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The best wine for Julia's Beef Bourguignon?

A question for any of you that has made JC's BB. I'm curious as to what wine you used. I made the BB yesterday. First time I've actually followed a step by step recipe like this but wanted to make it one time exactly as written in my Mothers old 'The French Chef Cookbook.'

The BB turned out good. Much nicer than my usual throw it together beef stew with a splash of red wine, but I think it would have been even better with the proper red wine. I'm not much of a drinker of red wine, I do cook with it but usually in small amounts at a time, so the flavor of the wine in my dishes have never been as noticeable as it was in this recipe.
I left the selection of a good red wine to use up my DH. His choice was an an Australian Red labeled [yellow tail] SHIRAZ.
I feel my DHs selection was far too bitter/strong for this dish. I knew the wine flavor would be more prominant as the recipe does call for 3 cups, and was prepared for that, but I was not prepared for the almost bitter after taste. I believe a mellower red or tastier red would have been a better selection .

JCs recipe is well worth taking the time to do the step by step as it is good, and I will make it again, but, I'd like to improve on it before I do.

So, any suggestions from all you red wine lovers out there would be muchly appreciated!
Thanks so much

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  1. Bourguinion calls for Burgundy, as the name implies.

    13 Replies
    1. re: phillyjazz

      Well I'm not sure what happened to my last entry, but..

      phillyjazz, I found your reply a bit odd. As in almost implying, boy are you stupid odd.
      I not a wine connosisseur, I don't drink red wine or "burgundy" wine, I don't really know the difference in the two at all. If wine comes into my home its from friends or because my DH decided to purchase a bottle. I use whatever is left for cooking as I've never had to use much of it. With this special dish I do.

      Hence my original question as to what favorite red wine or "burgundy" does everyone prefer for cooking?
      I was merely looking for advice, a name, a brand thats good, as in better than the one I used.

      I do thank you for taking the time to reply though..

      1. re: Joyfull

        Hi Joyfull. Burgundy is a region in France, and the red wine made there is from Pinot Noir grapes. It's not cheap, although it can be wonderful. I don't usually use "real" Burgundy when I make BB (too expensive), however, if you'd like to try it and if there is a Trader Joe's store near you, you can pick up a Burgundy there fairly reasonably (not sure of the brand name, but the folks at TJ will help you). I do always use the Pinot Noir varietal when I make BB; sometimes I use a Pinot Noir from Oregon such as Duck Pond. You can also find French wines labeled vin d'pays Pinot Noir (vin d'pays means table wines, and they are reasonably priced) ; that's another option I often choose. I'd steer away from Pinot Noirs made in CA; to my palate they taste a bit plastic. Hope this helps :-)

        1. re: Niki in Dayton

          Niki has some good suggestions.

          OP, basically what you're looking for is a wine lower in alcohol and overtly fruity ripeness, and higer acidity. In general, this leads you to Old World wines, like those from France, Italy, Spain, etc. Try to stay away from most offerings from warmer climates (Australia, CA)- I find them too jammy, juicy and high in alcohol to be much good for cooking.

          The Yellow Tail Shiraz would be one of the worst wines you could've made this dish with, from varietal to maker (it's pure gasoline to begin with). You'll like the dish ten times better next time you make it.

          If you don't already have a trusted local wine vendor, and I'm pretty sure you don't, now is a good time to befriend one. Simply go to your local wine store and ask questions. People who work in wine stores love to talk about wine- they're not in it for the $8 an hour. It's hard to give specific rec's here because availability varies greatly from state to state.

          1. re: Niki in Dayton

            Thanks Niki
            I'm in Canada so no TJ's. We've got government liquor stores, a few private liquor stores plus private beer and wine stores.
            I just did a quick search on our govt liquor store website and found the Duck Pond from Oregon, plus other Pinot Noirs. I'll scan through those in a bit too. I also found a fairly reasonable Bourgogne Pinot Noir from Burgundy France that looked interesting and wondered if you knew anything about it?
            You can view it here.. http://www.bcliquorstores.com/product...
            Thanks again Niki

            1. re: Joyfull

              That seems a little expensive for cooking Joyfull . . . but would probably good to have with it. You're on the right track - just go with something from the same shelf, but cheaper. I just cast around till I find something that works and stick to it. Invino gives good advice. This is pretty much the approach I take.

              1. re: Joyfull

                Actually, if you're looking to make BB with the "real thing," you're looking at the right wine. Maison Louis Jadot is a very well regarded winemaker, and they have a large portfolio, including some very impressive Grand Cru. The wine you are looking at is a "Bourgogne," - which essentially means it is the base level of red wine from the Burgundy region (as opposed to the more expensive "Village" designations, or Premier or Grand Crus).

                This does not mean it's not a good wine -- it should show a lot more refinement than many American Pinots (as well it should fo $26) and will be light years better than Yellowtail Shiraz. If you're OK with spending this much, it's actually a great choice for BB.

                1. re: sbp

                  Nice description, sbp! Yes, there's no question it would be great in "le boeuf" but, as we both point out, kinda pricey for cooking, n'est ce pas? I was thinking Joyfull could buy that one to drink and look on the same shelf (of Burgundies), for something to cook with - b/c you use most, if not all, of the bottle in the stew. I know, I know ... cook w the same wine you're going to drink ... in the perfect world, I guess. Or cook w the Jadot and find a nice Romanee Conti for quaffing . . . lol . . . and invite us!

                  1. re: cinnamon girl

                    I was originally thinking the same thing - $30 is over the top to use for cooking. But, you never know the situation of the OP. Also, it's not as decadent as opening up a Charmes Chambertin! You've got to figure in Burgundy, the Bougogne AC would be their "go to" bottle for cooking.

                    Of course, there are good Bourgogne AC's in the $12-15 range, but they are few and far between and apparently not available in British Columbia.

