Best White Wine For Cooking
Cooking with white wine, or as the Italians call it, “blending with wine,” can turn a simple meal into a flavorful and complex dish! Each property can enhance your meal - the acidity of white wine will perfectly tenderize a filet mignon, while the oakiness will bring out the robust and creaminess in a Bolognese sauce.
Lifestyle designer and home entertaining expert, Fran Berger, believes happiness comes in a bottle of bubbly! With Fran’s passion for sophisticated living and iconic hosting experience to guide you, you’ll discover how to choose the perfect white wine for serving an unforgettable dish.
Best Types of White Wine for Cooking
The white wine you choose to cook with can highlight the flavors and seasonings in your dish. Knowing the type to use will help when gathering and preparing your ingredients. Read below to find the best types of white wine for your next dish:
- Pinot Grigio: Crisp and dry in mouthfeel, with light fruit flavors, Pinot Grigio is a mellow white wine. It is often lower in tannins, which keeps meats like chicken or seafood juicy and moist.
- Sauvignon Blanc: With a more pronounced acidity, Sauvignon Blanc is a versatile white wine for cooking. Its herbal and citrus notes add an explosion of flavors to seafood dishes and vegetables.
- Chardonnay: This medium-bodied white wine is considered the richest of the three, making it a perfect companion for creamier dishes. Chardonnay can have a smooth, buttery mouthfeel, and is often higher in tannins, with hints of various flavors, like vanilla, apple, pear, papaya, and toast.
Unlock the Secrets of Choosing White Wine for Cooking
Many properties of white wine can help enhance your dishes. From the acidity to how expensive the wine is, knowing these expert tips will help you find the right one to use:
Acidity levels: The acidity in white wine, though tart and sour on the palate alone, can bring life to your dishes when used in cooking. Use acidic white wines Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio to complement tangy recipes and embolden the flavors.
Acidity can also help moisten delicate dishes, like vegetables, to keep them tender. Higher acidic white wines, such as Pinot Grigio, cuts through fat molecules in steak, creating a splendid and flavorful meal.
Tannin Levels: Tannins are traces of primary sources, like grape skins, plants, bark, and even oak from the barrels. They can leave a dry and rubbing sensation on the back of the tongue.
White wines have different levels of tannins - Pinot Grigio tends to have lower tannins, while Chardonnay has seemingly higher tannin levels. Tannins bind to the proteins in meat, which can soften them and extract more flavors.
- Sweetness: Typically, dry white wines are used in cooking savory dishes. Set aside your sweet vinos, like Riesling or Moscato, for desserts. Try using Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling in a classic white wine cake recipe.
Oakiness: The oakiness can make the flavors of your dish more pronounced by adding depth. If you want a stronger oakiness in your white wine, you can expect all American-made Chardonnays to be oaked, though the amount of oakiness within can vary.
Unoaked white wines, such as pinot grigio, are seldom oaked and will give your dish a crisp, lighter taste.
Cost: Choosing a white wine for cooking should not solely depend on the price tag. Affordable wine can be of good quality as long as it is the best type of wine for your dish.
Choose a higher quality wine over wines labeled “cooking wine” as these tend to have additives, such as salt, that can alter the authentic taste of your dish.
- Experimentation: Discovering the perfect wine for your dish and palate happens in practice and experimentation. Try different white wines that have flavors that you prefer to find the one you most enjoy!
Final Thoughts and Encouragement for Wine-Enhanced Cooking
Cooking with white wine adds depth and flavor to your seasoning, moistens and tenderizes your meats, and lends savory notes and richness to your sauces. Take advantage of its diverse properties with this expert advice to enhance your cooking skills and bring complex dishes to your dining room table.
Enjoy the other half of your bottle by sipping it from Fran’s signature white wine glasses. Crafted especially for savoring your favorite white varietals, this glass is luxurious enough to make every setting worth celebrating. You can order these handcrafted, 100% lead-free glasses for $260 a pair.