White wine is a must-have in a chef’s pantry. It is called dry because it is very little or no residual sugar left during the fermentation process, thus the non-sweet or very little taste. When you cook, you definitely just want the best white wine in your specialty.
Are you looking for some ways to put your cooking to the next level?
Read on and check out our top choices on the best dry white wine for cooking to help you decide which one deserves a spot in your pantry!
Best Dry White Wine for Cooking on the 2023 Market
Adding white wine to foods may sound intimidating for some because they worry it would change the taste they want. Fret not, food lovers! In fact, the alcohol in wines aids in releasing flavor molecules in foods and helps in dissolving fats, allowing all the ingredients to boost their own unique tang.
Some say cheap wines may do the job but might not bring out the best taste. However, expensive wines are usually costly because the production takes a big budget. While the ones with whopping tags come from a more quality yield, it doesn’t mean that the less expensive ones don’t give satisfaction.
So we’ve got you covered! We listed down our top 5 dry white wines for your mouth-watering recipes, from meaty dishes to appetizing seafood.
Frey Wines Natural White
[amazon box=”B01N9CJ9YB” ]
When it comes to cooking with wine, you choose one that is equally drinkable, according to your taste. You don’t want wine on your food that you can’t even gulp, do you? This is what Albertina does. It is excellent for relaxing evening drinks, as well as for cooking.
This crisp, refreshing wine was tended on the vine until ultimate flavor and ripeness were achieved. It contains 13.7% alcohol which is just perfect for tenderizing meat. It has rich aromas of plum and cherries with a long spicy finish. It is best recommended for cooking seafood, like a normal Pinot Grigio.
- Balanced savor, it has a taste but is not too sweet
- It is also perfect for making sauces
- Its alcohol content is perfect for tenderizing beef
- Excellent for marinating meat
- Desirable aroma
- Taste is perfect for drinking too.
- Not available in most wine stores.
Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
[amazon box=”B0016H740U” ]
This bestseller wine is perfect for infusing, especially in Asian-influenced dishes. It provides a vigorous aroma of melon, pear, golden apple, and floral blossoms. Its luxurious flavors of honey, grapefruit, tangerine, and lychee are perfect for any food that produces a balanced finish. It is crisp and light, which gives a refreshing tang to foods. It contains 12.8 % alcohol which makes it perfect for beef and seafood.
Its moderate acidity allows full control when mixing with foods. When increased acidity is desired on the foods, pouring more amount does the job. Whereas, if the dish requires lower acidity, mixing a small amount is possible, too. Everything is balanced in this savory wine: crisp, acidity, sweetness, and dryness.
- Crisp and light but with flavors
- A pleasant aroma that arouses appetite
- Fresh and balanced finish
- Perfect for meat and seafood
- Silky texture.
- Bitterness may be too much for some.
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
[amazon box=”B0016H3968″ ]
A wine that offers flavorful aromas of citrus, tropical fruit, and crushed herb while giving rich flavors of ripe tropical fruit with passion fruit, melon, and grapefruit. Produced in the northern tip of New Zealand, it comes from assorted grapes that yield diverse and delicious wines. It is versatile in that you can drink it from the bottle or mix it with your foods to add flavors.
This Sauvignon Blanc has a balanced spicy and peppery taste. Its 13% alcohol content is just perfect for any kind of dish with a little hotness, like meat, chicken, and seafood. It is crisp with mouthwatering acidity that helps bring out the pleasant flavors of your cuisine.
- Moderate dryness
- Very flavorful
- Aromatic, fruity, and fresh
- It has a good, balanced finish.
- Higher acidity
- Might be too sweet for some dishes.
Saracco Moscato d’Asti 2012
[amazon box=”B0075PRBJG” ]
A crisp, bubbly and delicious wine that has the sweetness from the natural residual sugar. The beautiful aromas of grapes can be enjoyed in this unique wine. As a Moscato, its low alcohol content gives options to food lovers wanting to infuse it into their foods but don’t want the intoxicating part. Its gentle sweetness makes it perfect for dishes that have a sweet flavor.
Its vibrant acidity is made for foods as well as for toasting on hot summer days. It is crisp and refreshing without an aftertaste. This fresh Moscato provides a fruity aroma while tendering a creamy finish. It is perfect for both drinking and cooking. And the good news is it is budget-friendly, which makes you order more.
- Excellent for desserts
- Lower alcohol content for those who don’t want too much alcohol in their foods
- Moderate acidity
- Crisp and fruity taste.
- Too sweet for some dishes like meat.
Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Charles Smith Wines
[amazon box=”B005JTXW8Y” ]
A Riesling that has a light dry finish. Its sweetness is just right for any cuisine. It is crisp and refreshing with balanced acidity that goes well with spicy foods. It is fairly dry with fruity flavors of melon, pear, honey, and even green banana. Its high acidity and refreshing acidity are balanced with a medium finish.
