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Your preferred Burgundy brand for Beef Bourguignon and Coq Au Vin?

Hi all,

Now that winter is approaching, I want to make beef bourguignon and coq au vin. Although there are of course many acceptable red wines I could use, I would like to go with *an actual Burgundy from France*, as that is what was traditionally used (or so I've read).

So, any brand recommendations from those of you that have made these dishes using a French Burgundy wine?


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  1. Whether Jadot or Drouhin or any other negotiant with an extensive collection of pinot noirs, you do not need an expensive wine for your needs.
    Keep in mind that you are COOKING with this wine and it is not meant to be drunk, although it can be.

    1. Study after study has shown you don't need to use expensive red wines in cooking. The traditional recipe used Burgundy because that was the local wine. Don't spend more than $10 for a bottle...it will be a waste of money once it has been cooked.

      6 Replies
        1. re: DiggingDogFarm

          multiple studies by multiple groups, academic and commercial, discussed ad nauseum on these boards. The search box or Google will help you find them.

          1. re: sunshine842

            There are also studies suggesting the opposite.
            I was hoping that someone could suggest a good double-blind study.

          1. re: c oliver

            The take away from the (fantastic) times article: all the hard edges of a cheap wine get softened by the cooking process. all the complexities and subtleties of an expensive wine get smoothed out.
            "cooking" wine was something you should avoid because it had salt and preservatives added. (thus the "only cook with what you drink" theory...which morphed into "cook with great wines")

        2. Do you have access to a trader joe's? They have a good selection and the right price- the staff can actually be helpful too!

          1. For preference, whatever French pinot noir is on offer at the supermarket. Failing that, whatever red wine is on offer at the supermarket.

            1. remember that these are farmhouse dishes.

              Mamie didn't care what label was on the bottle -- if it even had a label -- she used whatever red she had to hand, even if she was in the Languedoc or the Dordogne or the Loire, where she probably didn't have a Bourgougne.

              1. I read once that Chambertin was the one. Yikes! My CAV and BB are both scrumptious and usually based on fairly generic California PNs like BV Coastal or Rex Goliath. Of course the first bottle of accompanying wine is likely to be an upper end PN or a Burgundy. Sometimes the second bottle is more like an A to Z or a Firesteed.

                4 Replies
                1. re: tim irvine

                  If I have a good bottle of Chambertin, it's going directly in my glass, not into the pot. Damned if I'm going to simmer a good Chambertin to death.

                  That would be considered alcohol abuse.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Yes! It also seems to me that the quality of broth you use is very important. I'll bet BB made with really good home made broth and a seven dollar pinot will be better than one made with box broth and a high end Burg. I'll bet I'd love a bottle of a good year Chambertin to wash it down, but I doubt that will happen!

                    1. re: tim irvine

                      stock absolutely makes a difference (but there's no stock in either bourgignonne or coq au vin -- the wine IS the sauce)

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        I do the brown glacé onions in stock. Julia's recipe in MTAOFC has stock, and it is my favorite BB, but most of the time it is a much easier dish and stock is not an element. Her CAV uses it, too, but I do not like that recipe nearly as much as I like her BB.

                2. Thanks everyone! I'm going with the Jadot for the first attempt.

                  BTW, it there seems to be an assumption by some that I was looking for an *expensive* or *premium* brand. I'm not, I'm just looking for an appropriate *French* brand, merely for the fun of sticking to tradition, same reason I want to use a rooster for my first COV instead of a stewing hen.

                  Maybe because French brands tend to be expensive by default?

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: elcoyoteloco

                    A reliable inexpensive perfectly authentic (true, not Beaujolais*) Burgundy within the price and modesty range discussed in this thread is Jadot's widely available Bourgogne Rouge, also marked "Pinot Noir" on US labels.

                    Alleged "studies" notwithstanding, the common traditional US cookery practice of using any old cheap red in stews was given the lie, at least for reasonably sensitive palates, by a high-end chef friend of mine 15 years ago, who pointed out that stews made with cheap wine taste of cheap wine, to people who know how wines taste. (He then demonstrated it, with samples.)

