Cooking with wine. The New York Times says to save your money as any wine will do!
2$ wine, perfect for cooking
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Save your money for drinking wine
Everyone knows that you should never cook with a wine that you wouldn't want to drink, right? Well apparently, we've all been taken for suckers. A recent expose in the New York Times, which involved a blind tasting with several wine experts and cooking professionals, proved that the drinkability of the wine is not necessarily the most important factor in determining it's appropriateness for cooking, and in fact many of the more expensive "quality wines" actually performed far worse when cooked, in the blind tasting.
Now this doesn't mean that you can use seriously old, funky smelling or otherwise bad wine, but it does mean that a 4$ bottle of wine is probably just as good for that pan sauce as a 12$ bottle or a 50$ bottle.
It turns out that because the cooking will remove a lot of the subtleties from a wine, the basal characteristics are more important. So think about the heaviness, the tannic quality and the acidity of the wine, when deciding if it's a match for your meal, and forget about the finer aromas of subtle apricots and the like…they don’t stand a chance.
Whatever wine you do end up using for cooking, it is important to always cook with it quite gently. Nothing destroys a wine sauce faster than a vigorous boil, so always keep any wine well below the simmer.
Pick up some two buck chuck, and have it at the ready for your next quick pan sauce or braise, and save your money for the stuff you're actually going to drink!
Additionally, never throw out those dregs of a bottle of wine. This leftover wine is cooking gold, and should always be saved, saving you from wondering whether or not to open a bottle the next time a ½ cup of wine is required. Simply freeze any leftover wine in a zip lock bag (label it, if you do this a lot) and you've got a frozen cooking wine cellar, at the ready!
The wine experts (of which I confess I am not) will always tell you that price doesn’t necessarily equate to quality. Most of us tend to forget this as we're browning at the wine shop though, and disregard some great value wines, thinking that their price disqualifies them from decency. Find a good wine store with a knowledgeable staff, and use their expertise to find great value wines, at very reasonable prices.
Mmm, sautéed chicken in sparkling wine and wild mushrooms, pork chops in sour sherry and red wine, cod with clams and Riesling….