Wine is a popular ingredient in recipes, from quick sauces to slow-cooked stews, regularly begging the question, “What is the best wine to cook with?” Plenty of home cooks are quick to assume the best wine to cook with is the cheapest one they can find. While we understand that you may want to save wine that is enjoyable to drink for, well, drinking, we’re here to tell you that any wine you incorporate in food should be a wine you would enjoy drinking.
If the best wine to cook with is one we would enjoy drinking, then all CGT wines should be a great option, right? We like to think so, but let’s get down to the specifics of choosing types of wine for cooking.
What Is the Best Wine to Cook With?
Start with clues from the recipe.
Choosing the right wine for a recipe isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation. Different recipes shine with different wines. To start, does the recipe say to use a dry white wine? A sweet red wine? Whoever wrote the recipe has thought through the best category of wine for the dish, so start by following their clues. Some recipes will even include the ideal varietal to use. If the recipe isn’t specific enough, try our other tips.
Use an affordable wine you enjoy drinking.
Cooking wine causes its flavors to become concentrated, so make sure those flavors are ones you enjoy. That said, just because we should always cook with wine we want to drink doesn’t mean we should automatically reach for the top shelf. Generally, enjoyable wines in the $10 to $20 range will be good for cooking. Choosing an affordable wine means you can feel good about spending a little extra on other ingredients, such as fresh herbs or pasta. But don’t let us stop you from splurging in every category!
And yes, the flavor concentration effect does mean that you shouldn’t use spoiled wine for cooking. Check out our blog on DIY wine tie-dye if you’re looking for a use for spoiled wine.
Avoid wines that are overly acidic, peppery or sweet.
It’s important to avoid wines that are overly acidic, peppery or sweet. These flavors can easily become overpowering in the cooking process, preventing the other flavors in the dish from shining through. If you plan to only use a small amount of a bolder wine, however, you may be able to use the intensity to your advantage – for example, by balancing peppery wine flavors with citrus.
Think of it as a pairing.
Now that we have those basic principles covered, let’s move on to choosing a specific wine.
The best advice we have here is to think of it as you would a pairing. Consider the dish you’re making and what wine (for drinking) would pair well with the dish. It’s a safe bet that a wine we would enjoy sipping alongside a dish will also be enjoyable cooked into the dish.
Our Favorite Cooking Wines
When it comes to cooking with CGT wines, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we have a few favorites! Try one of these next time your recipe calls for a little wine.
Gru Vin: This dry white is crisp and zesty, making it the perfect option for a light recipe calling for white wine.
Pinot Grigio: Pinot Grigio is generally a good option when you’re looking for a dry white to cook with, and ours is no exception.
MichMash Red: Our MichMash wines offer balanced flavor profiles and an affordable price point, making them perfect for cooking.
Ready to jump in and cook with wine? You’re sure to find a winning dish in our extensive recipe archives, each one designed for a specific Chateau Grand Traverse wine.