If this is your first time cooking with wine, start with a mainstream white or red like Marsala or Barolo. Avoid using cooking wine because it is salty and overpriced. Try to match the wine’s flavor to the flavor of the food as much as you can because when the wine concentrates during cooking, a fruity wine will give a fruity taste to the dish, a sweet wine will add sweetness to the dish and a cooking wine will increase the saltiness of the dish.
For a white wine, use Arneis or Marsala. Strong and dry white wines should be used in cooking, not bitter ones. Marsala can be used to deglaze a pan and to finish dishes like veal marsala. Red wines, like Barolo, Gavi and Docetto d’Alba, work best in red sauces and marinades.
When choosing a red to cook with, pick a deeply-colored, fruity wine low in tannins unless you are making a hearty meat dish, which needs a hearty red wine. When you are more comfortable cooking with wine, you can start experimenting with more daring and flavorful wines. The more you know about the characteristics of your favorite wines the more creative you can get when cooking with them.
* Only cook with a wine that you would drink because if you start with a wine that you do not enjoy, you won’t like the core flavor of your dish.
* A wine should complement or contrast the main ingredient, not overpower it.
* Don’t sacrifice rare or expensive wines in the pan because the alcohol evaporates.
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