                    *Beaujolais is a large winemaking region mostly in the Lyonnais department and formally grouped with the wines of Burgundy per se -- sometimes confusingly described as a "red Burgundy wine" in US labels -- but considered by trade and wine enthusiasts to be a different class of red; in particular it's based on the Gamay, not the Pinot Noir, grape and is not traditional in standard "authentic" boeuf-Bourg. recipes. The Jadot Bourgogne Rouge is a true traditonal Burgundy and near the bottom end of price for something reliable. You can also escalate to Jadot's moderately priced Santenays etc (again pinot-noir grape), should the Bourgogne Rouge per se be unavailable. (FYI I have been a US member of a venerable wine-education organization based in Burgundy and a wine buyer for various institutions, as well as an avid fan of Burgundian wines for 35 years. The largest group of wines in my personal inventory are Burgundies.)

                    1. re: eatzalot

                      Exactly the kind of informative, helpful answer I was looking for. Thank you.

                      1. re: eatzalot

                        the conversations about wine were NOT including cheap crappy plonk. There's a difference between cheap and inexpensive.

                        The studies that get cited were talking about using an inexpensive, but drinkable, wine for cooking, versus a bottle of baby-Jesus-wearing-velvet-slippers that requires a second mortgage.

                        1. re: eatzalot

                          Per sunshine842's last comment, yes: even if Morrison Wood did muse in his famous ahead-of-its-time US cookbook ("With a Jug of Wine," Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 1949) that it would be nice to use one bottle of Chambertin for the stew and another for the table, he most likely didn't do that, nor does anyone in Burgundy. (Chambertin has been among the most valued and expensive pinot-noir vineyards in the world, for centuries.)

                          There's a huge range of agreeable red wines; most of them make very decent stewing wines (in fact I have used a lot of them for that, over the last 40 years, including ALL of the suggestions in this thread so far, many times each; I often use Côtes-du-Rhône reds; Beaujolais was my first love in red wines). All yield somewhat different flavors in the result. The OP here, as I interpreted the request, wanted something readily available in the US, both true to Burgundian traditions, and moderately priced. That's an area where I have experience.

                          A personal wine interest for decades has consisted in finding the best possible Burgundian wine flavors for the lowest price (indeed some of them have not even come from Burgundy, after the US "pinot-zone" regions, at long last, learned how to handle that grape well in the 1980s). Contrary to many notions, excellent values in pinot-noir wines have been available in the US, from Burgundy, all along, IF YOU BOTHERED TO SEEK THEM OUT. The solid 1980 bourgognes-rouges at $4 gave way to EXCEPTIONAL $10-20 low-end Burgundies in 1996, 1999, 2002 (some of the low-end wines in those outstanding years were actually "declassified" overproduction from more prestigious estates) and I still pick up solid reds from there in that price range (though still drinking through exceptional 2002s bought in quantity, when they were on the market in 2004, at $10-15 -- quality far surpassing what many pinots in my native California offer for two or three times those prices).

                          So for this particular case, an obvious answer, true to the spirit and flavors of Burgundian stews as made in Burgundy itself, is low-end red Burgundian pinots, meaning in practice the labels Bourgogne Rouge, the slightly more selective regional appellations (e.g. Côte de Beaune, Haut Côtes de Nuits), or better-value named-commune labels, chiefly of the Côte Chalonnaise (Givry, Rully, Mercurey).

                          With Burgundies, "brand" is ambiguous. Several producers can make wines of a given region or large vineyard; both place and producer can be important. I singled out Jadot earlier because, among Burgundian producers widely available in North America, Jadot has a long history of solid reds up and down the enormous price range for these wines.

                          And of course, what I suggested are wines good also for drinking, so you can readily have "one for the stew and one for the table" -- it doesn't have to be Chambertin.

