Dry White Wine and Cooking

Do you still cherish the first bite you took of lobster bisque with sherry, savory chicken Marsala, or linguine with white wine clam sauce? You do. Right? Don’t you want to re-live it? If yes grab a bottle of dry white wine for cooking, and let’s get going.

Using dry white wine while cooking brings balance, fruit, and acidity to every recipe you add it to. And it surely does expand your cooking style possibilities exponentially. However, while going for the dry white wine, you should remember one thing. The wine’s taste should be ‘good’ on its own. Any compromise with wine’s quality can make a great dish go bad. Fortunately, there are quite many dry white wines available at affordable prices. And if, in any case, you come across anything that is labeled as “cooking wine”, kindly do not consider it since it has already earned that title by having bad taste.

Six main types of cooking wine

  • Rice Wine
  • Sweet White Wines
  • Sweet Fortified Red Wines Like Port
  • Sweet Nutty/Oxidized Wines
  • Dry Nutty/Oxidized Wines
  • Dry Red & White Wines

But we will talk about them in some other blog. This was just an intro.

What is Dry White Wine?

Dry white wine has been a pantry staple for most cooks, and it’s famously known for its versatility. Unlike the other wines, dry white wine is not sweet. However, it is quite “crisp.”

In the wine parlance, “crisp” is used for wines having high acidity, which is very much needed while cooking. To name a few- Sémillon, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and dry sparkling wines are exceptionally the good ones.

Dry wines are ordinarily utilized for deglazing the brown bits for a pan sauce for sautéed mushrooms, pork, chicken, or fish. They are also used to give a good touch of acidity in risotto. And if you are a fan of shellfish, you can even add in some before you cover the lid on for steaming.

Why Use it for Cooking?

Dry white wines are preferred over the sweet ones for preparing lighter recipes such as shellfish, seafood, vegetables, soup, veal, pork, and chicken. Below we gave some examples of these recipes paired with widely available types of wine.

White Meat, Cream Sauces, and Gravies

Go for wines like Chardonnay, Viognier, Chenin Blanc, or Viura, thicker and intensely flavored dry whites wines. They will turn your gravies and sauces thick and creamy, thus giving your recipe a rich texture.

Although we know there are experts in the house, it could get quite tricky for the beginners to monitor how much of the wine has reduced. Another thing, the balancing of acidity, is also there. Therefore, a word of advice, reduce your wine before blending in the cream.

Seafood and Shellfish

Crisp, dry white wines like Pinot Grigio (aka Pinot Gris ), Vinho Verde, Colombard, Verdicchio, or Picpoul de Pinet are highly recommended for preparing seafood and shellfish dishes. They give the recipe a fruity, mineral character that is excellent for cooking seafood. We all like to get creative with cooking but pay attention to acidity as too much of wine can over-extract the fish’s fat when cooking.

Photo by Adrien Sala on Unsplash

Vegetables

When you are cooking vegetables, you want the flavor to be fruity, herbal, and floral, and this is what you’ll get when you use Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is a classic light dry white wine which is the easiest one to cook with.

Apart from this, Grüner Veltliner and Verdejo are wines that you should try with mushrooms, bell peppers, eggplant, swiss chard, artichoke, and Mediterranean-style tomato dishes. You can even add in a little bit of lemon and butter for experiencing the perfect balance of acid and extra deliciousness.

Photo by Andreas Strandman on Unsplash

How to Choose your Dry White Wine for Cooking?

So the rule of thumb simply says to go for a wine that you wouldn’t mind drinking after. Generally, recipes require around a cup or so. So technically, that leaves you with almost an entire bottle of wine for yourself. Keep in mind that heat will only accentuate the wine’s undesirable quality rather than improving them. That’s why choose wisely and do not compromise over quality.

How to Prepare your Dishes with Dry Wine?

This trick directly from the chef’s cookbook, so you can count on it. Pour in some wine at the start of cooking. Why so? Because firstly, as we all know that the wine contains alcohol, and splashing it at the start will give it a chance of burn off. Secondly, if you add wine when you finish cooking, you will have a dish with an unpleasant raw-wine taste.

How to Store your Dry White Wine after Cooking?

As you open the bottle of wine, the oxidation process starts, leading to adverse changes in flavor. After using the wine for cooking, recork it and place it in the refrigerator to slow down the oxidization process. And surely do remember to use it within several days.

However, you have an unopened wine bottle, you can store it in a dark and cool place.

Bonus Tips for Cooking

  • If you are thinking of preparing cream sauces, you should first cook the wine separately and reduce it to half. Once you reduce the wine from where you had started, pour in the cream. Usually, most of the utmost recipes need a 3/4 to 1/2 cup of wine.
  • The white wine which you just used for cooking is suitable for cooking for two weeks and is drinkable for up to a week.
  • To deglaze after sautéing vegetables, simply splash a few tablespoons of wine into the cooking pan.
  • If you are not much of an ‘alcohol’ flavor person but do like the wine’s crispness and acidity, try cooking it for longer. The more you cook, the less will be the alcohol in the dish. And it can even take up to 2.5 hours of simmering to completely eliminate the alcohol.
  • To help caramelize and tenderize the meat in cooking, you can always add a few tablespoons of wine to marinades.
  • For mussels, clams, oysters, splash some wine into the broth to steam or poach.