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Old 05-24-2008, 03:33 AM   #1
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Need help selecting wine to cook with

First off i have been cooking since last november and i love it. When im bored i think of things to cook. Im a poor mans cook. Im 23 cook only one person meals. Being 23 the cheaper the better so what i use usually isnt the top notch stuff some of you may be used to. I have been crusing these forums for a bit now and had to ask about wine. Im not a wine drinker so the wine(s) i do get i would like to last a bit so im guessin i would need fortified wine? But besides that no idea what to get. I cook mostly simple stuff chicken and beef here and there but usually all over the place with what i make. Always wanted to try cooking with wine, probably not ready to since im so new to cooking but its going to happen either way.

Now after that long intro... What kind of wine should i be looking for. Think more of wines that would be good for multiple dishes, price is a factor, taste, ext... I came here cause you all seem to know your stuff hope you can help me out.

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Old 05-24-2008, 03:40 AM   #2
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It really depenens on what you're cooking and your preference. I use a lot of sherry and red wine, with some white wine, vodka, marsala and tequila on occasion. Generally speaking, chicken goes well with white, beef with red. I always use dry. But it really is preference. A general rule of thumb is to buy something that you would drink yourself, although it doesn't have to be expensive. And play =p.

One note, ALWAYS avoid cooking wine. It's packed with enough slat to be unpalatable. It would be better to leave it out entirely than to use.
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Old 05-24-2008, 03:52 AM   #3
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well im looking to make the sauces and from all the goodies left on the pans. Looks good on tv so wanted to give it a shot
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:06 AM   #4
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You might just try a burgundy/ merlot (red) or chardonnay (white). Just pick one and use it. I think you'll be please with whatever you pick. You can always expand from there.
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:19 AM   #5
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Well, frist off - like vyapti said - say away from anything labeled "cooking wine". This is pure crap - poor quality wine which is loaded with enough salt you can't drink it. This stuff came from an era, which still exists today in some places in dry counties, where you can't buy alcohol. By overloading it with salt to the extent you couldn't drink it ... it was available for cooking purposes.

Generally - a dry red or white wine is used for deglazing a pan and making pan sauces. I just use $5-$7 bottles of wine. While wine drinkers will decry the use of "wine in a box" for drinking - it's ideal for cooking wine.

And - the general rule for red or white depends on the meaat - red for red meats, white for white meats. Although that theory gets blow out the window with something like Coq au Vin, and some others.

"Fortified wines" are something else - a blend of wine and distilled liquor (brandy, sherry, port).

What are you trying to make?
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:40 AM   #6
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nothing really in particular. probably first dish will be chicken of some sort want to keep simple.
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Old 05-24-2008, 05:51 AM   #7
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I like to cook with wines myself and don't drink them all that much at home. I've found that bag in a box wines keep much better than corked wines after opening. Better groceries often carry better ones, usually in a smaller package (1 liter instead of 4 or 5), but if you're trying to keep it ultra cheap, just start with the big boxes that are in most supermarkets, that's about as cheap as you're going to find wine anywhere. Personally I cook more with white wines, I like dry ones, definitely not oaky - pinot gris/grigio, riesling and rioja are all very nice for cooking chicken or fish, avoid chardonnay. If you go for the big box, I think the "Crisp white" was decent last time I used it.

A dry sherry is very nice and keeps well, it actually works well in chinese style sauces and marinades, has a very similar flavor when cooked to chinese rice wine, which is more traditionally used in that cuisine.

Dry vermouth actually a makes a fine inexpensive substitute for white wine and keeps nicely too.
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Old 05-24-2008, 09:12 AM   #8
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For a greast all purpose wine to enhance just about any dish, pick up a bottle of dry vermouth. It will last forever in a kitchen cabinet and works well for pan sauces and recipes calling for wines.
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Old 05-24-2008, 02:07 PM   #9
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Another option for trying different types of wines is to look for the 4-packs of small bottles. I keep one of red (merlot) and one of white (usually pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc). You'll use most, if not all, of a bottle in one recipe, so they don't need to keep for later. HTH.
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:21 PM   #10
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wel I'm no expert, but I've been buying lakewood wines. There pretty cheap. I have a white and a merlot. There not that bad either for a cheap wine. I'm not a big wine person drinking wise though. The man who works at the store, said that it's a decent wine to cook with. Said to leave in refrigerator after opening and it should be good for a month or possibly more.
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Old 05-25-2008, 10:04 AM   #11
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If you're really serious about cooking with wine, I would suggest you go to a bookstore or your local library and get books that specialize in cooking with wine. There are some very good ones out there that will give you a complete education on cooking with wine and the wines to use. That's if you're really serious.
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legend_018 View Post
wel I'm no expert, but I've been buying lakewood wines. There pretty cheap. I have a white and a merlot. There not that bad either for a cheap wine. I'm not a big wine person drinking wise though. The man who works at the store, said that it's a decent wine to cook with. Said to leave in refrigerator after opening and it should be good for a month or possibly more.
That would be true if the wine is in a box. If it's in a bottle, a week is more like it.