            2. re: Joyfull

              Joyful, it was quite clear that you were asking for specific wines which were favorites for this dish; if in fact others did have a favorite rather than just a dry red which is frequently listed as a component of this dish. Dry red is a more specific definition of the wine to be used than is Burgundy, as chided by p-jazz, because there are White Burgundy wines. I would use a Pinot Noir from the Williamette Valley or the Russian River appellations where the best US Pinot Noir is produced.

              1. re: Bacchus101

                I'll respectfully submit, though, that most of us know that Burgundy defaults to red....

                Just like there are still reds produced in Champagne, but if you say the word Champagne, you're thinking of a sparkling white (or rosé)

              2. re: Joyfull

                It just occurred to me that perhaps the alcohol had not completely burned off? Not knowing the recipe I can't tell if it's possible that this might have happened but I do know that when I have not been completely diligent about de-alcoholizing the wine from a sauce the result what someone might consider bitter.

              3. re: phillyjazz

                Wow- I don't think Phillyjazz is being in any way patronizing- I have often read cookbooks espouse drinking the wine whose place of origin matches that of the dish- it would seem natural to think that the wine that goes INTO the preparation of a traditional dish had an influence its original development and hence would fare better with them than a wine from a region with a very different climate, for instance. That said, wines have changed so much (all kinds of varietals grown in non-traditional areas and climates), as have our palates, that I think it bears experimenting with new combinatons; doesn't beef with cabernet sound nice? In fct it occurs to me that the cold climate of Burgundy would inspire the drinking of a full-bodied cabernet while the warmer climes of Bordeaux of Rhône might make me want to drink a Volnay with just a hint of chill.
                I do know, however, that I've tried making sangría with wines other than tempranillo and could never quite get the same satisfying results... but it seem to me a shiraz would have been really nice on the BB. Joyful's bitter taste comment makes me think perhaps the wine was corked (if yellowtail comes with cork) or otherwise flawed as the tannins that might be attributed to the bitterness really should have been neutralized by the proteins in the jus.

                1. re: demitasse04

                  I think you'll find that the heavy tannins in a new-world, beefy cab will just become bitter under heat, and a jammy shiraz will just be jammy and syrupy and weird.

              4. I seem to remember that on The French Chef, Julia recommended a California "mountain" wine before french wines were widely found in the US. These are almost always Zinfandel, look for something labeled old vine.

                7 Replies
                1. re: rockfish42

                  Most of today's Zins are big daddies, with lots of ripeness and lots of alcohol. They're not really much like the Zinfandels of yesteryear. Julia would not cook with the bulk of today's Zins.

                  <This is not to say that balanced Zins don't exist, you just have to know what you're looking for. The OP seems to not have much wine knowledge.>

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    The French Chef aired '63-'73. My recollection is that the '70's saw huge 15%+ alcohol content in zins (someone please correct me if I'm wrong); I think it was the '80's that saw high-acid, high-tannin wines like the Corison-made Chappellets (Pritchard Hill) and Randy Dunn cabernets (Howell Mountain). I think it was the '90's that brought back the big ripe style of zins; I still recall drinking my first Limerick Lane and St. Francis from that time and what a revelation they were.
                    As for not cooking with today's zins, I find they make a great poaching wine for pears and the sauce made by reducing the poaching liquid is great.

                  2. re: rockfish42

                    And don't forget that when Julia was writing, there were not a lot of varieties of wine available in the US. I don't know about Canada, though. I think we can expect to make some substitutions.

                    1. re: rockfish42

                      I was told by a grape broker in Bakersfield that much, if not most, of the jug wines are made from excess table grapes. Mountain wines from The French Chef are would be stuff like Ridge Monte Bello- not exactly cooking wine. Speaking of "mountain wines", I doubt even 1% of the jug wines labeled as such were actually mountain grown. I'm still in awe of the fact that Alamden hasn't been successfully sued out of using the term "Mountain Burgundy"- not because it isn't mountain grown nor pinot-based but because the Champenois have sued YSL for its perfume Champagne (now called Yvresse) and the Cousteau foundation Clover Stornetta Farms for using "Jacques CloSteau" on a billboard ad.

                      1. re: demitasse04

                        this may be the case for cheap jug wine in the US, but not elsewhere.

                        Inexpensive and cheap are not the same thing.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          I'm referring strictly to "mountain Burgundy" and the like; Kim Kardashian is no doubt not inexpensive. Cheap? A matter of opinion.

                          1. re: demitasse04

                            most of this thread is a discussion about clarifying the difference between cheap and inexpensive.

                    2. Duck Pond does an excellent Pinot Noir that wood work with this dish.

                      1. I'd point you to another more affordable Oregon pinot if you want to go that route-- can you get O'Reilly? It's about $15 US. Or can you get Erath?

                        I'm sure a small local wine shop could hook you up with inexpensive (French) Burgundy.

                        1. I'd recommend using a french burgundy, to adhere to the origins of the dish (as phillyjazz says, the dish originated in the burgundy region of france). French burgundies tend to be lighter in body and higher in acidity so if you used a very full-bodied fruit forward Australian shiraz it would tend to change the character of the dish. Some new world pinot noirs tend to be more fruit forward than the french versions.

                          I'm not sure about BC but in Alberta you can get relatively inexpensive french wines from the burgundy region, I would recommend those. Given that boeuf bourgignon originated as everyday fare I don't expect it was ever intended to be made with a grand cru.

                          1. 1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
                            **** That's what Ina Garten says

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: zzDan

                              I usually go to Trader Joe's and get a Cote du Rhone. They always seem to have several choices for under $10, sometimes as little as $5-7. I can attest to the yumminess of the results. No, Cotes du Rhone is not Burgundy, but I just can't justify paying more for the wine than I am for the beef!

