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Have you ever wondered why master chefs add wine to cooking recipes? The answer to this puzzle is simple – They do it to add a special “crisp” and certain aromatic flavors to the recipe. If you also want to make your favorite dish taste like heaven, you have to get the best dry white wine for cooking.
A good wine can have a dramatic effect on the taste of your dish. The primary use of wine as an ingredient in cooking is to add a specific acidic flavor to the wine. However, it is also used to provide the required moisture, increased flavors, and unique aromas to dishes.
To know the best wines for cooking and all the related information, have a look at our guide for the best cooking wines
With so many options and varieties of wines available in the market, choosing the most suitable one for you might become challenging.
So after considering all the crucial factors, trends, and reviews from wine connoisseurs, here is the list of the best dry white wines for cooking:
Top 10 Best Dry White Wines For Cooking 2021
Our first wine on the list is Didier Dagueneau white wine that comes from the picturesque vineyards of Pouilly-Fumé,France.
This French Sauvignon blanc has got all the required factors to be called the best dry white wine for cooking. It is strong, has a tangy high acidity, and a moderate alcohol content (12.72%).
It opens with rich smells of citrus, grapefruit, lemon and later moves into delicate fruity smells of apple, pear, peach, and subtle mineral, oaky notes. On the mouth, it has a wonderful blend of peach and other fruity flavors.
Lastly, it has a beautiful color, with slight pinkish hues that make it an exceptionally graceful wine. So if your recipe calls for super-dry wine, you should definitely go for this French Sauvignon Blanc.
Sauvignon Blancs are the driest of the dry wines, and that’s why they are the most preferred wines for cooking. Their highly acidic and dry composition makes them ideal for adding to recipes.
So, the next wine on our list is also a Sauvignon Blanc from the beautiful Lail Vineyards, Napa Valley, US. It is a powerful wine that becomes an excellent pair with a spicy dinner and adds marvelous flavors to your favorite dishes.
It has a strong nose with fruity smells of peach, melon, pear, and secondary smells of oak, coconut, and vanilla. On the palate, it has a smooth mix of pears, melons, and grapefruit with other citrus flavors.
It is a light-bodied wine with great minerality, medium acidity, and a long smooth finish.
Didier Dangueneau’s Buisson Renard is another wine from the Louis Benjamin winery that is ideal for preparing your favorite recipe. It has a light body and a powerful dry and acidic flavor that makes it suitable for cooking.
It is praised for its clean flavors and the soft shock that it brings to your taste buds.
It has a power-puffed blend of fruity and mineral notes. It’s a combination of citrus, lime, grapefruit perfumes with apple, pear, and honey notes. Plus, it reveals its mineral and smoky hints with time, making it a highly expressive wine
On the palate, it has an intense fruity mixture of apple and honey with traces of tangerine, gooseberry, accompanied by a long minerally finish.
Cloudy Bay’s Sauvignon blanc comes straight from the serene vineyards of the southern island, New Zealand.
This is a robust wine with a medium-body, intense dryness, and powerful acidity. Whether you’re preparing your favorite lobsters or a mouth-watering dessert, this Sauvignon Blanc is going to add great flavors to your recipe.
It has a strong oaky flavor with hints of citrus fruits, grapefruit, and chocolate. On the mouth, its palate is a fine blend of acidic flavors and sweet fruits that adds a subtle sweetness to its dry taste. Plus, with time, it offers gentle flavors of tropical fruits and earthy, mineral notes and ends with a long finish.
So, if you’re willing to have it on its own before using it in cooking, serve it chilled with spicy fish or lobster meal.
This is another Didier Dangueneau wine on our list of best dry white wine for cooking. It has received plenty of critical acclaim and positive reviews from wine lovers and wine advocates worldwide.
The obvious reasons are – It is a medium-bodied yet powerful Sauvignon Blanc with great dryness and medium to high acidity. It has delightful rich textures and a lingering finish that begins with fresh fruity flavors and ends with dominant earthy essences.
