech Republic, this particular one being probably from western Slovakia (didn't ask though). It's already cooking with rabbit and mustard (and onion, garlic and thyme, some cream will come at the end) and I'm completely satisfied with the way it tastes. Now my plan is to explore other such shops in the area as they're many.


Edited by Slayertplsko - 7/18/13 at 8:07am
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