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Apr 11, 2007 12:49 PM

When the recipe calls for "white wine" . . .

...what wine do you use? Most often I use a crisp Vernaccia from Tuscany, but I'm now wondering if I ought to try something else.

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  1. I use ALMOST anything - we have mostly sauv. blanc, white burgundy, white bordeaux in our house. I recently read an article (NYT maybe??) that tested the same recipes with several variations of wine - the crux of the article was that, while sweeter wines yield a slightly sweeter flavor, it pretty much doesn't matter.

    I find it's a good way to use up the cheapo bottles that people bring to our house as gifts.

    BUT - what do you do when you open a bottle of mediocre white wine to use just a bit for a sauce? If it were red, I'd have a dozen ideas. White, not so sure. Suggestions?

    1 Reply
    1. re: laurendlewis

      Are you asking about immediate or future use? You could always freeze it in ice cube trays for future use.

    2. Hi Neighbor (you're in SE PA, aren't you?),

      My wife and I, cooking separately, often use Madeira or Marsala with great success. I use them when making risotto with arborio rice (from Devon Whole Foods), canned chicken broth, leftover roast chicken and whatever vegetables are leftover in the fridge. Of course, I make a soffritto of onions, celery, bell pepper, garlic and grated carrots for the risotto.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChiliDude

        Howdy, neighbor! I also enjoy dishes prepared with madeira and marsala, but find that their distinctive flavors don't always work when the generic "white wine" is called for. (BTW, where, exactly, is Whole Foods in Devon? I'm sure it'd be worth a trip every now and then from south eastern Chester Co.)

      2. Usually whatever bottle I've got open in the fridge. If I don't have one open, I'll tend to reach for a Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay. Something that's not too sweet.

        1. I'm sure I'll get some chowhounds calling for my head, but I keep a bottle of dry vermouth that I'll sub for pretty much any call for white wine. It never goes bad, and you don't have to open a whole bottle.

          8 Replies
            1. re: pomme de terre

              This is what Julia recommended, and it's what I do.

              1. re: pikawicca

                Vermouth is a pretty poor substitute for white wine in most recipes. Vermouth has a very strong and distinct flavor. Julia rec'd because it was the only option for most Americans in the 1960s. Today, any sort of dry white wine with a slevin enclosure is a far, far superior solution than vermouth.

                The use of vermouth (as well as a horrible fake chicken base) always made me cringe when reading the Julie-Julia blog. She would have achieved much better results if she had used the real thing.

                1. re: JudiAU

                  I can't speak to "fake chicken base," never having encountered it. As to vermouth, however, if you're using 2-4 T. in a dish, you will not detect anything other than the flavor enhancement that alcohol provides. If you're using 2-4 cups, the story might be different; however, I always do lobster using MTAOFC recipe using vermouth and it's wonderful.

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    I agree on the vermouth thing. I always have a bottle in my fridge, so when I make something on a whim, like risotto, I don't have to buy a whole bottle.

              2. re: pomme de terre

                This is what I do too. I also sometimes buy the little 4 packs at the liquor store. As cyberroo said below, they are overpriced, but it means that (at least for a while) I have wine on hand if I need it and it hasn't spoiled.

                1. re: pomme de terre

                  Me too. Also try it when you are making gravy for roast chicken, really delicious.

                  1. We don't drink a lot of wine, and definitely don't keep white around, so I've taken to buying the little individual bottles at the grocery store. They're overpriced, but not compared to opening a whole bottle to get a glass for risotto or chicken picatta.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: cyberroo

                      I asked the same thing not too long ago. Here is the thread. A variety of opinions and suggestions.


                      1. re: tomself

                        We're always drinking wine while we cook, we always just spash some of what we're drinking in there!!! : )
                        Then we drink the rest of the same wine with the meal.

                        1. re: tomself

                          Thanks. I see lots of consistency between responses to your post and to mine.