Its finely balanced aroma begins with fruity perfumes of citrus, apricots, and grapefruits followed by mineral and honey notes. On the palate, it offers a sweet combination of citrus fruits, almonds, honey, apple, peach, and pear.
You can enjoy it with veggies, fish, or cheese and prepare the same items with this wine as well.
Turnbull Josephine’s Sauvignon Blanc is a white delight from the vineyards of Oakville region, US. Turnbull Josephine is one of the first wineries of the Oakville region and has greatly contributed to developing the region’s vineyards.
Its 2017 vintage is the most popular and top-ranked vintages in the whole world. To give it its authentic taste, these wines are stored in both concrete as well as amphorae vessels.
Its striking bouquet consists of honeysuckle, white peach, and hints of lychee and passion fruit. Across the palate, you will find refreshing flavors of lime and pear.
Finally, it has a light-bodied structure, but at the same time, it is highly intense in power and flavor. Plus, its robust finish is definitely one of the qualities that make it such a universally loved product.
Rudd Sauvignon Blanc is a versatile white wine that comes from the Mount Veeder region, US. It is a great wine, and if you like strong and acidic white wines, you’ll certainly like a glass of it before adding it to your meal.
It has a compact mix of scents ranging from citrus, grapefruit, peach, and other fruity mixes with hints of nectarine and stone. Plus, its intense palate of fruits such as melon and peach with honey, stone, and minerals make it a pure delight.
Besides that, its mineral tones and balanced finish make it a powerful wine.
The next wine on our list is Christian Tschida’s Laissez-Faire. It is an Austrian white wine prepared in the famous Neusiedlersee Lake region. This region is particularly famous for its sweet white wines and recent dry red wines made from Zweigelt grapes.
Christian Tschida has been preparing some brilliant wines recently, and Laissez-Faire is one of their finest products. It is a medium-bodied dry white wine with medium to high acidity. It is made of Pinot Blanc grapes only and can spend two years in big old barrels.
The best part about this wine is the tangy energy it provides with every sip. It has spicy scents of fennel and anise with a complex bouquet of minerals and earthy smells. On the palate, Laissez-Faire offers a delicate mix of blackcurrant, plum, and dark-fruit flavors with subtle mineral notes.
It is an ideal wine for cooking purposes, especially if you are cooking spicy dishes and need some less fruity aromas and flavors.
From the vineyards of St. Helena, US, to your kitchen, Sinegal Sauvignon Blanc travels a lot for you. This vintage is made from the selected Sauvignon Blancs of the valley and prepared after some highly advanced methods and procedures.
It has a complex nose with white peach aromas mixed with ripe honeydew melon, orange blossoms, and caramelized creme brulee. Plus, if you wait for a while, you’ll get some secondary scents of mint leaf and wet stones.
On the mouth, it has a complex mix that starts with green apples, grapefruits, and lime zest and moves on to lemongrass and honeycomb.
The last delicacy on our list of the best dry white wine for cooking is Paul Prieur & Fils’ French white wine. Its 2015 vintage was ranked one of the best wines in the world, and you’re indeed going to love it for its flavors and fine quality.
It is made from the choicest Sauvignon Blancs of Sancerre vineyards and is ideal for cooking as well as drinking purposes. Thus, you can have it on its own or make your favorite saucy pasta with it.
It has a light body with a medium-dry and acidic nature. It is a perfect blend of ideal balance, creamy texture, and a lovely depth.
Its nose opens with mineral notes amalgamated with stone, flint, and fruity scents of green apple, peach, and lime fruits. On the palate, you get a rich blend of earthy flavors that later evolve into fruity tastes of grapefruit and pear.
Factors To Consider While Choosing The Best Dry White Wine For Cooking
Buying wine for cooking purposes might look like an easy task where you can go for an inexpensive and accessible variety. However, the case isn’t so simple. A wine can affect the taste of a recipe to a great extent, and you must add it with a lot of care and precaution.
