Chardonnay for cooking is a fun way to add new flavors to your dish. Conventional wisdom suggests using a cheap wine for cooking. That’s a mistake, and you’re about to learn better ways to use the chardonnay grape in your cooking.
Chardonnay for cooking is an excellent way to enhance a meal, especially cooking with cream sauces. However, it is critical to avoid poor-quality wine as your cooking wine because that will undermine the dish. Keep reading to find Chardonnay for cooking suggestions.
1) Chardonnay for Cooking: When Does It Make Sense?
What if you have a bottle of Chardonnay on hand, and you want to design your meal around it? Chardonnay is a generous compliment to dishes that involve heavy cream sauces, including tomato sauce. Some cooking experts recommend using unoaked chardonnays for cooking. An unoaked chardonnay will have a more straightforward set of flavors to manage. However, if you love a well-oaked chardonnay and want to experiment, go ahead and try it! Chardonnay can also become a key ingredient in white wine sauce.
2) Using Chardonnay as a Food Pairing
In some cases, you might not want to cook with wine. You might find a bottle you want to share with offers and don’t want to lose a drop to the cooking process. In that case, look for chardonnay food pairing ideas that are proven to work.
- Chicken. Baked and poached chicken is an excellent pairing with Chardonnay.
- Pork. Roast pork, pork loin, and boneless pork are excellent combinations with Chardonnay
- Cheese. Brie and Mozzarella are your best bet for Chardonnay. You probably want to avoid aged goat cheese.
- Seafood. Try a crab roll, sole with butter, or lobsters with butter.
- Pizza. While no a classic pairing, there are food types of pizza that work well with Chardonnay. Try a white pizza with chicken with your Chardonnay. As a substitute, you can also pick a mushroom and brie pizza.
- Grilled Pumpkin Salad. A well-oaked Chardonnay with a smoky character is a good pairing for this vegetarian meal.
Avoid pairing Chardonnay with foods with a heavy amount of seasoning or certain cheeses (e.g., aged sheep’s cheese or aged goat’s cheese).
3) Chardonnay for cooking: Five ideas under $35
To make life easier for you, look for the following 5 Chardonnay wines. You will find white wine ideas from California, France, and other places, so you have some options to consider. As a wine lover, you might also want to experiment with other kinds of wine in your white wine sauce (e.g., Sauvignon Blanc) from time to time.
This California Chardonnay (13.8% alcohol) received a 90 score from Wine Advocate. As a Chardonnay for cooking, this wine brings interesting flavors like citrus, orange blossom, and oak aging characteristics (e.g., creamy flavor).
Finding the 2016 vintage might be more difficult, but it is will the effort. With a 91 score from Wine Enthusiast, this California Chardonnay has a 13.5% alcohol level. Unlike the wine mentioned above, this bottle of wine offers different flavors like sweet apple and hints of herbal tea.
With a 94 score from Vinepair, this French Chardonnay (13%) from Burgundy from 2017 offers “ripe pear fruit and toasty vanilla.” Vinepair notes it is a bit tart, so it is an excellent choice to look for an alternative to overly sweet Chardonnays.
With an impressive 91 score from Wine Enthusiast, this Chardonnay from the Russian River area of Sonoma County is different. When you pick an unoaked chardonnay for cooking, you’ll experience different flavors here. Consider using this Chardonnay in cooking if you are looking to skip the flavors of vanilla and smoke commonly associated with Chardonnay.
Let’s end the list with a bottle of French wine. Vinepair gave a score of 88 to this Burgundy wine. Like the wine mentioned above, this bottle of wine sees no oak. It is considered a good pairing for poultry dishes like roasted or grilled chicken. This wine is a good reminder that you can get appealing French wines at a reasonable price if you know where to look.
4) Chardonnay for cooking vs drinking
When you buy a chardonnay for cooking, remember that you are likely to drink some or all of that wine. After all, many recipes only ask for smaller amounts of wines, like a few ounces.
Unless you have a wine collection, you might only have a few bottles of wine on hand at any one time. Therefore, it is best to choose a high-quality Chardonnay for cooking because you will probably end up drinking it with dinner. Even if you are preparing food that doesn’t pair
5) Chardonnay for cooking: Worried About Allergy to alcohol?
As a wine lover, keep in mind that some people may have an allergy to alcohol or strongly dislike wine. If you are preparing for a cocktail party or dinner, it is wise to have alcohol-free options. You have two options to include alcohol-free options in your dinner party.
Option 1: Prepare Additional Courses
Rather than tinkering around with your proven recipes, prepare another dish that does not use white wine sauce or alcohol in any way. For example, you could offer a cheese course as an appetizer or a soup course.
Option 2: Make Changes To Your Favorite Recipes
If you are highly confident with your favorite recipes, consider experimenting. If your dinner party guests happen to dislike Chardonnay in particular, you could switch to Sauvignon Blanc for your white wine sauce. If you need to switch to fully alcohol-free options, look at your sauces. Specifically, you might look at a cheese sauce. With this approach, you can try to make everybody at your dinner party happy.
Preparing multiple courses is one of the best ways to accommodate the tastes and preferences of different people. You can also keep wine as a treat for the end of the meal. In that case, find out more by using the “Wine Chocolate Pairing: 7 steps to take dessert to a new level” guide to discover new ideas. The critical tip: make sure you choose high-quality dark chocolate! In general, it is best to choose a bar of straight-up dark chocolate to pair with wine (i.e., no fillings) when you are getting started.
Chardonnay for cooking: cheap is a mistake
Choosing a wine based on price alone is not a good idea when you choose a chardonnay for cooking. In general, the lowest price wines are most likely to take shortcuts. For example, the lowest-priced wines in the world sometimes have additives and other changes to the flavor. In addition, the lowest-priced wines are less likely to add exciting flavors to the wine.
Instead of seeking out Chardonnay based on price alone, look for other factors in the wine. For example, if you are making a French dish, it might be fun to add a classic French Chardonnay like Chablis. Not sure about the difference between Chardonnay vs. Chablis? Find out more in my comparison article: Chardonnay vs Chablis: cost, taste, and critical differences.
Beyond price, it is helpful to consider the alcohol level when choosing a cooking wine. Ideally, you want to choose a wine with an alcohol content between 10 and 13%. Some of the wines suggested below push this threshold slightly, but they are well worth trying if you plan to drink the wine with dinner. I
Want To Learn More About White Wines?
There is a whole world of white wines (like the best white wine with Mediterranean food) to discover beyond Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. For example, you can use this introduction to French white wine regions to explore new ideas. For example, opening a bottle of Gewürztraminer from the Alsace region is a fun experience in the summer. If you are looking for something closer in taste to Chardonnay, look for a bottle of Viognier.
If you want to make your dinner party memorable, add a wine tasting at home. All you need to do is pick up a few bottles of wine (e.g., ask each guest to bring a different Chardonnay) and then guide your guests. Running a wine tasting at home doesn’t have to be intimidating or snobby. Ust the wine tasting at home guide.