Best white wine for cooking?

Joined Feb 16, 2014

I wondered what do you guys and girls think is the best kind of white wine for cooking? I'm not a wine drinker myself so not to sure.

For dishes with red wine I normally use a port because it isn't bitter and sweetens nicely.

But I'm not to sure what to use for white wine. It will mainly be used for white wine sauces and risottos, things like that. I'm looking for something not to bitter. But not to expensive.
Joined Oct 31, 2012
Unfortunately, it depends. Given the complexity of wines and their flavors, there is no one right answer.  A Reisling might be good, or  a Chardonnay depending on what you are making but it also may depend on the year and where it comes from. And what was good one year may no longer be available because it has all been drunk.

     Good wine doesn't have to be expensive. You can get a good bottle for under $20 just about anywhere. After you drink it, you may decide you like a different varietal. So practice (drinking plenty)  is important and lots of fun when done with friends. 

 I presume you aren't making dessert so a dry white would be appropriate generally. But you can always ask the wine seller. There should be someone who can point you in the right direction. Tell them what you are making and your price range and they will make a suggestion. 

Then make sure you drink a little before you cook with it. If it's agreeable, use it. If not, buy a different bottle. Perhaps two so you can drink the same wine with the dish you made with that wine. 

   To those who don't like wine, I always say that it's because you haven't drunk enough of it. My first glass years ago was rather unpleasant. But over the years I've tried many different bottles and have greatly enjoyed some. Eventually you begin to understand what it is you enjoy or dislike about different wines so you can then make quicker selections but trying them is the only way to know. 

     When you make inquiries at the store, try and find the owner, who should have sufficient knowledge and experience to help you. If it seems like all the employees are no more than clerks with personal opinions, find another store. 
Joined Dec 12, 2013
Boxed franzia actually has a nice sweet taste. Either "crisp white" or something close to that name is pretty standard. A nice Riesling or Chardonnay is good too for certain things but I swear by the franzia.
Joined Dec 23, 2004
I used to a major wino but I quit drinking a few years ago.  IMO it's not all that important what you use- the high temps of cooking destroy the subtly to a great degree.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
In general, it really doesn't matter what kind of white wine you use to cook with, other than the overall rule of, "if you wouldn't drink it don't cook with it."  And even to that statement I would add-"unless you are a wine snob."  All but the crappiest wines are fine for cooking, IMHO.  Of course there are exceptions to that rule when you will want to splurge a little, but generally, an inexpensive bottle of whatever is fine.  At most of my places, we would use unoaked white wines (usually) which generally meant Pinot Grigios or Sauvignon Blancs and for reds we usually stayed with lighter, less tannic reds such as Merlots, Pinots, or what-have-you, or whatever the Wine Steward had for open bottles that he was going to dump.  Most of the time, unless you are going to be reducing a very large amount of wine at one time most of the properties of the wine really won't make much of a difference.  The exception being sweet wines.  Sweet wines will definitely lend some sweetness to the end product so you need to be careful about their use in cooking.  I don't use them for cooking unless I want a touch of sweetness in the end result.  If you are going to be reducing a large amount of wine for something then you definitely want to stay away from tannic wines or wines that display a lot of oak qualities as those will end up coming across as bitter in the final product.
Joined Oct 15, 2012
As has been said before, if it's an unpleasant drink, it will make your food taste unpleasant, too. Any good-value dry wine is fine, unless you're aiming for something specific like a Riesling "thing" in your wine-and-butter sauce, which I sometimes do. Extremely cheap plonk will impart its unpleasantness; it will be magnified by reduction. On the other hand, expensive wine won't get even better by reduction, either, so it tends to be a waste of money.

I have frequently seen cooks use wine that's gone corky or oxidised and they didn't know, because they didn't know the first thing about wine. Should be avoided at all costs...


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