Its 12% alcohol content, like a normal Riesling, complements meet. As a marinade, it brings out the best flavor of the ingredients of your dishes. Its lemon aroma surprises you as you open the bottle and pour a generous amount into your food. Moreover, it is an excellent partner of any food and at the same time, a flattering pair that aids in making your meals delectable.
- Good value for money
- Balanced sweetness
- Goes well with any kind of food, sweet, sour, or salty
- Light tannin, mild bitterness.
- Higher acidity.
Factors to Consider When Selecting a Dry White Wine for Cooking
Do you remember the first time you indulged in a cuisine that’s finger-licking good? Was it so special that you are inspired to experiment and add some adventures to your cooking? Probably it had some ingredients that made it exceptional. Perhaps the credit goes to a delightful wine.
If you are planning to impress your guests with some unique flavorful recipes with a nice wine, you might need to look at some factors before pouring some leftover wines into your beloved dishes.
It is one of the biggest reasons for incorporating wine into foods. Know that the pungency of the wine will be more pronounced as it cooks the food. It helps tenderize meat or seafood outside for even cooking. As foods are tenderized, it penetrates and adds flavors. When wine is used as a marinade, it helps retain the moisture of the food while it is cooking.
The secret of chefs is to add the wine early in the cooking so it has ample time to impart its goodness to the food. Start with a small amount, then wait for at least ten minutes to taste, and add more if desired. But when trying to impress some guests, you don’t want to add too less or too much. Both give undesirable results.
The acidity of white wines also complements the taste of foods according to characteristics. Salty foods boost their acidity of it. Very high acid leaves a metallic taste to salty foods. So pouring an initial small amount is a significant step throughout your cooking. For sweet dishes, high acidity gives an unpleasant taste and alters sweetness.
Flavor of the food
The characteristics of whatever dish you’re planning are another factor to consider when choosing which wine you’re getting home with. If you feel like cooking with wine, Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc are an all-around choice that brings a fresh and herbal twist.
If the dish has a spicy taste, you want to opt for a more aromatic white wine. Gewürztraminer, Riesling, and Viognier have equally robust fruity flavors and tropical floral aromas that neutralize heavily spiced dishes. For sweet desserts, going for sweet red wines rather than dry whites match the sweet palate.
If going for a food with high vinegar level, pair it with a variety with higher acidity like Riesling. In general, avoid unoaked, dry, medium-bodied white wines or labeled as “cooking wines” as they contain more additives and salt.
The alcohol in the wine evaporates as it cooks with food. Generally, when you simmer and bake your wine-infused dishes by stirring the alcohol for two and a half hours, only 5% of the alcohol is retained. Whereas when you only bake them without stirring for 25 minutes, 45% of the alcohol remains. It means that the conditions of cooking affect the percentage of alcohol left in the finished product, that can make you tipsy.
When you want to be extra creative in your kitchen and produce a unique dish, consider the alcohol content. If you are cooking dishes that don’t require hours of simmering, you might want to choose a variety that contains lower alcohol. Because if you do otherwise, you will end up feasting on a meal that tastes more alcohol than the real savor. For spicy foods, low to moderate alcohol is recommended since higher ones reinforce their hotness from peppers and spices.
So what is low, moderate, or high alcohol content? Generally, white wines’ average alcohol content is at 10%. However, depending on the kind, it ranges from as low as 5% to 14%. Some Moscato whites contain only 5% to 7%, while Pinot Grigio may contain 12% to 14% and Chardonnay at a higher range of 13% to 14.5 %.
This is what we were talking about. Like many others, the cost is an essential factor when you are buying wines. Are costly wines better than less expensive ones? There are several conditions why wines are tagged with staggering prices. During production, there are pieces of equipment and materials that are utilized, like oak barrels, grapes, and bottles, including packaging.
The variety of grapes as the main ingredient of wines surely affects the finished products in a bottle. As they say, you cannot make a quality wine without quality grapes. So it is probably safe to say that extremely expensive wines come from equally superb quality grapes. But do you really need such costly wine to produce delicious foods? Maybe when it’s free.
What we mean is that, instead of investing in a high-priced wine for cooking, why don’t you spend the extra bucks on purchasing quality ingredients? Sounds reasonable, right? There are definitely dry whites in the market that provide satisfaction in the kitchen. Lastly, hone your cooking skills which will be complemented by the special powers of wines.
Conclusion: The Verdict
And once again, the winner is a Willamette Valley Pinot Gris wine that made it to the top spot because it fits the reason for this review. Its crispiness is perfect for cooking different kinds of foods, from pork to beef and seafood. It owns the crown among the others because of its balanced savor that brings out the best flavor of any food cooked with it. Moreover, it fulfills its promise of a worthy wine more than its cost. Ultimately, it is equally drinkable and infused into dishes at the same time.
[amazon box=”B0016H740U” ]
We also talked about red wine vinegar and sake: our top picks and overall verdict. Do you have other wine preferences? Do share them in the comments section below!
Jen Lin-Liu is the founder of Black Sesame Kitchen. A Chinese-American writer and a nationally certified Chinese chef in Beijing. Jen is the author of two memoirs, Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China and On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta.