Using white wine in cooking adds balance, fruit flavor, and acidity to any dish. And it does, without a doubt, vastly increase your cooking style options. However, there is one thing to keep in mind when choosing a white wine. On its own, the wine should taste ‘nice.’ Any variation in wine quality can turn a good dish into a poor one. Luckily, there are plenty of white wines to choose from at fair rates. And if you come across something branded as “cooking wine,” please disregard it because it has already won the title by having poor taste.
What Is Cooking White Wine?
Cooking white wine, also known as dry white wine, has long been a kitchen favorite for most chefs due to its flexibility. Dry white wine, unlike other wines, is not sweet, and it is, however, relatively “crisp.”
“Crisp” is a wine term that refers to a wine with a high acidity level, which is essential when cooking. Dry sparkling wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Grigio, to name a few, are outstanding.
They are deglazing the brown bits of sautéed mushrooms, pork, chicken, or fish with cooking wines. They are even used to add a pleasant touch of alkalinity to risotto. You can also add some shellfish before covering the lid for steaming if you are a shellfish fan.
Why Use White Wine for Cooking?
White wines (non-sweet wines) commonly favor over-sweet wines when cooking lighter dishes like shellfish, seafood, tomatoes, soup, veal, pork, and chicken. The recipes that follow are examples of these dishes combined with readily available wines.
Seafood & Shellfish with White Wine
Crisp white wines such as Pinot Grigio (also known as Pinot Gris), Vinho Verde, Colombard, Verdicchio, or Picpoul de Pinet are ideal for cooking seafood and shellfish. They impart a fruity, mineral flavor to the dish, which is perfect for cooking seafood. Though experimenting with food is often encouraged, keep in mind that too much acidity will over-extract the fat from the fish while frying.
Cooking Meat, Cream Sauces, and Gravies with White Wine
Choose thicker, more intensely flavored, dry white wines like Chardonnay, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, or Viura. They will thicken and cream up your gravies and sauces, giving your dish a rich texture.
While we know veterans are in the kitchen, it can be difficult for newcomers to track how much wine they consume. Another thing to consider is the acidity balance. As a result, a word of caution: minimize the wine before adding the cream.
Cooking Vegetables with White Wine
When preparing vegetables, you would like the flavor to be fruity, herbal, and floral, which is what Sauvignon Blanc provides. Sauvignon Blanc is a traditional light white wine that is the most versatile in the kitchen.
Grüner Veltliner and Verdejo, on the other hand, are wines to pair with mushrooms, bell peppers, eggplant, swiss chard, artichoke, and Mediterranean-style tomato dishes. To get the perfect mix of acid and extra deliciousness, throw in a bit of lemon and butter.
How To Choose Your Cooking White Wine?
So the basic rule is to choose a wine that you wouldn’t mind drinking after you have finished cooking. Recipes usually call for a cup or two. So, practically, you have almost a whole bottle of wine. Remember that heat would only accentuate the wine’s flaws rather than improve them. As a result, pick carefully and do not skimp on efficiency.
How To Prepare Dishes With White Wine?
You can trust this trick because it comes straight from the cook’s cookbook. Pour some wine into the pot before you start cooking. Why? Since, first and foremost, we all know that wine contains alcohol, and splashing it will enable it to burn off at the beginning. Second, introducing it at the end of the cooking process can impart an undesirable raw-wine flavor to the dish.
How To Store Your White Wine After Cooking?
Immediately when we open the wine bottle, it begins to oxidize, resulting in undesirable taste changes. After cooking with the wine, cork it and put it in the fridge to delay the oxidation process. Do not forget to use it within a few days.
If you have an unopened wine bottle, indeed, keep it in a dark, cool place.
Best White Wine For Cooking
In the kitchen, Reisling wine isn’t as typical as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. That is surprising, given that they have nearly identical effects on the result of recipes. People often use stainless steel to ferment some Dry Reisling; therefore, it lacks the woody notes associated with oak barrels.
Riesling is a white wine that divides opinion. It Reisling grapes produce both sweet and dry white wine. When tasted in food or on its own, the dry variety, on the other hand, turns many critics into fans because it has a sharp acidity that gives food a punchy flavor. If you are not sure which dry Reisling to use, try an Australian or German dry Reisling.
