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Cooking w/white wine


Della
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I am fairly new to egullet and am sure I have missed this topic. Please redirect me if I have.........I am just wondering does anyone have a white wine that they use to cook with for just general cooking/dining? I know the rule - just cook with what you are drinking that night. But I don't often drink white wine (I usually drink red) and wanted to inquire if there are any standby's that people like to use that work well for deglazing or adding to the jus or gravy etc etc. THANKS! Della

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The thing to avoid is wines of a dominant character, such as heavily oaked chardonnays, probably the best thing is a blend either of named varietals such as Chardonnay and Semillon or a generic white wine from a well known producer such as Blossom Hill or even Gallo. It may not be great wine for drinking because it lacks complexity or character but that works in its favour when used the way you want, and it should be clean and fault-free. If you don't drink much wine freeze what you have left either in ice cube trays or small pots for use next time.

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I've had great luck cooking with low-cost German white wines. They have a wonderful crisp character and pair well with many things, especially when cooking.

For an example, a Riesling Qualitatswein I can usually pick up for $4-$5/bottle. Take 1/2 of it, 1/2 medium onion sliced, salt, and pepper, and you have a really good liquid to poach some fish in.

Best of luck!

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I agree that inexpensive German or Austrian wines would be good for cooking, and britcook is dead on about avoiding oaky wines. You want a wine with a very fruity character, so that once the alcohol burns off there is still a pleasant flavor. I think finding a wine with a lower alcohol content would also leave more flavor in the dish.

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For most applications, picking a dry white works best, in my opinion. I usually go with a sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio or sometimes even a sauve. The advice to avoid highly oaked wines is sound (but I do that as a rule of thumb anyway). You should, depending on your location, be able to find a servicable bottle in the $8 to $14 range.

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I agree that a clean, non oaky dry white, not too heavy is good. Some of the inexpensive French vin de pays blends, like Rene Junot or L'eparyie work just fine, and are $5 or less for a .750.

Non oaky Sauvignon Blancs works well, as does Entre Deux Mers...IMHO, in addition to the other suggestions above.

"When I lived in Paris, and champagne was relatively cheap, I always enjoyed a half-bottle in the middle of the morning and another half-bottle at six or so in the evening. It did me a tremendous amount of good." - Gerald Hamilton.
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Thank you so much for the hints and advice! I appreciate it. I also really like the idea of freezing some of the left over for future use. I am going to try something tonight and will post what I end up buying and how it works out. Cheers~ Della

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in line with all the various bits of advice above ...

my current fave is gruner veltliner, in particular the 1 liter bottles of Berger gruner that Whole Foods still seems to have around. ($10/liter, so a unit cost of $7.50/750ml.)

Gruner is stark and acidic enough that it doesn't impart oakiness or too much fruit to the food, while retaining that tart note that white wine should impart to dishes without being a dominant flavor. there's almost no residual sugar, so you won't sweeten the dish at all, and it's not going to clash if you serve a different wine with your food.

plus, the Berger is a good quality wine, which is really the key in cooking with wine. crappy wine=crappy dish. also, it stores rather well for a long time.

i've defaulted to calling it my "cooking wine" when i see it in the aisle. i don't mean that as an insult.

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Try sake (when you want a touch of sweetness) or Chinese rice wine. You can keep the bottles for several weeks after opening. If you want to be more traditional, use a dry vermouth - Noilly Prat, for example. No problem there in keeping a bottle in the pantry and using a little at a time.

Ruth Friedman

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Such good ideas! Thank you!!!!! I know it should be a no brainer but the white wine is just more difficult than the red for me. :angry:

I used a Pinot Grigio tonight a Gaetano D'Aquinio, delle venezie to deglaze my pork chop pan with onion first, butter next, wine then chix stock then poured over my double cut stuffed chops and I have to say it was the best jus I have ever made. I am going to try a few of the suggested wines and the Sake and post back. Thanks again. I appreciate it.

Della

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Try sake (when you want a touch of sweetness) or Chinese rice wine. You can keep the bottles for several weeks after opening. If you want to be more traditional, use a dry vermouth - Noilly Prat, for example. No problem there in keeping a bottle in the pantry and using a little at a time.

You are dead on with dry vermouth. In Mastering, Julia recommends using it all the time when white wine is called for. I personally like playing with the fruit flavors of various wines that would compliment the dish being prepared.

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Such good ideas! Thank you!!!!! I know it should be a no brainer but the white wine is just more difficult than the red for me.  :angry:

Della

Silly question. But, uhh, why aren't you running with that, then? If you like red and understand red, sally forth!

Edited by jsolomon (log)

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Such good ideas! Thank you!!!!! I know it should be a no brainer but the white wine is just more difficult than the red for me.   :angry:

Della

Silly question. But, uhh, why aren't you running with that, then? If you like red and understand red, sally forth!

Sometimes things call for white wine and while I have substitued red wine at times (like when cooking pork) I don't know that you can always substitute red. Also, I like white wine at times, I just don't have the experience with it to the degree that I feel confident just picking out a bottle knowing that I am going to be cooking with it so I wanted to learn a bit more about it.

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I may be in a bit of a minority here, but I prefer lower acid whites. I like Rob's Vin de Pays suggestions. My standard is Domaine de Pouy Cotes de Gascogne. It's cheap and works well. Made primarily from ugni blanc -- a grape that doesn't have anything at all offensive about it.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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I purchase all the beer, wine and liquor for my restaurant and that includes a once or twice a week kitchen order. Our chefs use the big 4 Liter jugs of Carlo Rossi "Chablis" for white and Carlo Rossi "Burgundy" (the color not the region) for cooking wines. I also purchase 1.75 liter bottles of Christian Brothers Brandy, 1.5L Kings Port or 1.5L Tribuno dry vermouth on an as needed basis. The inexpensive stuff works just fine in the commercial application. It would work fine for home cooks as well provided they turned over the bottles quickly enough.

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Sometimes things call for white wine and while I have substitued red wine at times (like when cooking pork) I don't know that you can always substitute red. Also, I like white wine at times, I just don't have the experience with it to the degree that I feel confident just picking out a bottle knowing that I am going to be cooking with it so I wanted to learn a bit more about it.

That's certainly reasonable. I would tend to advise you to develop your white wine drinking palate and understanding before you spend a lot cooking with it. When you find some styles of white that you are generally agreeable with, you'll find them generally agreeable for cooking with, too.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Rule of thumb when cooking with wine:

Don't use anything that you woulnd't be able to serve on it's own.

Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?

Lisa: No.

Homer: Ham?

Lisa: No.

Homer: Pork chops?

Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.

Homer: Heh heh heh. Ooh, yeah, right, Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal. (The Simpsons)

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