                              1. re: PinchOfSalt

                                I would use Marcus James Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon
                                The bottle is 1.5 liters so there would be some leftover

                            2. Niki, invinothersverde, cinnamon girl, rockfish, hankstramm, vetter, hsk and zz Dan, thank you!
                              I've learned more in the last 24hrs than I've ever know on selecting a good wine.
                              I'll be sure and post a follow up the next time I make BB. I know it'll be 100% better with a good & proper wine..

                              Thanks again, you guys have been great!

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Joyfull

                                You're welcome, Joyfull, and we look forward to your report the next time you make it!


                                1. re: Joyfull

                                  You don't need to use an expensive wine to cook with -- it should be drinkable, as nasty wine will make for nasty food -- always remember that if you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it.

                                  but they've done a number of tests for various tv and magazine spots, and they've found that you really can't taste the difference between good stuff and not-great stuff when it's been cooked with other ingredients.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    Cook's Illustrated advises the same based on their taste tests sunshine, and in my limited experience you're both right. You can't taste the subtleties of red wine once it's heated through, but you will get the bitter notes if they were there to begin with. I always keep a middle-of-the-road Wine in a Box for cooking which lasts 3-6 months. In moments of extreme chefs-peration I might "accidentally" sneak a glass or three, which is why you should try to find a drinkable varietal..... ;-)

                                    I include it with pot roasts, spaghetti sauces, anything beef or pork in nature that needs to be de-glazed in the pan.

                                    I love the inexpensive California house reds for cooking. Pinot Noirs from a large winery are usually a safe bet. Shiraz, Syrah, Cabernets, and Merlots are often all too "bitey" for cooking. Ask around your friend network and at the wine shop for advice; often someone else will put you on to a great cooking wine at a great price.

                                2. I use Charles Shaw California Cabernet Sauvignon, aka 2 buck Chuck, although it's 3 bucks here in Boston. Amen.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ginnyhw

                                    So do I (and it's $1.99 a bottle here in California). The big problem with it, though, is that it varies from lot to lot, depending on what surplus wines they happened to have.

                                  2. I use an inexpensive red, preferably under $5, certainly under $10. Something fruity like a zin, without a lots of tannins and no oak. Even though pinot noir would be truest to Burgundy, I'm suspicious of cheap pinots, because they're so often thin and acidic. You don't need a great wine to cook with, just something without any off or unpleasant flavors that could get intensified in the cooking. Cook's Illustrated found that a blend can be better than a single varietal because it allows the winemaker to combine wines that compensate for each other (the sum is greater than the parts).

                                    Btw, there are plenty of California zins that are not alcohol bombs, so don't write them off entirely. The bombs certainly exist (and get high ratings from some experts, go figure), but just don't buy those.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Karen_Schaffer

                                      What's the difference between a low alcohol wine and a higher one (non fortified)? 9% v 12%?

                                      I just used a 2buck Shiraz for peposo, an Italian style beef shank dish. I was happy with the result, but that dish is very heavy on black pepper. I suspect the traditional wine for that is chianti.

                                      1. re: paulj

                                        Black Opal was making a good Merlot Cabernet blend that can pass as a decent Chianti. lately we've had trouble finding it - it's 6 or7 bucks when available. I've used it cooking Italian dishes but we usually drink it with Italian dishes.

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          They can run over 16% these days, which creates a "hot" or burning sensation. This is most common in New World reds, like Cabernet and Shiraz.

                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                            Invino, WHY do they do this, make the alcohol content so high? It ruins it for me, personally. The 'Old World' ranges of 12 to 13% just taste better to me, pinot noirs particularly. Do they think wine-drinkers want to get buzzed faster?

                                            1. re: Val

                                              No, it's because the sugar content of the grapes is so high in some of the hotter growing regions.

                                              1. re: hsk


                                                Also, those 15%ers are surprisingly popular with the sheeple (and a most popular wine critic). They're definitely not my bag, but lots of people like them.

                                      2. FWIW, this Thursday (10/8/09) the PBS Create channel will be showing the Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home episode featuring Beef Bourguignon. The channel runs 6hr blocks of programming, so the program will be on 4 times. Website is createtv.org to find your local schedule.

                                        1. Cooks Illustrated recommends Guigal's Cotes du Rhone, Rosemont Estate Grenache/Shiraz, and Ca del Sol by Bonny Doon. I have used the Rosemont for both beef bourguignon and coq au vin. And, yes, Philly was either being sarcastic or simplistic with a rec of Burgundy. Burgundy can cost as little as @ 7 a bottle to hundreds. Perrin offers a nice blend in the 7 range that works well for cooking AND drinking.

                                          1. Another thread suggests the dish is named for the region and not the varietal and suggest using either a burgundy or Cotes du Rhone, and even some cognac. See;


                                            I've used several Rhone varietals and blends, a lower abv zinfandel, and I think even a barbera once, all with great results. None of them were the least bit pricey.

                                            1. i'm just half way reading through this blog and i have yet to see an answer involving technique? from what i gather i'm sensing here that the goal is to create the best version of boeuf bourguignon. i'm also getting a feel that you're not interested in sticking to the classics and would prefer a more exciting palatable taste that will awaken the senses. so then, if this is all correct, my questions are:

                                              -are you using fresh ingredients?
                                              -are you using onions (type) and/or shallots?
                                              -are you using traditional beef stock or canned beef broth?
                                              -would you like to experiment with different cuts of beef?
                                              -what is the temp. of your oven?
                                              -cooking time?

                                              the list could go on but in the end i'm going to assume you're reading this hoping i have an answer. and yes, i do have one. here it is:

                                              2 large shallots (properly sliced)
                                              1 sprig fresh thyme
                                              1 bay leaf
                                              1 head of garlic (sliced in half)
                                              few tbsp. butter, depending on size of cooking vessel (unsalted preferred)
                                              handful of carrots
                                              short ribs w/ bone attached (bones add texture and flavor)
                                              beef broth (3 cups, if using canned low-sodium preferred)
                                              1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
                                              1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
                                              2 cups cabernet sauvignon (red wine)
                                              garlic and onion powder (add to taste when finished cooking)

                                              note: now the key to a very good boeuf bourguignon is texture. you want a nice crust on the outside of the beef to contrast the soft meaty center.