A good wine can give your dish a wonderful and pleasant taste, and similarly, a poor or unsuitable one can ruin it. Hence, it becomes essential for you to choose the best one.
To help you out, here is a list of factors that you must consider while buying wine for cooking –
1. Acidity And Type Of Wine
The basic flavor that you want your wine to add to your food is a crisp acidity. For this purpose, you need a wine with high acidity and extra dryness. Sweet wines are not preferred for cooking purposes because they may caramelize and add unwanted extra sweetness to your dish.
So the best wine that will fulfill all these requirements is a full-bodied white wine with less sweetness and tangy flavors. These wines are versatile and you can use them with most of your dishes (unless you’re making a dessert). So Sauvignon Blancs or Pinot Grigio, or Oaked Chardonnay, are ideal for cooking.
If you are making sweet dishes, you may go for Riesling or you can also add some unoaked Chardonnay to balance the sweetness levels.
2. Alcohol Levels
The next factor is the alcohol content of the wine.
You do not want to get tipsy from just eating your food, do you? Neither would you want everything to taste like alcohol!
So, a wine with low or moderate alcohol levels (less than 13-14%) is good enough for cooking. A light-bodied wine generally has low alcohol levels, so you can check the body type and choose your wine accordingly.
3. The Food And The Recipe
This factor is similar to choosing the food partner for your wine. Light-flavored wines are ideal for airy foods such as poultry, pasta, white meat, etc. Similarly, red wine is best for beef, lamb, or other bold dishes. However, you can always experiment on your own and see what suits you the best.
Many recipes provide instructions of which wine you should add, while others mention the quantity and simply say wine. In such cases, you can use a fine quality wine that would suit the recipe.
As already mentioned, if you are preparing a savory dish, go for dry wines and if you are making a sweet fish, go for sweet wines.
Additionally, you can also check what kind of food is grown in the region where the wine originated. Preparing such matching food will definitely produce a natural combination and would taste brilliant with the wine.
Now comes an unforgettable factor- Money!
You don’t want to use your priceless classic 100 years old vintage for cooking lobsters, right? Similarly, you won’t prefer the taste of a wine you cannot drink, in your meal either. Therefore, the solution is to go for a wine that you would “like” to drink.
There is no need to go for an expensive $100 wine that you “love” and adore. Instead, you can go for a nice quality wine ($8 to $12) that you would “like” to have. Following this rule would offer you the desired taste without the fear of overspending on wine for cooking.
5. Avoid “Cooking Wines”
This factor is not about buying a particular variety but actually staying away from a certain type of “wine.”
In many grocery stores, you will find these bottles in the cooking or vinegar section labeled “Cooking Wine” or “Sherry Cooking Wine.” These products have low or no alcohol content in them and lots of added salt and other additives.
Instead of going to a regular grocery store to buy a cooking wine, we recommend you go to a liquor store or purchase from the wine department of a store.
What Does A Wine Bring To Your Recipe?
You must have seen chefs adding wines to several recipes, and chances are, you have already had some dish with wine added as an ingredient.
If you are new to cooking with wine or are willing to prepare your favorite dish with it, you must know why wine is used in meals and what it brings to the taste of the food!
Always remember that wine is an acid ingredient in any recipe. It adds a crisp flavor to any dish and simultaneously delivers the desired moisture to it. Here are several other examples where you can use wine while cooking
- Deep frying a fish kills its nutrition level. So, you can cook it with wine and decrease the fat content. It would add moisture to your fish and keep its nourishing elements high all the while.
- While marinating, you can add wine to the meat, poultry, or seafood to get soft and moist food while cooking. It would also add a certain acidic flavor to your dish.
- You can add a small amount of wine to the oil to saute your veggies, as it would give a fresh blend of aromas, flavor, and moisture to them.
- You can add/replace the usual oil with white or sweet wine to make a cake’s batter. It would add lots of flavor and delicate smells to your cake.