One of the many great advantages to cooking with dry vermouth (Noilly Prat is by far the best brand available), is that it WILL keep after opening for a month or so, or until you use it up. as opposed to white wine, which, even in the fridge will be dead in a week if you don't drink it up.
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DramaQueen View Post
If you're really serious about cooking with wine, I would suggest you go to a bookstore or your local library and get books that specialize in cooking with wine. There are some very good ones out there that will give you a complete education on cooking with wine and the wines to use. That's if you're really serious.
DQ, all that information is in good basic books like Julia Child's "The Way to Cook," or La Varenne Pratique by Anne Willan, and many others (including mine). you don't need a special book on the subject.
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Old 05-25-2008, 07:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by calicoolguy View Post
First off i have been cooking since last november and i love it. When im bored i think of things to cook. Im a poor mans cook. Im 23 cook only one person meals. Being 23 the cheaper the better so what i use usually isnt the top notch stuff some of you may be used to. I have been crusing these forums for a bit now and had to ask about wine. Im not a wine drinker so the wine(s) i do get i would like to last a bit so im guessin i would need fortified wine? But besides that no idea what to get. I cook mostly simple stuff chicken and beef here and there but usually all over the place with what i make. Always wanted to try cooking with wine, probably not ready to since im so new to cooking but its going to happen either way.

Now after that long intro... What kind of wine should i be looking for. Think more of wines that would be good for multiple dishes, price is a factor, taste, ext... I came here cause you all seem to know your stuff hope you can help me out.
Hi Calicoolguy,
The golden rule when cooking with wine is only cook with a wine that you would be prepared to drink!

Having said this I would add a few rules - for a Boeuf Bourguinnone or a Coq au Vin I would use a French Burgundy. Perhaps a wine buff living in the USA (I live in Europe) may be able to advise you about a suitable alternative - I have no doubt there are some. When making Italian dishes I use Italian wines and for Spanish dishes, Spanish wines.

Perhaps, as you don`t drink wine, you could invest in a wine bottle stopper which would exclude oxygen from the wine and enable you to keep the wine for longer. The type of product which I have in mind closes off the bottle and you should be able to store it in the fridge or a cool place. In the UK, most supermarkets or wine shops sell "wine stoppers".

Sherry (dry) Marsala, brandy, gin and whisky may all be used in cooking but they tend to be recipe specific. For example, I make a dish called Veal Genievre. In this, veal is cut into strips. Sliced onions andd mushrooms are sautéed and put aside. The veal strips are then sautéed and deglazed with gin and then the onions and mushrooms returned to the pan. Following this heavy or double cream is added and the whole is then seasond and reduced a little bit and served with rice. You could do the same dish using strips of a prime cut of beef with whisky or lamb using a dry sherry.

Hope this helps,
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Old 05-25-2008, 07:22 PM   #15
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hey everyone just wanted to say thank u for the replies. got a nice little list of everyones oppinions on what to try from kinds of wine to the vermouth. Probably going to cook something this monday or tues and will let everyone know how it went. Again thanks for the comments and keep em coming lol.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:16 AM   #16
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If you have a Trader Joe's near you, pick up a couple of bottles, one red and one white, of Charles Shaw wines, better known as "2 buck Chuck" (because they only cost $2.00 a bottle). They really are drinkable, but if you use, let's say 1/3 of a bottle in a recipe, and the rest sits for a long time in your refrigerator, at 2 bucks a bottle you don't feel all that bad about throwing the rest away.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:48 AM   #17
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Quote:
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If you have a Trader Joe's near you, pick up a couple of bottles, one red and one white, of Charles Shaw wines, better known as "2 buck Chuck" (because they only cost $2.00 a bottle). They really are drinkable, but if you use, let's say 1/3 of a bottle in a recipe, and the rest sits for a long time in your refrigerator, at 2 bucks a bottle you don't feel all that bad about throwing the rest away.


They may be okay to cook with, but please don't serve them to me....
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:06 AM   #18
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If you have a Trader Joe's near you, pick up a couple of bottles, one red and one white, of Charles Shaw wines, better known as "2 buck Chuck" (because they only cost $2.00 a bottle). They really are drinkable, but if you use, let's say 1/3 of a bottle in a recipe, and the rest sits for a long time in your refrigerator, at 2 bucks a bottle you don't feel all that bad about throwing the rest away.
In Vegas, "2 buck chuck" is now 3 bucks. It's still cheaper than gas.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:27 PM   #19
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Ok well went ahead and gave it a shot last night. Umm came out ok i guess but i have never had a meal that had a wine deglaze so have nothing to compare it with lol. Since not use to wine was a bit of flavor to it, wasnt bad just was new. It was my first shot so was pleased. Thanks again guys.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:31 AM   #20
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So what kind of wine did you end up using? And how did you use it? Did you have any questions about deglazing, or did it go the way you expected? Would you say that the deglazed sauce was a worthwhile improvement over how you did things before?

Sorry for tons of questions, but it seems like these are worthwhile things to think about if you're investing in wines for the first time and on a tight budget. Plus we're all interested in knowing after discussing it here in this thread.
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