                                              ***PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 250 F BEFORE ANYTHING***

                                              1. Brown the meat. Not just pale brown, form a nice crust. Make sure you've cut them into larger pieces because there will be major shrinkage. You're the one eating this so make sure it's well enough to your liking. After this step you can't go back and re-brown them. An alternative would be to broil them. Whichever way suits you. When done, place on the side. I like to use the lid of my cast iron pot so as not to rewash additional plates/bowls.

                                              2. Brown shallots, garlic and carrots. Again, make sure to brown them. You want to see brown bits on the bottom getting stuck to the pan. The more the better. I used to add celery but I've done without it and I seem to like it a bit more. Again, whatever suits you. It's your food & you're the one who has to eat it.

                                              3. add the tbsp. of balsamic vinegar. cook until syruppy.

                                              4. quickly add the tbsp. of red wine vinegar. again, cook until syruppy.

                                              note: the reason we need to do these in a specific order is to layer flavors properly. melding them all together will create one flavor. if you want a richer complex flavor you're going to have to layer them one by one. i try to cook mostly from the heart...& a little from whats left of my brain.

                                              5. Add the Cabernet Sauvignon. I like to boil this down to a syrup while other like to leave it liquidy. Again, it's your preference, totally up to you. The only reason I boil it until it becomes syruppy is to extract more flavor.

                                              6. Add Beef Stock/Broth. Boil this down until it reduces about half way. Make sure you end up with enough liquid to cover the short ribs half way on it's side.

                                              7. Add thyme & bay leaf. At this point you can pretty much add any herbs you want. Again, my preference is I like to keep things simple.

                                              8. Place aluminum foil over the top and place the lid directly on top & place in pre-heated oven for 3 hours. The aluminum ensures a closed cooking environment which ultimately ensures even cooking and quite possibly a better flavor.

                                              9. When finished, take out of oven and place cooked meat in a bowl/pot with a lid. Braised meat shrinks rapidly if left outside of it's braising liquid to dry. Make sure no steam escapes and the meat is locked in. If you have an oven bag, that'd probably be best. They just need to be sealed away for a moment to season the braising liquid.

                                              10. Strain liquids with fine mesh strainer. Use whatever you can to strain as much of it as possible and make sure to press down to get all those delicious juices.

                                              11. Heat the strained liquids in a fresh pan/pot.

                                              At this point I like to add a roux. If you're not sure what that is just google "roux". You can try other thickeners like cornstarch but it won't give you the right texture, you may also regret it in the long run. I like to add garlic powder, onion powder & white pepper. Again, it's your preference.

                                              If you don't know how to incorporate a roux, here's a fast and easy way to cheat through it. Add roux to a little ramekin. Add heated liquid to the ramekin w/ the roux. I like to use chopsticks and whisk it down into a fine liquid. Make sure to whisk enough to remove flour chunks. (unless you like that sort of thing.)

                                              ****for those of you still googling roux, it's 1/2 unsalted butter 1/2 flour mixed together into a sort of paste. I use 1 tablespoon of each.****

                                              I'm not a chef. Just a kid who loves food. Too much. Way too much.

                                              oh yea, the roux is optional. because the bones add their own natural gelatin to the dish which forms a nice sheen to the braising liquid. This "sheen" factor is something you cannot fake with boeuf bourguignon.

                                              if you add datu puti vinegar and soy sauce you end up with adobo.

                                              if you add soy sauce, pureed asian pears, fresh dates & mirin you end up with galbi jjim.

                                              the possibilities are pretty much endless. try using brisket for a different meaty texture. Chuck round, ribeye steaks, filet mignon medallions. I'm sure one of those ideas is good.

                                              ...going to sleep. nite ppl.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: chefwhites

                                                Chefwhites, I loved this post.
                                                Thats all I wanted to say...

                                              2. If you can't find a reasonably priced French Pinot Noir I'd use a Beaujolais Village or Cote du Rhone.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Chinon00

                                                  ditto, Chinon. I actually prefer a Cote du Rhone in beef stews, wherever they're from. Then drink the more expensive stuff, if you like.

                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                    Anerica's Test Kitchen agrees and recommends Cote du Rhone for beef braises.

                                                2. I have made Julia Child's BB as well and the dish can be made terrific or terrible based on the choice of wine that is added. Buy 2 bottles of the best French burgundy you can find/afford; put one in the recipe and one on the table. Also, in one of the last steps, add 1/4 c of cognac ...most recipes call for either the cognac or the wine but I find that adding both adds real depth to the flavor. The biggest pain of this recipe is the pearl onions since they are a pain to peel, even if you snip one end and blanch them. Next time I am going to try the frozen kind that does not need peeling. Hopefully it will not make a big difference.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: sstrathdee

                                                    It doesn't make a big difference at all.

                                                    1. re: sstrathdee

                                                      I now use the ones slightly larger than pearl (blanking on name at moment) since it's very easy to use your thumbnail and pop off the outermost layer and they end up about the same size as pearls.

                                                      Also have made stellar versions using other varietals than Pinot, well made ones of course.

                                                    2. i make this quite often and use what I'm drinking at he time, usually a pinot noir, a zinfandel, or a malbec. I've never had any complaints!