- Lastly, you can add wine to food while it is simmering, to add some great flavors and moisture to it.
Which Wine Is Best For Cooking?
With so many grape varieties, regions of production, brands, and features, you have many smart options when it comes to buying wines. However, for cooking purposes, some selected varieties of wines are ideal.
The names of a few most suitable varieties and their uses are described below –
1. Sauvignon Blanc
Sauvignon Blanc is the most preferred wine for cooking purposes. The reasons behind it are its crisp and dry nature. Plus, its citrusy and herbaceous notes add a solid flavor to the dishes.
It is great for making fish, marinating meat, or preparing a risotto. You can saute your fish or veggies with this wine, and it would give a lot of desired aromas and flavors to it.
2. Pinot Grigio
Pinot Grigio is the most common wine used for cooking purposes and, unquestionably, a great option that you should use.
It is a dry and crisp wine, which is ideal for preparing seafood dishes. So, prepare your shrimp or lobsters with a Pinot Grigio for an unprecedented taste!
Chardonnay is a smooth and full-bodied wine that is surely one of the most loved white wines among all other varieties. Unoaked Chardonnay is another nice variety that you can use for cooking chicken dishes or pasta sauce.
However, Chardonnay with too oaky flavors might add unwanted bitterness to your recipe. So, it is advised to go for an unoaked one.
4. Cabernet Sauvignon
Red wines are generally preferred for heavier meat options such as beef. A Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red wine, and you can use it for cooking as well.
It is suitable for marinating meat or braising tough proteins such as ribs. It will soften the texture of the meat and make it easy to soak the flavors. You can easily use it for spicy dishes as well.
5. Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir are other widely popular red wines. They are lighter in nature than the Cabernets and are a better choice for a light dish.
You can use them for preparing meat stews or for softening hard meat. Soft meat would absorb more flavors and aromas and would certainly make your dish taste better.
6. Fortified Wines
Fortified wines have higher alcohol content (such as 20%) than normal wines. The most popular fortified wines are Marsala, Port, and Sherry.
Marsala has been used for cooking for a long time. Be it Marsala Chicken or Marsala sauce, it has added some classic dishes to its name. It is sweet in nature and used in Italian desserts. Dry Marsala, on the other hand, is good for savory items such as shellfish.
Port is another fortified wine, mostly used in preparing desserts. Lastly, Sherry is an easy to use wine, and you can use it with vegetables or pasta.
In a nutshell, wines can have a huge impact on the taste of your dish. Hence, if you want to level-up your food game, you would need the best dry white wine for cooking.
Our guide to the best dry white wine for cooking has provided you all the information about the best wines and how you should choose the best wine and add it to your recipe. Now, it is your turn to get the best wine for you and make the most memorable meal ever!
1. Which Is The Best Wine For Making A Cake?
For a cake or any other dessert, you should use sweet wines instead of dry wines. However, the best companions are fortified dessert wines that are specially made for desserts. They have higher alcohol content and a velvety texture than simple red wines.
Dark-fruited red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignons are great options. They match chocolate’s toastiness and add great flavor to chocolate cakes.
Lastly, you can also use Riesling wines for dessert purposes.
2. How To Store Opened Wine Bottles For Cooking?
If you have opened a wine bottle for cooking, you should always store it in a cool and dark place after that. So, put the cork back and keep the bottle in refrigeration in an upside-down position.
Just take care that you don’t move the bottle frequently from one temperature to another, as this would damage the wine.
3. Should I Use Red Wine With Tomato Gravies?
There is a general misconception about associating red with tomatoes and adding red wines to tomato gravies.
In actuality, whenever you get confused about what wine to use, you should follow the “red for heavy” and “white for light” meat rules.
Therefore, unless you’re going to add red meat or lamb to your tomato gravy, it is unnecessary to add red wine to it. Instead, you should add white wine if you are making something light, such as pasta or chicken.