                        2. re: elcoyoteloco

                          It depends where you are. I live in California, roughly equidistant from the wine regions of Sonoma, Napa and Paso Robles (not to mention Livermore), and I can buy a pretty decent local wine for the price of a mediocre French one, so my cellar contains mostly California wines, with a few Chilean ones that were on sale at Trader Joe's. (For some reason, South African wines don't make it to these parts all that often, nor do Argentinian ones - at least not in the places I frequent). Therefore, I use California wines for cooking. When I visit my family in New York state the opposite holds: they get a wider selection of French wines at lower prices than I'm used to seeing, and a poor selection of overpriced Californian ones.

                          (Dons flameproof suit) I often cook with Charles Shaw, formerly known as Two-Buck Chuck, now 2 1/2 Buck Chuck. It can be a crap shoot, since consistency isn't their strong point, but if I come across a decent bottle I'll buy a case or two from the same lot - and I've had them improve with bottle aging. I also keep a screw-top wine bottle with the "leftovers" from various bottles to use for deglazing pans or spiking a tomato sauce or chili.

                          I'm glad you brought up using a rooster vs a stewing hen: too often discussions obsess about using the "right" wine and throw so-called authenticity out the window when it comes to the main ingredient.

                          1. re: tardigrade

                            there's nothing wrong with Chuck, nor with Double Dog Dare.

                            Both are drinkable; both would be find in a long braise.

                            1. re: tardigrade

                              I didn't mention it, but my post earlier today replying to David Ponting about the US history of relative Burgundy ignorance, at all price levels, was from California. I'm a native northern Californian and, besides being able to get decent California wines for the price of mediocre French ones, always observed something else that is less a part of today's conventional wisdom: that I could also, always, get decent French wines, in California, for the price of mediocre California ones. There are many many wines on the market, and generalizations like those usually reflect personal experience rather than the full available options.

                              As I mentioned in the other post, the US issue, even in California, and contrasting somewhat with the UK situation, has never been access to Burgundies, but familiarity with them.

                              Additionally, the famous red Burgundy grape, pinot noir, has a _relatively_ very short history of successful US production. When I started learning seriously about wines 30-some years ago, few even drinkable US pinots were in production at all,despite occasional exceptions and noble initiatives going back to the 1940s by Martin Ray and others. That situation improved, especially after 1990, but I'd still estimate, from some serious experience of this market, that more pinot labels from Burgundy (which has, after all, over 45,000 named vineyards) are available _even in California_ than US-made pinots. Consequently, this Californian's personal pinot collection continues to be mostly from Burgundy, with some from California and Oregon; notably the best $10-20 pinots I've obtained in the last 15-plus years have mostly been from Burgundy (details earlier in the thread).

                              I find that these points are often completely off the radar of newer California pinot drinkers, who typically gravitate to their own state's produce because it is customary, or because they first learn about those wines, or because they grow up believing that wines are most naturally labeled by grape variety rather than site of origin. (Of which Burgundy has many.)

                              1. re: tardigrade

                                I have used a Gnarly Head Zinfandel for Coq au Vin. It was pretty cheap, but was a great choice for the braise.

                            2. Try a Beaujolais, like Descombes Morgon or maybe a Chermette beaujolais-vilages? Reliably tasty and not too expensive.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: JimGrinsfelder

                                Completely agree with Beaujolais for the Coq. I think the brightness of the Gamay lifts the final product noticibly. Beaujolais Villages is unlikely to make any difference for the extra money.

                                Most grapes work for the beef though.

                              2. It's just not that important. I don't care what the wine experts claim. Too many variables. Not only from one year's vintage to the next, but in the particular pieces of meat, or the particular chicken, the soil in which the carrots and onions and other veg are grown, and the variety of seed used. Not to mention an individual's taste buds and whether or not s/he takes meds that affect their sense of taste, or smokes. You cannot stamp out completely identical braises like they were widgets. Cotes du Rhone is generally recommended as a good braising wine, so if I am buying specifically to braise, that's what I get. If you are going to worry about the wine you braise the meat in, what about the pot you use, and whether you're cooking with gas, electricity, or induction?