                                                      1. JC and JP have both offered that you need to use the very best Burgundy you can afford to use in a 'BB'. I make 'BB' a few times a year. I do tend to be obsessive about following to the letter what chefs like JC and JP put down in their recipes otherwise what's the point?
                                                        How can anyone expect to use a cheap ingredient, whatever it is, when making a classic dish and expect a best quality dish. Would anyone use margarine instead of butter in a 'beurre blanc'?
                                                        If you use a cheap 'plonk' that's what the 'BB' will taste like.
                                                        When I make a 'BB' I buy a forty dollar bottle of a French burgundy. That's a lot for me but to be honest it's still a pretty cheap bottle. If I was a millionaire I'd spend three hundred bucks on bottle and use three cups in the 'BB'.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                          there was a test run not too long ago that found that there isn't really a significant difference between inexpensive and expensive wine once it's been cooked (note I said inexpensive, not cheap -- there's a difference)

                                                          Therefore I'd rather use an inexpensive but very respectable bottle IN the BB, but spend the money on the stuff I'm going to actually *drink*.

                                                          (the French use ordinary, standard-issue Burgundy, by the way -- nothing expensive)

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            I've lived in France. The local every day burgundy table wine drunk in Bourgogne isn't available in the US. Too few bottles. The locals get it all. I'd price one of these bottles at about sixty bucks US in a store in the US. The 'locals' would be paying about three bucks, if that, for the same bottle.

                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                              er, no -- a 3-euro bottle of Burgundy might be $10-15. Not $60.

                                                              But the point was that there's no reason at all to use the expensive stuff in the pot...drink the good stuff; cook with something decent but inexpensive.

                                                          2. re: Puffin3

                                                            <<JC and JP have both offered that you need to use the very best Burgundy you can afford to use in a 'BB'.>>

                                                            Not JC. Julia Child's recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon in Mastering the Art of French Cooking calls for, "3 cups of a full-bodied young red wine such as those suggested for drinking, or a Chianti."

                                                            In the head notes, she writes, "Serve with the beef a fairly, full-bodied young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeau-St. Emilion, or Burgundy."

                                                            Lots of range there. A $7 French Rhone purchased in the US works very well, as well as a Chianti of the same price, or a Beaujolais (not Nouveau) at about $11.


                                                          3. http://www.finestwine.com/en/richard-...

                                                            Ur, yes, there are many French burgundys on the market priced well above $60. Anyone wants to make a 'BB' with cheap 'plonk' is welcome to the finished product.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                              of course there are French Burgundies that sell for more than $60. But they're not the ones that are selling for 3 euros in France.

                                                              And I was very, very careful to point out that the use of the world "inexpensive" did not mean "cheap plonk". I very clearly stated " inexpensive but very respectable bottle"

                                                              Most people can't tell the difference -- various citations, here's just one: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/201...

                                                              And in cooking, I believe it was either Cooks' Illustrated or America's Test Kitchen that did the test and found that there isn't a discernible difference **when the wine is cooked** -- I'd look it up, but their website is the seventh circle of hell for actually finding something.

                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                Let's compromise. JC recommends a French 'Macon' in cooking dishes like 'bb'. JC: "The only reason for using wine in cooking is because of it's natural flavor.......If the wine is thin, or sour, or sweet, or sickly, these unpleasant qualities will only be exaggerated as it's flavor concentrates during the cooking process. Therefore any wine you use in cooking should be a good one". IMO it's difficult to believe that a ten dollar bottle of red wine used in making a 'bb' will add to the quality of, as JC said of 'bb' "the best beef stew in the world". Finally, IMO finding a red wine in any N. American liquor store which costs ten dollars or less which isn't "thin/sour/sweet or sickly" is as likely as seeing a unicorn in my back yard. I'd say the minimum price for a red used in a 'bb' should be at least twenty bucks or more. I mean if someone is going to go the the expense and work to make what ought to be an excellent stew what's another ten bucks or so? I agree about their website. LOL I believe the average wine drinker can tell the difference in quality between a ten dollar bottle of red and a fifty dollar bottle. (If they can't they ought to be drinking American beer instead.) LOL Why would after they have been used in cooking be any different? As JC says the flavor is in fact concentrated in cooking.

                                                                1. re: Puffin3

                                                                  the price tag doesn't inherently set the quality.

                                                                  Read the article I cited from the Guardian (a UK newspaper) -- there are numerous press outlets that ran a similar story, but the sample size was large enough that perhaps you should try them side by side and see.

                                                            2. Once I went to a fellow "gastronaught's" (KF's word) house. He was making a lobster bisque. I saw he was adding chunks of 'lobster flavored' pollock. "Aren't you going to use real lobster?" "Nope. I don't see the point in going to the expense. They'll hardly be able to taste 'lobster' anyway with the other ingredients in it". IMO the same non-logic applies to using a cheap wine in a 'bb'. Why bother to make it if it's not going to have the very best ingredients.

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: Puffin3

                                                                Nope. Not the same concept by country mile. Your example is like setting out Velveeta and calling it AOC Brie.

                                                                The study cited is an actual scientific study -- and the report run about using inexpensive vs. expensive wine in cooking was carried out by folks whose opinion most of us would respect.

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  Just so I'm clear the scientific study proved that there is no discernible difference using say a ten dollar bottle of red wine in cooking than a thirty dollar bottle?
                                                                  Also we were talking about an ingredient used in 'cooking' not about "setting out" a cheap 'cheese-like' food and an expensive cheese. I'd sure like to see a 'link' to the scientific study.

                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                    it was Cook's Illustrated that ran the comparison on cooking with wine. I despise their site, but it's mentioned upthread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6562... -- so it's out there if you're inclined to search for it. eta: the link is here: http://www.cooksillustrated.com/howto... -- but I'm not going to sign up for all their spam to get to it.

                                                                    The link to the study is in the link to the Guardian that I posted here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6562...

                                                                    and if you'd have a wander through the older posts on this very thread, you'll see a pretty unanimous recommendation to cook with the cheap stuff (up to and including using Cotes du Rhone) and drinking the good stuff.

