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What is the cheapest wine brand you rec for cooking French/Italian?


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What is the cheapest wine brand you recommend for cooking Bolognese sauce or Beef Bourguignon?


I know they say you should only cook with wine you would drink, but anyone has some good brand recs that's not too expensive?


What do you think about Trader's Joes Charles Shaw Wine?  Good to cook with?



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Any minimally decent wine should do. In fact Two- (now Three-) Buck Chuck might even be your best choice for a Bolognese. See this NY Times article.



I made the dish [risotto al Barolo -- Alex] three times in one morning: first with a 2000 Barolo ($69.95), next with a 2005 dolcetto d’Alba ($22.95), and finally with a jack-of-all-wines, a Charles Shaw cabernet sauvignon affectionately known to Trader Joe’s shoppers as Two-Buck Chuck. (Introduced at $1.99, the price is up to $2.99 at the Manhattan store.)

Although the Barolo was rich and complex to drink, of the seven members of the Dining section staff who tasted the risottos, no one liked the Barolo-infused version best. “Least flavorful,” “sharp edges” and “sour,” they said.

The winner, by a vote of 4-to-3, was the Charles Shaw wine, which was the youngest and grapiest in the glass: the tasters said the wine’s fruit “stood up well to the cheese” and made the dish rounder. “It’s the best of both worlds,” one taster said, citing the astringency of the Barolo version and the overripe alcoholic perfume of the dolcetto. The young, fruity upstart beat the Old World classic by a mile.


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With Rudi Kurniawan manipulating all manner of average wines to produce knock-offs of classic vintages, it is apparent that the secret is not necessarily in the base wine but rather in the blending.


You can adjust the sauce created from any wine via additions of flavourings to give an acceptable outcome.


The only caveat I'd place on it is that you have to know how to do this and do it gradually so the dish doesn't become unbalanced. The balance should be between sweet (add sugar to adjust), sour (vinegar), salty (salt or anchovy) and umami (tomato paste [also sweet], anchovy, parmesan, powdered dried mushrooms, star anise). A hint of heat from chili also adds to the complexity but don't get carried away.


I'd avoid any wine that has faults related to rot on the grapes as this would add an undesirable flavour element.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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