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: greygarious

                                  I agree that my best results when using a large volume of red wine for a braise are when I use a Cote du Rhone, something in the $12-$15 price range (Minneapolis St. Paul area, for price referencing). The multiple varietals of a decent Cote Du Rhone that yields a not-very-fruity, well structured, balanced, and mid-body wine tend to work well for my taste buds.

                                  1. re: foreverhungry

                                    Cotes du Rhone is my fallback -- it behaves well in most dishes, pairs well with most dishes, and most everyone likes it....all without having to rely on being some insipid bottle of 'meh'.

                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                      OT, but have you ever heard of the wine "Goats Do Roam"? :) I've not had it.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        I've heard of it, and giggled at the name, but have never seen it on a shelf or tried it.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Goats Do Roam is from a South African vineyard, and their red blend is good.

                                  2. I asked this same question a few years back. I used a very fruit forward California Zinfandel in Coq au Vin. I was on the fence with Pinot Noirs because they can be fruit bombs if you are not careful. I like a more structured wine for long braising dishes. I skipped the French wines because I live in California and have a lot more local wines to choose from than from France.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                      you don't want sweet and fruity, but yes, a Zin that's not overpoweringly tannined would work really, really well.

                                      You don't see it recommended in "authentic" (whatever that means) French recipes because Zin isn't grown in France.

                                      My French friends really enjoy drinking good zins when they visitng the US -- the only zins being imported are cheap plonk, so they can really only drink it when they're here.

                                    2. Just to throw another perspective in: Since I live on my own I'm often looking to both cook with and drink small quantities of wine, rather than chuck a whole bottle in an 8-portion recipe most of which will end up frozen, and have nothing to drink with it...

                                      To that end I will find myself both cooking with and drinking the same bottle, so I need to find the balance between "too good to use any in the cooking" and "too bad that I don't want to drink the rest". Maybe it's proximity to France, but in most places I've been to in Britain, particularly the specialist places (and even in Sweden's nightmarish systembolaget monopoly), if you scan the burgundy shelves you can find something (either an actual burgundy or an adjacent region) in the £7-£10 ($10-$15?) range that's perfect for the job, though often from a lesser-known vineyard. Watch the vintages though - I did this with the 2005 bordeaux and am really regretting not buying a lot more and laying it down...

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: DavidPonting


                                        That's the best route -- find something you can cook with AND drink, without spending a fortune. Bonus is that you KNOW the wine will match the food!

                                        1. re: DavidPonting

                                          Yes David, that is largely what I was advocating earlier in the thread, albeit in US language.

                                          Unfortunately for people in the US who like to cook these dishes and enjoy good inexpensive wine with them, Burgundies as moderately-priced options never penetrated mainstream consumer awareness as much as in the UK, even though good inexpensive ones have long been available here. The issue is absolutely not lack of access to these wines, but lack of familiarity. Absent familiarity, and some sense of the different labels in Burgundy, that genre can appear treacherous, with some pricey products that aren't always even any good.

                                          But maybe you should regard this a blessing for the UK. Harry Waldo Yoxall, colorful author of the classic English-language introductory consumers' book on Burgundy wines, remarked there that the region's whole prduction would only supply something like 5 bottles per year for every citizen of the British Isles, to say nothing of what would happen if they were shared with North America!

                                          1. re: eatzalot

                                            Well I definitely drink my share on that count... That said, given average household size, the number of people who'd actually cook these dishes, and the proportion of those who would actually look for a Burgundy rather than the cheapest they could find (whether to cook with or drink), I'd guess that it's more like 50 bottles per person who actually uses them per year. We might let you have some occasionally :)

                                            In terms of consumer consciousness, there is actually a very large section of the UK population that will never buy French (or any European, but particularly French) wine in Britain, since it has an image of being overpriced (though the Calais ferry does a sterling service in relieving some of that pressure)...