                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                      I'll never "cook with the cheap stuff". I won't add any 'cheap stuff' to any food I prepare. Just the way I'm built. Thanks but I'll stick with Escoffier and JC and basically every great chef past and present when it comes to adding the best quality ingredients I can when I cook. Next time you have 'bb' at Le Benaton ask them what red they use.

                                                                      1. re: Puffin3

                                                                        I am not about to tell any of my French friends that they are not great cooks or that they're not using the best-quality ingredients.

                                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                                          No one is saying to use cheap stuff.

                                                                      2. re: Puffin3

                                                                        Yes, the study was written about in the New York Times.

                                                                        "It Boils Down to This: Cheap Wine Works Fine"

                                                                        Of special note, the reference to Julia Child in the article.

                                                                        The Yellow Tail Shiraz is a poorly made yet powerful wine. Far too assertive for BB. What will work is a wine like Burgundy, but doesn't have the expense of Burgundy. For example, an inexpensive Beaujolais (the Gamay grape, not Pinot Noir), from the Burgundy region. Avoid Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais Village and Beaujolais Cru, and avoid the Duboeuf brand in general (too manipulated). Other good options: a Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, a grenache/grenacha. Avoid Pinot Noir from the US; the inexpensive ones are often poorly made, and the dish will probably suffer from the much the same winemaking flaws as the Yellow Tail. I use the Perrin et Fils Rhone red for $7 USD quite often in beef braises, and find it works well.

                                                                        Joyfull's BB has long been cooked, but the idea of a good beef braise on these winter nights is quite appealing.

                                                                  2. Real Burgundy is generally expensive and highly variable in quality and flavor. I don't drink Pinot noir much so I don't buy it for cookin (it's also a bit pricey). I just grab a solid Cabernet that isn't too expensive. It gives great flavor with no weirdness. Rodney Strong or a basi Raymond would be perfect. Stay away from Shiraz or even Zin, and stay away from Yellow Tail in general :)

                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Lmonach

                                                                      Aren't you afraid of tannins using a Cab?

                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                        That's why I don't use a really big expensive cab - the less expensive Americans tend to be lighter in the oaky tannins. And for those snobs who want to use $30+ wines to cook with, you are truly crazy and Julia would never have done it. In fact the origin of beef bourguignon come from French cooks wanting to not waste less than perfect burgundy wine. So lets all lighten up a bit.

                                                                          1. re: Lmonach

                                                                            yes, I guess I am a crazy snob. I sometimes have expensive wine leftover and I have used Colgin's cabs to cook my BB. If it happens to be the wine that I have leftover, that's what I will use. What's wrong with that?

                                                                            1. re: Peech

                                                                              using left-over wine and uncorking a new bottle are not the same thing.

                                                                              Using left-over is probably even truer to the spirit of bourgignonne than opening a new bottle. This wasn't gourmet food -- this was farmhouse, make-the-best-of-what-you-have fare.

                                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                but why should it matter whether I use leftover wine or open a new bottle to cook with it?! It is, after all, my stew and my wine. What gives anyone else the right to be judgmental about what I do?

                                                                                1. re: Peech

                                                                                  No one is being judgmental, this is simply a discussion about flavor and what wines might produce the best result in this specific dish. Using leftover and oxidized wine will not use the same flavor result as using wine from a freshly opened bottle. You can use an expensive wine if you like -- Colgin Cabernet or Romanée-Conti -- but the Romanée-Conti will be better in this dish because of its flavor, body, and lower ABV.

                                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                    if we were only talking about flavors that would be fine. Then people have to get into debates about the cost of the wine, whether it should be "inexpensive". Then the person who said for everyone to "lighten up a bit" actually threw in words like "snob" and "crazy". Are we still on the same subject?

                                                                                    1. re: Peech

                                                                                      have a look at the NYT article that MariaLorraine links above (thanks, Maria) -- it's a well-written article from a writer who admits to being surprised by the results.

                                                                                      In this day and age, a lot of people just don't have the cash on hand (or, let's be frank, the desire) to drop $50 into the stew pot.

                                                                                      This article (and the Guardian article I linked above) both indicate that it's not necessary.

                                                                                      1. re: Peech

                                                                                        I suggested it was a waste of expensive wine to use it in cooking then got comments about using the "cheap stuff". I think folks who equate inexpensive with crappy are wine snobs - I also still think we should drink our best wines and cook with ordinary inexpensive wines. Sorry if I offended anyone or seemed off topic - just following where the conversation was leading.

                                                                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    I totally agree here, we just aren't familiar with the concept of "left-over" wine in my house. :)

                                                                                    1. re: Lmonach

                                                                                      this time of year, leftover wine tends to get heated with spices and consumed as vin chaud....

                                                                          2. I use a cheap CA PN like a BV Coastal, even though it may not be all PN in the BB and a good Willamette or Russian River PN in the glass.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: tim irvine

                                                                              My last post on this topic. I simply do not understand the logic of adding a cheap wine in a 'bb' and at the same time drinking a more expensive one. Seems to me that each wine would effect the flavor of the other. Not in a good way. Sort of like the eating caviar with a metal spoon effect. Anyway, each to their own. I'm wishing everyone here the merriest of Christmases.

                                                                              1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                You haven't read any of those links yet, have you?

                                                                                If you want to pour a $500 bottle of Chateau Cache Phleaux into a pot of stew, knock yourself out.

                                                                                All we're trying to say (and cite evidence to support) is that it isn't necessary, and nobody should hold off on making bb because they can't afford the wine to go in it.

                                                                            2. Always ask yourself: WWJD? Julia's original recipe calls for "....a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux-St. Émilion, or Burgundy." I've found that a decent Côtes du Rhône works nicely and doesn't break the bank.

