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Old 12-21-2015, 10:41 PM   #1
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Choosing cheap wines for recipes

As someone just attempting to learn to cook, I also know nothing about wines or cooking with them.

I read the entire 'Why do You Cook With Wine' thread, so picked up on the reasons for using wine in some recipes.

I also saw the suggestion for only using wine that you would drink. I wouldn't care to drink any of it.

So choosing becomes a problem. The local grocery store has Chardonnay from $3 to $55 and red from $3 to $300.

Brands mean nothing to me. I suspect I would dislike it all.

So, at what threshold does the wine become 'good enough' to use for cooking? I would be inclined to spend as little as possible.

This isn't a major thing for me. In compiling hundreds of possible recipes, I have avoided any that mentioned wine. But if the cost is minimal, I'd be willing to experiment.

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Old 12-21-2015, 10:47 PM   #2
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Buy a bottle of dry vermouth. It's fortified white wine so it will keep without spoiling for a long time.

For reds, there are many drinkable reds that will work well for cooking. In general, I stay away from tannic reds like cabernet sauvignon. Pinot Noir, red zinfandel, merlot all work well for cooking. I recommend talking to an expert at a wine store. Tell him what you're looking for and ask him to recommend a low cost brand. You can even find some inexpensive reds in four pack of single serving bottles.
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Old 12-22-2015, 12:19 AM   #3
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Price doesn't necessarily indicate quality when it comes to wine. I like to keep a couple four-packs of small bottles of Sutter Home on hand for use in cooking. I generally use Sauvignon Blanc (more dry) or Pinot Grigio (a bit sweeter) for white and Merlot for red.

You can use most, if not all, of one six-ounce bottle in a recipe so there won't be any left over. The rest will last for quite a while.
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Price doesn't necessarily indicate quality when it comes to wine. I like to keep a couple four-packs of small bottles of Sutter Home on hand for use in cooking. I generally use Sauvignon Blanc (more dry) or Pinot Grigio (a bit sweeter) for white and Merlot for red.

You can use most, if not all, of one six-ounce bottle in a recipe so there won't be any left over. The rest will last for quite a while.
The Sutter Home appeals to me because my local store carries the 4-packs.

I will definitely consider this.

Thank you,
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:02 AM   #5
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I'm also a fan of the miniature bottles of wine and liquor for cooking and baking.

If you don't normally drink wine you should not feel obligated to use it in your cooking, sometimes a little vinegar or lemon juice can give you the flavor boost you are looking for. Experiment and develop your own style of cooking. If you are not happy with tonight's dinner you will have another chance tomorrow.

Good luck!
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:17 AM   #6
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We use the 4-packs too for cooking unless it's for a very special dish like Boeuf bourguignon if we go all out and make it the traditional way or if we need a lot of wine like when we braise a whole bunch of beef short ribs in red wine or something similar.
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:45 AM   #7
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Seriouseats just had an article on this topic.......

Should You Really Only Cook With Wine You'd Drink? The Truth About Cooking With Wine | Serious Eats
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:06 AM   #8
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There are two schools of thought on using 'cheap' or not cheap wine in cooking.
First we'll stipulate that any wine used in cooking must be reduced. As the serious eats OP said the reduction can really intensify the flavor of the wine so care should be taken in choosing a wine. Best is to get advice from experts on cooking with wine visa vi the dish being cooked.
I use wine a lot in cooking special dishes. I make a classic 'BB' a few times a year.
Over the last few decades I have used really cheap red wine and bottles of say a $20 French Burgundy maximum price.
The cost of all the ingredients adds up. I'm not going to spend all that money and time then use a cheap red wine.
I have noticed a clear difference in the flavor of the 'BB' using really cheap red wine compared to a decent bottle of burgundy.
Aside: A beef bourguignonne is basically just a ragoussis with reduced red Burgundy wine added.
I use the recipe in The New Larousse Gastronomique page 112.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:16 AM   #9
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I appreciate all of the responses. The Sutter Home wouldn't hurt to play with.

I had read this article: Best Non-Alcoholic Substitutes for Red & White Wine | The Kitchn

and will also try some of their suggestions.

Otherwise, it appears the wine question is better postponed until I have a better grasp of what I'm doing.

Thanks again,
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Old 12-22-2015, 04:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Price doesn't necessarily indicate quality when it comes to wine. I like to keep a couple four-packs of small bottles of Sutter Home on hand for use in cooking. I generally use Sauvignon Blanc (more dry) or Pinot Grigio (a bit sweeter) for white and Merlot for red.
This is what I typically use for cooking, too.
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Choosing cheap wines for recipes As someone just attempting to learn to cook, I also know nothing about wines or cooking with them. I read the entire 'Why do You Cook With Wine' thread, so picked up on the reasons for using wine in some recipes. I also saw the suggestion for only using wine that you would drink. I wouldn't care to drink any of it. So choosing becomes a problem. The local grocery store has Chardonnay from $3 to $55 and red from $3 to $300. Brands mean nothing to me. I suspect I would dislike it all. So, at what threshold does the wine become 'good enough' to use for cooking? I would be inclined to spend as little as possible. This isn't a major thing for me. In compiling hundreds of possible recipes, I have avoided any that mentioned wine. But if the cost is minimal, I'd be willing to experiment. 3 stars 1 reviews
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