White Wine for Bolognese help

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dmb88886

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For many years I've been making a Mario Batali Ragu Bolognese recipe. It uses pancetta, veal, pork and beef, tomato paste but not tomato sauce/or canned tomatoes. It's an excellent recipe that calls for a Dry White Wine. I love the White Wine in it (rather than Red). I've always used a Chardonnay and I think you could also use a Pinot Grigio.


However, I never know what type of Chardonnay or Pinot to use? You can't find ANY information online (at least not easily) relating to how each wine as well as differences within them affect the flavor.


Like I said, I usually get Chardonnay. This past time, I got an oaky chardonnay from California that was "buttery" according to the person in the wine shop.

So the question is, should I be using an oaky/buttery California Chardonnay? Should I be using a French non-oaked more acidic Chardonnay? Should I use a Pinot Grigio?


And how do all of those affect the flavor of the Bolognese in the end? I'd assume the buttery/oak one would make it feel more rich? That's just a guess. It's such a rich dish to begin with, I'm wondering if a fruity/acidic Pinot would help to offset that heaviness? I have no clue if that even makes sense. Does anybody know enough about the details of these wines and how they truly affect the flavor of a dish like this?


Thanks!
 

Recipes Make Magic

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I would think that any Bolognese sauce (particularly Mario Batali's version which is likely quite 'rich' flavor-wise, enjoying a good selection of tasty ingredients) would simply produce an almost indiscernible taste variation no matter what dry white wine is used.
If a Bolognese recipe calls for 'dry white wine', I personally wouldn't get hung up on what type of dry white wine I use. If I liked the taste using chardonnay, I'd stick with it, but if I felt I liked it better with pinot grigio, then that would be my standard ongoing.
Try the pinot and see if you think it beneficially helps the recipe - simply to your taste of course.
 
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dmb88886

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I would think that any Bolognese sauce (particularly Mario Batali's version which is likely quite 'rich' flavor-wise, enjoying a good selection of tasty ingredients) would simply produce an almost indiscernible taste variation no matter what dry white wine is used.
If a Bolognese recipe calls for 'dry white wine', I personally wouldn't get hung up on what type of dry white wine I use. If I liked the taste using chardonnay, I'd stick with it, but if I felt I liked it better with pinot grigio, then that would be my standard ongoing.
Try the pinot and see if you think it beneficially helps the recipe - simply to your taste of course.


Thanks! That's a good point, and true I should just try it next time with the Pinot. However, do you know how those those different ones I mentioned should in theory affect the flavor? Or do you know of any resources on the web that talks about that? You would think there would be plenty out there talking about that, but it's very hard to find. Unless I've just been bad at searching it.
 

Andy M.

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I try to stay away from oaky wines in my cooking (and drinking). It's an Italian dish so go with an Italian wine. The Pinot Grigio sounds good.

BTW, You can get a chardonnay from California that isn't oaky. as RMM said, use what you like.
 

dmb88886

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I try to stay away from oaky wines in my cooking (and drinking). It's an Italian dish so go with an Italian wine. The Pinot Grigio sounds good.

BTW, You can get a chardonnay from California that isn't oaky. as RMM said, use what you like.


I appreciate your response! However, I don't know what I like! That's what I'm trying to figure out as I simply don't know how each wine affects the flavor. I'm just trying to get info on how Pinot's relative to Oaky/Buttery Chardonnay's vs Non-oak acidic French Chardonnay's all would affect the flavor of this dish (or any dish for that matter).


Ideally an online resource for that would be great including all wines, but even if I just get an answer to that, if anybody knows, that would be helpful. Seems like a really tricky topic, cooking with wines, the info all around is quite vague.
 

Recipes Make Magic

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Well, your tongue/taste buds should tell you, really.


You'll figure this out yourself, by just trying it with a Pinot, and see if you prefer it to the taste of what you've been tasting in the past many times with chardonnay.
Or even go further and try it once or twice more with other dry whites, and gauge the flavor change (if any) with them. - e.g. Pinot Blanc; Sauvignon Blanc: Fume Blanc; perhaps even Chablis - a touch of difference from chardonnay.
 
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Rocklobster

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I usually keep a big bottle of Italian white table wine in my fridge for cooking and drinking..I like Coli Albani Fontana di Papa..it is a classic representation of what the local wine is like from the central part of Italy..nice and dry and affordable..goes down good with dinner if served ice cold...
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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A uqick Google search and I found these site that give info on just what you are asking. I would extrapolate the wine parings to usimg the suggested wines in the sauce.

https://www.matchingfoodandwine.com/news/pairings/6_of_the_best_matches_for_spaghetti_bolognese/

Wine Pairing Guide

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/best-white-red-wines-for-cooking

I read each site and all said to be easy on the white wine is ieasily overpowered. Also, using tomato sauce, or canned tomatoes will do the same, hence the reason for using only tomato paste in your Bolognaise.

Hope this helps.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

Valkwijn

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I always make the Bolognese recipe of Jamy Oliver which I like very much. The thing I do differently is adding Carnivor red white which is a Californian red wine. Instead of white wine. It is not white but really a tasteful extra to the recipe.
 

jennyema

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I’m not a fan of oaky buttery chards. For cooking I always use a Pinot Grigio. IMO you want a more neutral tasting wine.
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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I appreciate your response! However, I don't know what I like! That's what I'm trying to figure out as I simply don't know how each wine affects the flavor. I'm just trying to get info on how Pinot's relative to Oaky/Buttery Chardonnay's vs Non-oak acidic French Chardonnay's all would affect the flavor of this dish (or any dish for that matter).


Ideally an online resource for that would be great including all wines, but even if I just get an answer to that, if anybody knows, that would be helpful. Seems like a really tricky topic, cooking with wines,

fo all around is quite vague.

I know nothing about wines as I don't use alcoholic beverages in any form. However, I do know how to cook. I am also an engineer, and so know how to test and record results. Here's how I would approach your dilemma.

As you enjoy wine, there will be no waste as you can either drink what you don't use in you Bolognaise, or use it in some other dish. Purchase a bottle each of the wine varietals you are curious about. Make your bolognaise without the wine. Spoon a portion of your sace into 3 seperate bowls. Add a tbs. of one of the wines to each bowl, labeling type and amount used, Place bowls into the microwave and heat to a simmer on half power for about ten minutes to boil off the excess alcohol. Let sit for ten more minutes stirring a few times to blend the flavors, Taste and record which one tastes the best to you.

Without tasting your sauce before the wine is added, it is nearly impossible for us to make a recommendation. There are just too many variables. Is you sauce on the sweet, herb-rich, or salty side? How pronounced are the spices? How fatty or lean is the meat?

You need to own this one. I have found in cooking that recipes are starting points. Almost all recipes can be altered minutely to make them into something more attuned to your palate.

Try this method and you will have both come up with a great sauce, but will have learned an important cooking lesson that will serve you well'

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

GotGarlic

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I suggest you do some taste testing. Buy a few bottles - even the mini 4-packs - of different white wines and taste them with a dish of your bolognese made as you've been making it. This will tell you how well the sauce goes with the different wines and you will learn which you like best.

I agree with jennyemma that the wine isn't going to make a huge difference in the flavor because there are so many other, stronger ingredients in bolognese. There are flavors that dissolve in alcohol, as well as in water-based liquids and fats. I think that's the primary reason for adding it to the sauce.
 
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