                                                                                1. I love BB. There is no way my modest life is affording $60 bottles of wine. Anyone declaring I must in order to make BB can adopt me or send me all their excess money, I will share my Paypal address as needed for donations :-)

                                                                                  What I have found is anything $5 or under regular price at the stores I have access to is likely to make horrible BB. It will be horribly acidic, bitter or just taste very off. I was able to find a wine called Pinot Evil on sale a few places last winter. It was normally about $9 a bottle and on sale for $5. That made a decent BB. I also found Cavit Pinot Noir makes a decent BB. It is usually around $8 a bottle where I live. Sometimes I find it on sale for $5 and grab a few bottles for the pantry. Depending on where you can shop you might find a decent wine under $5 but whomever stocks the stores around my end of the world doesn't. IMHO good beef matters also. The chemical soaked mystery beef from the C02 packs would not be my choice.

                                                                                  1. All I have been saying from my first post is JC recommended that you use the same quality burgundy in the bb as you would enjoy drinking with it. When I make a bb it's always a big enough to freeze some to give to the kids. I buy a few modestly priced burgundies around 20-25 dollars each. Then add what I need to the bb and drink what's left of any opened bottle/s with the bb. We all know it does cost to buy the best shoulder and the other ingredients. When I make it it's sort of a special occasion b/c everyone looks forward to eating it. So what's an extra few bucks at that point?
                                                                                    The "lighten up" was for the poster who implied I was advocating dumping a $500 bottle of wine into the bb.

                                                                                    13 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                      Let's all please remember that boeuf pour bourgignonne as bought in French supermarkets and at French butchers -- even in Burgundy -- is the tough leftover bits that they can't sell to eat any other way but marinated, preferably overnight, and cooked low and slow. It's some of the cheapest, toughest beef in the case.

                                                                                      (I usually upgrade to noix de gite, simply because it's more tender....but even that is just lowly chuck)

                                                                                      (and my point was that you CAN spend as much as you want on a bottle of burgundy -- whether that's $50 or $500 is completely beside the point -- but the assertation and supporting evidence that you don't HAVE to spend a lot of money on the wine that goes into the pot seems to continually drift right on past, unnoticed)

                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        Nobody has to do anything. It usually cost me about fifty bucks in ingredients, excluding the wine, b/c as I have pointed out I make a lot at a time. Not to mention the work involved. I'm not putting that amount of time/money into a french classic and then dumping in a five dollar bottle of plonk in. About twenty dollars a bottle is going to give me a good tasting bb and a good tasting glass of wine. I guess it's all relative. I don't care what Chris's CI 'experts' claim. No body can tell me there is no difference in flavor in identically made 'bb's' between one made with a five dollar bottle and another made with a twenty dollar bottle of 'red'. Tell that to JP or JC or any chef on the planet past or present. Go into any Michelin star restaurant and enquire what burgundy they use in their 'bb'. "Oh we only use the cheap stuff. You know that no one can taste the difference anyway according to the NYT and CI".
                                                                                        The only thing "drifting" right now is my continued interest in debating the issue any longer. LOL

                                                                                        1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                          sounds like an excellent setup for a home experiment, especially since you don't want to believe folks with a considerable amount of education and experience in the kitchen (**including** Julia herself!)

                                                                                          I believe Mario Batali said they use Bag-in-a-box for their osso buco.

                                                                                          Again -- nobody, but nobody (but you) said "plonk". We (and CI and the NYT and JC et al) said "inexpensive". It's as substantial a difference as saying you said to use a $500 bottle.

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            How about you c&p a post where I said to use a $500 bottle? You can't b/c I did not.
                                                                                            I think I'll send GF an email. He'll for sure be able to settle this for you.
                                                                                            IMO any bottle of 'red' that's selling for five bucks or less is a joke.

                                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                              No one is saying cheap, as in $5 cheap. No one is saying to cook with plonk.

                                                                                              What folks and the studies have said is a drinkable inexpensive wine works well, and possibly better than an expensive wine.

                                                                                              No, you didn't say "$500." But you mentioned a wine that you'd cook with if you felt like it for several hundred ($200-$400) -- the Colgin.

                                                                                              Julia Child herself recommended an inexpensive wine to cook with: a Chianti. Or one like it in weight and drinkability.

                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  Yeah if I was a millionaire just once I'd like to taste a 'bb' that had wine in it that cost say $300......just once.
                                                                                                  Until then I'm happy to use a $20-25 in the 'bb' and to drink the rest.
                                                                                                  JC from The French Chef Cookbook recommends "3 cups full bodied, young red wine such as Macon, Burgundy, or Mountain Red".

                                                                                                  1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                    so we're going to choose which decade Julia wrote which words?

                                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                      You choose your decade and I'll choose mine and we'll both be happy. LOL

                                                                                                      1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                        The point being Julia Child did not say, "Use the same quality burgundy in the bb as you would enjoy drinking with it."

                                                                                          2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            Thanks for pointing out that this is a dish for less-than-prime cuts. I discovered boeuf bourgignonne in college - getting on to 40 years ago - as a dish that used inexpensive ingredients and could be made up in large quantities and consumed over the course of a week. These days I use California wines because I live in California (within 4 hours of the vineyards in Mendecino, Sonoma, Napa, Livermore and Paso Robles) and the stuff's practically coming out of the faucets. If I were cooking it in France I'd use a French wine, but as I'm not....

                                                                                            Now, let's talk about something less controversial, like beans in chili <ducks>

                                                                                            1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                              ...and impresses the daylights out of fellow students who didn't know you could make something so tasty for so little!

                                                                                              That's one of the wonderful things about French farmhouse cooking...it tastes SO good, and most of it is still very cheap to prepare.