                                            1. re: DavidPonting

                                              "there is actually a very large section of the UK population that will never buy French (or any European, but particularly French) wine in Britain, since it has an image of being overpriced..."

                                              Interesting! I have observed precisely the same thing for some decades around the San Francisco Bay area, despite the presence of famous superb shops specialized in wine, with vast European selections that would be impressive on the E. Coast (where I also have lived) and prices not greatly higher that you see for the same wines in France itself. Conversely, I remember buying some very well chosen California labels in the Northeastern US even in the 1970s, at shops like Cave Atlantique in the Boston area, which assisted my own education about California wines.

                                              So again, the issue in many places really is familiarity, knowing the options -- as you said, perceptions -- rather than fundamental availability of wines.

                                          2. re: DavidPonting

                                            Did you know you can freeze wine with little ill effects? Might work out for you. http://www.indystar.com/article/20130...

                                            1. re: escondido123

                                              Thanks for the link, escondido.

                                              It's the sort of idea that could become a wine-storage fad (I could post a thread on the Wine board about all the storage fads I've seen come and go in the last few decades), but really it's just the old Arrhenius equation again --


                                              Chilling things slows the chemical processes that corrupt them. This gets more complex around phase changes (like, liquids freezing solid), in fact the wine may separate into components with different melting points (so-called freeze distillation), but since they all began as happily mixed liquids they ought to resume that union upon melting.

                                              On the other hand a well-sealed refrigerated bottle can last reasonably well for a matter of days, with less use of energy to preserve it, and less delay to enjoy it when you want it.

                                          3. I like to go to Trader Joe's and pick up something around $10 that I can sip while browning the bacon for the bourguignon. They have a lot of great choices for cooking that are the right price for using in the pot and enjoying in the glass.

                                            1. Personally, I generally use a $5 bottle of red, or something akin to Franzia if I'm making something that's going to be cooked for a long time with many other assertive flavors. But if you find a good french wine, I'd love to hear how it stacks up to standard cheap table wine.

                                              1. Full disclosure: I'm not a chef, and I'm not a wine snob, as will be obvious.

                                                For cooking, I usually use whatever leftover red wine I have in my refrigerated wine cabinet, sealed with VacuVin. I've used bottles that have been kept that way for many months. Also, whenever we found an inexpensive wine that we liked, we would buy it by the case and sometimes forget to use it up in its optimum time. I've found that these low-tannin wines can almost always be used for cooking. Decant a bottle to give it a chance to breathe before giving up and pouring it down the drain.

                                                For white wine, for deglazing, I like nothing better than white vermouth, which I believe I learned from Julia Child. It seems to keep forever.

                                                I'm writing this post to put in a good word for Franzia boxed wine.

                                                My husband bought a 5 litre box of Franzia Burgundy at least 7 years ago to use for cooking. The date on the box, barely readable, is May 10, 2006. I don't remember where he had read or heard that this would be a good idea. We used it for a while, keeping it on a shelf in our "storage room," which is sort of like an indoor root cellar where food in jars or cans shares space with our oil tank. After a while, it got buried behind some bottles of water and we forgot about it. Today, I was looking for something on the shelf and found the box. The cardboard was delaminated and covered with mold. Since I hate throwing anything away, I washed it off in the sink, cut all the cardboard off, and cleaned the spigot as well as I could. The wine not only was still usable, but it was actually good enough to drink. I would definitely buy this wine again for cooking. (My box says that it's from California, but it seems to now be produced in Argentina, so it may well be different.)

                                                P.S. Just for fun, I opened up my Julia Child to see if I'd noted what kind of wine we've used for her Boeuf Bourguignon. The notes just say that we used a few leftover full-bodied reds. However, I did write down what wine we DRANK with it last time: a 1999 Cotes du Rhone Villages, Domaine Chaume-Arnaud Vinsobres. It was a perfect match.