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What red wine to cook with - I don't drink wine

FitMom4Life Sep 29, 2011 10:26 AM

I don't care for wine, never have, I've tried all sorts..cheap stuff, good stuff....just don't like it. However I do believe it is a valuable ingredient in cooking. In the past, if I was making something that called for red wine, I'd add whatever I had in the cupboard (usually an old gift from someone that didn't know me well) and if I didn't have any, I'd substitute some other liquid, often chicken broth. Generally, that works well. IBut I want to make my favorite pasta sauce (arrabiata) and it does call for red wine. And I have none. I don't want to go out and buy something that I know nothing about...and I don't want to spend much money either. Any suggestions? Also, since I'll only be using a cup or so, the leftover will simply sit in the fridge for a while. How long is okay? I mean, I'm only cooking with it, not drinking it. I think I've left a bottle in the fridge for a couple of months, and used it in cooking, and it was fine. Just wondering what the concensus was, from those that are much more knowledgeable than I!

  1. e
    escondido123 Sep 29, 2011 10:35 AM

    Although I would say you could leave it out of your sauce, if you're going to buy wine definitely go for something under $10, probably a California Cabernet would be easiest to find. As to leftover, red wine freezes well so you could make it into "ice" cubes and keep them in the freezer for next time you need some for cooking.

    2 Replies
    1. re: escondido123
      greygarious Sep 29, 2011 10:42 AM

      I agree that nothing over $10 is called for. in fact, I have read comparative taste tests that conclude that in sauces, better results are achieved with cheaper wines than better ones. I too keep the bottle in the fridge, for many months sometimes. Another way to go is to buy wine in the 12-oz bottle (ir is it less than 12?) four and six-packs. Using wine in the arrabiata is the same concept as vodka sauce. There are compounds in tomatoes that only develop flavor in the presence of alcohol.

      1. re: escondido123
        FitMom4Life Sep 29, 2011 01:16 PM

        Shoot, I never thought about freezing in ice trays...that's a great idea.

      2. d
        dinwiddie Sep 29, 2011 10:38 AM

        For the sauce, buy some cheap Italian wine, preferably a Chianti but any red Italian will do. Banfi makes some fairly cheap stuff. Since you won't be drinking it, no need to buy anything better. If you are going to cook with it, you can keep it in the refrigerator for quite a while

        1 Reply
        1. re: dinwiddie
          FitMom4Life Sep 29, 2011 01:19 PM

          Cool. I'll be checking in the store this weekend. Thanks.

        2. Gio Sep 29, 2011 10:44 AM

          For me a decent jug wine is OK to use for cooking. I'm talking about something like Carlo Rossi burgundy. I make an Arrabbiata sauce regularly and use either the Rossi or a decent Chianti. There's no need to pay top dollar for a wine you're going to cook with, although it's best to use a wine that's pleasing to the taste as well. But, that won't work for you since you don't like wine to begin with.. Sometimes you'll find a recipe, however, that actually specifies a particular wine to use... then you're safe. Other than that here's a link to some pretty good information and a wine chart so you can see which wine to use for what kind of food.


          1. j
            jaykayen Sep 29, 2011 10:47 AM

            You could pretty much use it for a year or so if you keep it in the fridge. Honestly, some Charles Shaw or whatever under $5 is called for here. Carlo Rossi is pretty credited except you prob don't want a huge jug around.

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              gourmanda Sep 29, 2011 11:41 AM

              I disagree with the "keep it in the refrigerator for months" philosophy. You can try saving by freezing in ice cube trays. As for the wine, I'd ask the wine guy at the store for his recommendation. Tell him you don't want to spend more than $10 You can probably get a decent Australian Shiraz for that price. Try Yellow Tail or similar.

              5 Replies
              1. re: gourmanda
                dinwiddie Sep 29, 2011 12:28 PM

                Actually, a Shiraz would probably be too sweet for making arrabiata sauce, which is why I'd pick a Sangiovese. It isn't hard to get an inexpensive one and I always find it works best for Italian foods.

                1. re: dinwiddie
                  FitMom4Life Sep 29, 2011 01:22 PM

                  I'm smiling at the "too sweet" comment. I've never ever tasted a wine that I would call sweet. I guess that is why I don't care for it! :-) Only kind I have ever been able to even tolerate, was a locally made desert wine...and even then, I was only drinking it to please a boyfriend that desperately wanted me to expand my palate to include wine (which he loved). Of course, I eventually figured out he had a drinking problem, so that was that!!

                2. re: gourmanda
                  will47 Sep 29, 2011 12:39 PM

                  A good quality box wine (yes, a few exist) might work for these purposes - it will keep for about 6 weeks or more in the fridge, even for drinking. However, going through 3 liters of wine might be hard to pull off for a non wine-drinker unless you're doing a lot of cooking.

                  1. re: will47
                    gourmanda Sep 29, 2011 12:52 PM

                    I haven't ever found a boxed red wine that we like. White, yes but not red. What brand(s) of red box wine do you like (for drinking)?

                    1. re: gourmanda
                      will47 Sep 29, 2011 02:40 PM

                      I'll agree that the whites available seem to be better. The only red in a box I've tried is "From the Tank" from Jenny and François (a Côtes du Rhône). I think the white is nicer, but the red is not bad -- maybe a little too "grapey". I have seen some others that are supposed to be Ok (certainly good enough for cooking), but haven't explored them myself. As far as box wines for drinking, maybe bumping this thread would be a better place to look:

                      Of course one other thing with a red in the box is that it may take a bit longer to come to serving temperature than a white.

                3. Uncle Bob Sep 29, 2011 01:23 PM

                  I generally use a <$10 Burgundy for everyday, run of the mill red wine.......


                  1. sunshine842 Sep 29, 2011 01:40 PM

                    You could also buy splits or half-bottles -- you can generally pick up a four-pack of something not too awful for $6-7...then you can use one of those (iirc, there's about 1-1/2 cups of wine in a split) -- and not have to worry about the leftover.

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                      tj442x Sep 29, 2011 02:03 PM

                      i tend to favor merlot to get some good grape kick without getting all wine-nerd

                      1. b
                        Breezychow Sep 29, 2011 02:06 PM

                        A Gallo Burgundy or Chianti would work perfectly, & lasts forever in your pantry or fridge.

                        1. k
                          Kelli2006 Sep 29, 2011 02:19 PM

                          I also do not drink wine so I buy Turning Leaf brand Cabernet, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for cooking. Its about 5.00 a bottle.

                          1. danionavenue Sep 30, 2011 05:27 AM

                            I agree that a box wine would be better for you. It lasts for 9 months once you open it. you don't have to make ice cubes or "waste" anything. I think a red table wine or a burgundy would be fine. I put red wine in my pot roasts and beef stew. If you have guests over you could also use your box wine to whip up a pitcher of sangria. My other favorite red wine recipe is on food network . com red wine risotto with peas by

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                              Breezychow Sep 30, 2011 02:44 PM

                              I make Arrabiatta & Puttanesca sauces all the time using inexpensive Gallo Burgundy or Chianti. Both are not only inexpensive, but last nearly forever in a cool dry place - even after opening. I just used up the last of an opened gallon jug of Gallo Burgundy that I've had unrefrigerated for a year. I tasted it first & it was just fine.

                              The one caveat I'll bring up is that you never EVER buy one those "cooking wines" supermarkets sell. They're hell in a bottle & will ruin anything you cook with them. Remember - if it's not drinkable, it's not cookable.

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