Sherry comes in two varieties. Cooking sherry is mainly produced for cooking and contains additives and salt, making it a good option only for cooking. Dry sherry is a white wine type with traces of brandy.
The grapes for dry sherry are primarily grown in Spain, and palomino grapes have a nuttiness about them. Dry Sherry is slightly more punchy than the white wines listed here because of the brandy. The alcohol content, on the other hand, gives food a distinct taste. But it has a mild sweetness to it, which you can find in many Spanish dishes.
One cup of white wine is commonly used in cooking. However, because of the fullness of Dry Sherry, you may need to be careful with the proportions. A dash of Dry Sherry is all it takes to elevate your meal.
You can also use leftover wine in poultry sauces and dishes that need only a hint of sweetness.
Pinot Grigio is a white wine that will bring all of your flavors together without being overpowering. Because its crisp neutral feel is primarily viewed as an intelligent choice, and its fruity flavor adds a beautiful fragrance to your food.
The ability to cut through fatty dishes is one of the appeals that makes Pinot Grigio a perfect kitchen companion. Its acidity is just right for most fish recipes, and it also has a low alcohol content that quickly evaporates, leaving only enough mineral flavor for any dish.
Pinot Grigio is perfect if you are preparing Italian cuisine.
Chardonnay has a buttery texture and a nutty flavor. Furthermore, it is not overly acidic, and it gives dishes a sense of balance, making it perfect for cooking creamy dishes.
Numerous other intense, heavy white wines may complement the same dishes as Chardonnay, but Chardonnay is reasonably priced and widely available.
However, it would be best if you exercised caution with Chardonnay. The majority of Chardonnay is aged in oak barrels, and it has been aged and makes food bitter, which overpowers the ingredients’ flavors and can spoil the dish’s flavor.
Chardonnay can make fantastic pork dishes and level out the sweetness of foods that need some acidity.
Sauvignon Blanc is a favorite among food lovers and chefs, and it has a shimmering earthy flavor that lends itself well to cooking with a high acidity level. The best thing about this white wine is its mild acidity that will not overpower the recipe.
Sauvignon Blanc is best to give your dishes a lemon-lime flavor as it has heavy citrus notes.
Lemons and limes have long been used in cooking and tenderizing. If this is your first time cooking with white wine, it should come as no surprise that Sauvignon Blanc is a top pick.
Moreover, Sauvignon Blanc is a mildly alcoholic white wine; therefore, it works well in dishes where the alcohol content must be quickly depleted. Too much alcohol will overpower the recipe’s ingredients and change its authentic flavor.
You will get a mixture of seafood and citrus tones if you cook seafood with Sauvignon Blanc. The wine’s acidic notes are ideal for amplifying the flavor of fish dishes. And not only fish, but you can also prepare chicken dishes just by adding a splash of white wine.
Tips for Cooking With White Wine
- You can often add a few tablespoons of wine to marinades to help caramelize and tenderize the meat during cooking.
- If you do not like the ‘alcohol’ taste but like the crispness and acidity of the wine, cook it for a more extended period. The more you prepare, the less alcohol there will be in the recipe. It can take up to 2.5 hours of simmering to remove the drink entirely.
- Pour a few tablespoons of wine into the sautee pan after sautéing vegetables to deglaze.
- Splash some wine into the broth to steam or poach mussels, clams, and oysters.
- If you want to make cream sauces, start by cooking the wine individually, reducing it to half, and then pouring in the cream. Most of the best recipes call for 3/4 to 1/2 cups of wine.
- The white wine you have used for cooking is good for two weeks and is drinkable or usable for up to a week.
Read more: How to Dispose Of Cooking Oil
Tips for Selecting White Wine
- If the meal needs more acid, you can add lemon. White wine is used early in the process to allow the alcohol to evaporate entirely. Lemon, particularly in salads and seafood, adds that unique zing.
- Since you have leftover bottles of various white wines, you can experiment with mixing them. Nevertheless, only use leftover wines with similar tones. That way, the final dish won’t have any conflicting tastes.
- When buying white wine for cooking, keep your spending to a minimum. You do not need to spend a lot of money on fine white wine for cooking, and any dry white wine in the $10 to $15 range is appropriate.
- Find out what grows in the region where the wine comes from before you start preparing your meal. This clever tip will help your food blend together more naturally, avoiding flavor clashes.