                                                                                        2. Julia Child The French Chef Cookbook, Bantam Books, Nov. 1971
                                                                                          Page xxix: ‘Wines To Use In Cooking’
                                                                                          “If a wine is thin, or sour, or sweet, or sticky, these unpleasant qualities will only be exaggerated as it’s flavor concentrates during the cooking process. Therefore any wine you use for cooking should be a good one. This does not mean it has to be an expensive vintage bottle, it simply means that it must be healthy, full of natural flavor, usually young, and tastes the way a proper wine should.”
                                                                                          If anyone can find a bottle of wine that fits Julia’s description for less than twenty bucks that you’d want to add to a ‘bb’ which JC describes as “the best beef stew known to man”, in an American store by all means tell everyone.

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                            It sounds like you are saying it is not possible to get a wine that is reasonably free of defects for under $20. I just don't think this is the case.

                                                                                            At $10 it's a struggle to find wines free of defects, but by $15 you should expect a wine free of defects and at $20 one starts to see some finesse. I wouldn't cook with a $30 bottle of wine anymore than I would fry breaded eggplant with a $30 bottle of oil. I would simply drink the $30 wine. Of course, I bet your bourguignon would be quite tasty.

                                                                                            At $10 I would suggest an Argentine Malbec. I think I could be very happy with that and probably a big step up from the yellow tail syrah (I haven't had any in a long time, hopefully I am not being unfair to it).

                                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                              In the Julia Child passage above [thank you!], she focuses on the price range of wine that works best in cooking.

                                                                                              That range runs from wines that aren't so cheap they have flaws -- they're "thin, or sour, or sweet, or sticky," -- to wines that are healthy and full-flavored but not expensive.

                                                                                              Since you are holding fast to your stance of using at least a $20 bottle of wine in your BB -- as you are in possession of both an enviable amount of Burgundy and a thickly padded wallet -- I take it you disagreed with the experiments and blind taste tests described in the New York Times article and elsewhere that demonstrated that the nuanced flavor differences that make a $20 bottle or a $500 bottle of Romanee-Conti better than a $7 bottle of wine were **lost** during the chemical reactions of cooking.

                                                                                              You probably didn't agree either with the article's conclusion that a cheap wine not only works fine, it works *better* than an expensive one. That's because of tannins. Expensive wines often have dominant and unresolved oak tannins that will make a dish bitter. Though your $20 Burgundy may not have tannins, more expensive Burgundies have plenty to support aging.

                                                                                              And that last paragraph in the article? When the guy, the romantic Burgundian, speaks? You probably totally AGREED with him. "It Boils Down to This: Cheap Wine Works Fine"

                                                                                              1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                <<If anyone can find a bottle of wine that fits Julia’s description for less than twenty bucks that you’d want to add to a ‘bb’ which JC describes as “the best beef stew known to man”, in an American store by all means tell everyone.>>

                                                                                                Ohmigosh, wines like that are everywhere in the US.

                                                                                                Between cheap/flawed wines and expensive wines, there's a huge Goldilocks middle of fruity, full-bodied wines perfect for cooking here in the US.

                                                                                                The Chianti JC used in her BB with came in a fiasco when she wrote the recipe, and the US price today for a similar Chianti is about $5 to $8 US.

                                                                                                Reading over the many other Chowhound posts and threads with cooking wine recommendations, $5 to $8 US also seems to be the
                                                                                                average price paid, so your $20 bottle seems expensive in comparison.

                                                                                                And since the flavor nuances of your $20 bottle are lost in cooking, there's no reason for someone -- especially Americans feeling the pinch -- to waste their money.

                                                                                                I drink very fine wine, and when a braise or sauce calls for red wine, I nearly always reach for the Perrin Reserve Red Rhone for about $7 US at Trader Joe's. It's good enough to drink -- and I probably have -- but I choose to drink other wines. I've found most cooks/wine-drinkers that I know of also purchase an inexpensive well-made wine to cook with and a more expensive wine to drink.

                                                                                                If I didn't see the Perrin Rhone to purchase, I'd have an enormous selection of other wines at roughly the same price: other Rhones, other French wines, California wines, Oregon and Washington State wines, Italian wines, Spanish wines, Chilean wines, Aussie wines and NZ wines. Aisles of wine. Everywhere you go in the US.

                                                                                                Even so, I envy you, all that Burgundy, all that time, so many braises.

                                                                                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                  Thanks for writing this. A lot has changed on the wine scene since Ms Child wrote her book, both in availability and attitudes towards wine. Back then, wine was something of a rarity in the US, something saved for special occasions. Today it's a major industry in some places in the US. In the 70s one rarely saw California wines on the East Coast, and what there were just weren't that good. Today it's a different story. In the 70s Americans didn't have much exposure to European cooking. Today, with cheap(ish) air fare more people travel and are exposed to other things - and realize that French vin de table and French grands crus are very different things.

                                                                                                  My special share-with-friends wines usually come directly from the producers in California. My everyday table and cooking wines come from Trader Joe's: my only hard-and-fast rule when it comes to wine is that I will not drink anything that costs less than $1/gal (but that's another story).

                                                                                                  This tread reminds me that I haven't made bb in a long, long time. With the cold weather it's time to do that again - and it's cousin, sauerbraten.

                                                                                              2. making BB tonight and it occurred to me that all this talk of using a good wine that you "happen to have open" is a bit of a crock. The recipe calls for 3 cups of wine, last I checked that's close enough to a full bottle to pretty much guarantee that you have to open something to make this. I'm using Coppola Rosso, which I've used before to good effect. Cheers all!

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Lmonach

                                                                                                  there are different recipes that call for different quantities.

                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                    I thought we were all talking about Julia Child's recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking?

                                                                                                2. Wow folks - you're going bizarre here over something that's such a SIMPLE issue.

                                                                                                  For those of you who have actually read Julia's books (& not just "Mastering the Art of French Cooking"), you'll find that she simply recommends using a wine that you'd be willing to drink. Period.

                                                                                                  And in her later books, you'll find that she found California jug wines perfectly acceptable. Don't agree? Please do the research before responding.