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Cooking with Wine

I like the W.C. Fields quote “I always cook with wine, and sometimes put it in the food.”

Cooking wines are of a poor quality and contain salt to get around the liquor tax. Use only a wine suitable for drinking. It is preferable to use a wine that will be drunk with the dish, but this is more applicable to kitchen cooked dishes, especially sauces. There are red, white, and pink (rosé) wines; all available with and without bubbles. Red wine is made from red grapes, the color coming from their skin. White wines are made from both red and white grapes, but if made from red the skin must be removed before pressing. Rosé wine includes some of the red grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as a red wine. Red grapes generally require a longer growing season then white. Therefore, they are more commonly grown in warmer regions like the Mediterranean and California. Whites are more common in norther regions, such as Germany, northern France, and New England. Sparkling wines, such as champagne or prosecco, undergo a second fermentation after bottling. The carbonation (CO2) comes from the second fermentation after they are bottled and the CO2 produced dissolves into the wine. Sparkling wines are seldom used in cooking. I am primarily a red wine drinker and always have some available for cooking. In case I need a small amount of white wine for cooking, rather than opening a full 750 ml bottle I keep a supply of miniature (100 ml, 3.4 oz.) or split (187 ml, 6.3 oz.) bottles handy.

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