Cooking With Wine? Know The Right Ones To Pick And Cook With
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Picking wine feels almost like a task and picking the right kind, an accomplishment. Whether it is in a restaurant or in the aisle of a grocery store, a little fretting over the right kind of wine to pick as a gift for someone or keep you company at dinner is only expected. Between the wine drinkers that seek a buzz and the kind that enjoy it for the rich flavours, there is still a ‘minimum quality’ that one wouldn’t go beyond. But is drinking wine the same as cooking with a bottle, considering what it really boils down to are the flavours and bright richness it contributes to food.

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Big, robust red wines to fruity tart white wines, sweet wines and dry wines, there are many different kinds of wine that are utilised for a handful of uses other than just drinking. From sweet to savoury options like adding a splosh to jams, stews, sauces and trifles, the subtle impact of these fermented grape juices is significant. Recipes lile a coq au vain (chicken braised in wine) or a red wine-cherry compote rely heavily on the wines to bring their full-bodied flavours and hence, it is important to use wines with sweet notes to be paired with dishes where a distinctive sweetness is needed; similarly, pairing savoury or tart wines with dishes that need fruity but savoury notes.

Another key factor to note is that the acidity of white wine changes in saturation while cooking; most noticeably concentrating in flavour rather than diminishing. Hence, it is always best to go by taste and check if a certain amount of tartness works for you or you’d like to amplify it. Similarly, rich red wines turn almost jammy in flavour when cooked for a long time with the lighter kinds becoming fruitier and more pronounced. That said, most white or acidic wines would not need additional souring while being used in sauces or gravies.

While most cases would involve having oneself cook with wine that you would typically enjoy drinking, it might not hold true every single time. Cooking with medium-bodied wines for a longer period of time is ideal to get a balanced flavour in long-cooking recipes whereas a quick jus reduction can be made with a lighter red wine. It is most advisable to purchase a moderately-priced wine for cooking instead of spending a fortune on a bottle that is hard to find. Flawed wine or wine that has gone slightly bad can still be manoeuvred and cooked with, if the flavours of the other ingredients used are slightly overpowering.