Best White Wines for Cooking
If there’s one thing in this world that is a perfect pair to your meal, it is wine. Whether you’re enjoying a cozy evening meal at home, spending time with friends, or dining at a fancy restaurant, you can count on a delicious bottle of wine and food to bring everyone together for a good time!
However, did you know that wine does not always have to be used for drinking purposes? Many may be surprised to hear that various types of wine can be used for cooking. This is due to its alcohol content, acidity, aroma, and flavor can add a whole new dynamic to your food. One favorite choice among wine connoisseurs is white wine.
Why is White Wine Used for Cooking?
Various white wines, like dry, crisp, and unoaked, have seen widespread use in kitchens. This is mainly because of the unique aspects that each can bring to food. White wines tend to have high acidity, a floral scent, and a fruity taste. These qualities allow the flavor and aroma of your meal to be greatly enhanced.
As mentioned before, white wine is not the only wine you can cook with. Red wines are another popular choice. The main difference between cooking with white and red wine is how they alter the taste of your food.
Whites do not have as many tannins (an organic substance used to protect wine from oxidation during their aging process) as reds. As a result, foods created with white wine have an emphasized sweetness. Meanwhile, red wines add a complementary dry bitterness to your meal that many adore.
What Kind of White Wine to Cook With?
One common type of white wine you can buy is probably located at your nearest grocery store. These are known as “cooking wines.” Unlike your regular bottle of white wine, cooking wines are cheaper and can be easily purchased from local stores. Two things to consider are that these wines have high levels of salt and a lackluster taste.
Therefore, quality white wine is really what you should keep an eye out for. Due to the large variety of white grapes, several white wine options exist. Here are our favorite dry, crisp, and alcohol-heavy white wines you will love.
Chardonnay is perhaps, the most famous dry white wine for cooking. Chardonnay can be made in a number of manners, so its impact on your food will depend on the bottle you pick. Overall, the taste of Chardonnay ranges from apple, peach, pear, melon, and pineapple to vanilla, butter, and crème brûlée. Chardonnays can be separated into two categories: unoaked and oaked.
Due to its high acidity, unoaked Chardonnay brings a more refreshing and fruity delight to one’s taste buds. This is greatly recommended for those looking to add a “minerally” dry taste to your food.
Unlike unoaked Chardonnay, oaked Chardonnay goes through a process called malolactic fermentation. This is where the wine is stored in oaked barrels, so its malic acid can turn into lactic acid. As a result, the oaked Chardonnay tends to have a more soft, “buttery” texture than the unoaked variation.
If you pay close attention to its taste, you’ll also find subtle nuances of vanilla and butterscotch. It is often advised to pair oaked Chardonnay with heavier dishes.
What Foods Can Be Made with Chardonnay?
All in all, the food you’re making dictates which Chardonnay you should use. Looking for a little citric taste in your chicken? Then, add unoaked Chardonnay to your meal. Or if you want a smoother texture for your cream sauces, oaked Chardonnay can help you out with that.
Here are a few recipes that contain Chardonnay:
Pinot Grigio is a beloved crisp white wine that is commonly used in cooking. Its taste can consist of lemon, lime, apple, peach, pear, nectarine, or honeysuckle. Notable characteristics of this wine are its high acidity, lack of tannins, and little to no sweetness.
What foods can be made with Pinot Grigio?
Due to Pinot Grigio’s highly acidic nature and lack of tannins and sweetness, it's best not to cook it in big meals with many flavors or sweet desserts. Instead, opt for lighter dishes that have more controlled use of flavors. Some great options include salads, seafood, and pasta dishes.
Here are a few recipes that contain Pinot Grigio:
Sauvignon Blanc is considered a light, crisp wine due to its high acidity and no tannins. While the taste and smell of some wines can change depending on where they are grown; nothing can deter the distinct herbaceous and fruity qualities of Sauvignon Blanc. Gooseberry, white peach, grapefruit, passion fruit, honeydew, lime, and green apple are the flavors that can be found in it.
What foods can be made with Sauvignon Blanc?
The ideal foods you would want to use Sauvignon Blanc in are lighter meals with high acid levels. This white wine should be one of your primary go-to’s if you’re looking to make something involving poultry, vegetables, seafood, or a dish that incorporates cream.
Here are a few recipes that contain Sauvignon Blanc:
- Sauvignon Blanc-Steamed Mussels with Garlic Toasts
- Lemon Garlic Sauvignon Blanc Braised Chicken
- Green Apple Sauvignon Blanc Sorbet
Cooking with White Wine
In the end, wine comes in various forms. Whether it’s sparkling wine, fortified wine, or even red wine, your choice will ultimately be determined by what your recipe calls for. However, we hope that by reading this, you have learned how versatile and easy it is to cook with white wine.
Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc are some of the most widely used and favorable meal choices. With their aroma, texture, and vast flavors, you can bring your next meal to a new level of deliciousness. With that in mind, start stocking up on wine and get cooking!