Cooking with wine allows food to absorb lush and diverse flavors. Wine has three main uses in the kitchen as a marinade ingredient, as a cooking liquid, and as a flavoring in a finished dish. Reds lend rich, velvety flavors to meats and decadent desserts. Whites help to create a lighter sauce for broths and pastas, but too much or the wrong style wine can put a stop on a potentially delicious dinner. 

Do not use the so-called cooking wines!  

These wine are typically salty and include other additives that my affect the taste of your chosen dish, If you do not have a good wine to use, it is far better to omit it. The first and most important rule: Use only wines in your cooking that you would drink. Never, never use any wine that you would not drink.


Wine contains sugars, acids and tannins, and each of these will show up on the plate. Subtle characteristics, by contrast, normally disappear with cooking. To maintain balance, check your recipe for acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar and cut back to make room for the acid in the wine. This is especially crucial when cooking with white wine. For delicate fish or vegetables, a dry non-oaked wine works best. If your recipe is packed with onions, carrots and tomatoes, there will be plenty of sugars in the pot, so cooking with a fuller-bodied, less dry red or white wine can integrate perfectly.


Use the type of wine you’d serve with dinner to make the dish. Even better, unless you’re pouring something rare or expensive, buy an extra bottle and cook with it. When you’re cooking with red wine, watch out for tannins. When concentrated in reduction sauces, they can become harsh. Fortunately, proteins found in meat and dairy declaw tannins like milk does tea.

Here are a few very classic French dishes that incorporate wine in the recipe.

Boeuf bourguignon:

The most famous beef stew in France. Boeuf bourguignon is a traditional recipe from Burgundy. The beef meat is cooked in a red wine sauce, obviously a red wine from Burgundy. Bacon, onions, mushrooms and carrots add flavor to the recipe. But thyme, garlic and beef stock are essential to cook a good boeuf bourguignon.


Mussels mariniere:

A typical summer recipe very popular along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coast. Mussels are fresh and cooked in a white wine sauce with parsley, thyme, bay leaf and onion. It takes only 5 minutes to cook a tasteful mussels mariniere.


Coquille St Jacques:

Poached in white wine, scallops are placed atop of mushroom purée in shell, then generously covered with another layer of delicious sauce.


Coq au vin:

This winey chicken braise dotted with pearl onions and button mushrooms. It’s as simple to prepare as it is elegant to serve.


Egg en Meurette:

This recipe wine, made of eggs poached, served in a red wine sauce (sauce bourguignon), composed of red Burgundy wine, bacon, onions, and shallots in butter and served with over a toast.

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