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White Wines for Red Wine Drinkers

White Wines for Red Wine Drinkers


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We all know that die-hard red wine drinker, the one who refuses to stray from his California cabernet or her Aussie shiraz. But with temperatures beginning to warm up, a chilled glass of white wine can be much more thirst-quenching. So the question is: Which white wines might convert even the most stubborn of red devotees?

There are countless reasons to love white wine: For one, whites tend to be incredibly versatile when it comes to food pairings, and two, high-end white wines tend to cost less than their red wine counterparts. Solving the puzzle of whites for red wine drinkers requires a question: What are the reasons that these people don’t like whites in the first place? A few responses are common: 1) That white wines are usually sweeter, or fruitier; 2) That whites aren’t as interesting as reds; and 3) That whites can be too tart, or acidic (which appears to contradict point number one, but many wines can be both sweet and high in acidity).

With this in mind, here are a few styles of wine that would allow red wine drinkers to dip a toe into the pool of white wines — or better yet, to dive right on in!

Skin-Contact Whites (or "Orange Whites")

White wine made like red — what better place to start? Wines get their color from grape skins, so all red wines are made by fermenting the juice in contact with the skins. Some winemakers choose to make their whites this way as well, giving the wines deeper colors (hence the name “orange wine”), more texture from tannins, and often, increased aromatic complexity. The wines often develop richer fruit flavors, earthy qualities, and secondary flavors of hay and honey, making them far from boring.

Try it:

2012 Ramato Pinot Grigio ($24): Rich and complex, this isn’t your mother’s grocery store Pinot grigio. This wine from Channing Daughters on Long Island has an incredible balance of baked fruit, honey, and baking spices.

2011 Kabaj Rebula, Goriska Brda ($25): The complexity of this wine is evident from first sniff — baking spices, Meyer lemon, and dried fruit. It tastes surprisingly bright and a bit tangerine-like. There’s no doubt that it would be an excellent pairing partner.

Fuller-Bodied Whites

Most white wines are lighter than reds, with higher acid that makes them seem thin and tart to red wine drinkers. Certain grapes tend to produce wines that are lower in acid and fuller in body, such as those of the Northern Rhone — viognier, marsanne, and roussanne. Some wines from Alsace fall into this category as well. The softer fruit flavors and heavier mouthfeel will make them more red-wine-like and therefore, more approachable.

Try it:

2010 Valentin Zusslin Auxerrois “Vielles Vignes, Alsace ($18): This is the kind of wine that you could drink all day long — full, round, and full of peach and pear fruit. The acid isn’t very high, making it round and easy-drinking, finishing off with a lip-smacking minerality.

2011 Jean-Louis Chave Selection “Celeste,” Saint-Joseph ($30): Made from 90 percent roussanne and 10 percent marsanne, this Rhone blend is weighty and concentrated with notes of peach, honey, apricot, and a bit of spice. Minerality and present acid give the wine excellent structure.

Oxidized Whites

Oxidation isn’t always a bad thing! In fact, some winemakers incorporate it into their wines on purpose, to soften fruit and acidity and to allow wines to develop complex flavors. This category can overlap somewhat. For example, many orange wines have oxidative qualities, and many oxidative wines are fermented with skin contact. The softened acidity and nuttiness that these wines often take on can appeal to red wine drinkers.

Try it:

2008 Michel Gahier “Les Follasses” Chardonnay, Jura ($22): Made in the “sous voile” method that is traditional for this French region, this wine is deliberately oxidized in partially full, old oak barrels. This is a classic Jura chardonnay, all hazelnut and honey, and it takes on a minerally, yellow apple character.

2004 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Gravonia" Crianza, Rioja ($27): The oxidative quality of this one is just one of many things going on in this complex white Rioja, which is aged in barrel for four years before bottling. Notes of dried fruit, almond, honey, and white flowers characterize a wine that is both round and fresh.

Read more about the World of Wine.


‘The cardinal rule is if you wouldn’t drink it, you shouldn’t cook with it,’ said food and wine expert Fiona Beckett in Decanter magazine.

This is why you shouldn’t use corked wines in cooking. ‘The cork taint will come through in the finished dish.’

Avoid cheap ‘cooking wines’ say our experts, and stick to the level of wines you would tend to drink.

‘At best they won’t add anything to your finished dish, and at worst they’ll actively make it unpleasant,’ Pete Dreyer, food writer at Great British Chefs, previously told Decanter.com.

However, don’t feel you have to use an expensive wine, said Beckett, who wrote The Wine Lover’s Kitchen: Delicious recipes for cooking with wine.

A bottle around the £8 mark should be fine.

‘The only time to [use more expensive wine] is if a dish needs only a small amount of wine and you’d otherwise have to open another bottle,’ wrote Beckett in The Wine Lover’s Kitchen.

For example, her book includes a Champagne and mushroom risotto recipe.

‘It might seem wantonly extravagant…. But you need only a glass and the bonus is that you can drink the rest with the risotto.’

If you are going to use a separate wine for cooking with, you could take inspiration from the style you would drink with the dish, but go for a cheaper alternative.

‘An inexpensive Côtes du Rhône, for example, in a dish with which you’d drink a Gigondas,’ suggested Beckett.

If you’re worried about needing to open a bottle that then won’t be drunk, try this hack:

‘Freeze leftover wine in an ice cube tray and keep the cubes handy in a freezer bag to add to a dish,’ she wrote.


Which Dry White Wines Are Best For Cooking? White Wine Guide

Ah, cooking wine. With its relatively straightforward name, we're pretty sure you know what cooking wine is. Cooking wine is made for cooking — not drinking. Mind-blowing, we know! Because cooking wine is made explicitly for cooking, it is pretty different than drinking wine. While sure, you could still drink it like regular wine we wouldn't suggest it because it wasn't intended for that purpose. We are gonna talk about the best white wines for cooking and some favorite recipes for food & wine pairings.

Is Cooking Wine Different From Regular Wine?

The primary differentiation between cooking wine and drinking wine is the alcohol content. Drinking wine has a lower alcohol content (typically 10% or less), and cooking wine has a higher alcohol content (usually 18% or more). This difference in alcohol content is because the alcohol is burned off while cooking. If cooking wine did not have as much alcohol, it would leave your food tasting like burnt wine, which is not the flavoring people are typically hoping for when cooking with wine!

Wine has four chief applications in the kitchen: a marinade ingredient, a cooking liquid, a flavoring in a finished dish, and lastly, and most importantly, for enjoying while cooking. In general, the purpose of wine in cooking is to enhance the food's flavor and aroma.

The concept of "sugar and spice and everything nice" is true for seasoning your food. Like all seasoning, there's a fine line between enhancing the dish's flavor and overbearing it. Add too little wine, and you won't get the taste you're hoping for add too much wine, and it will be extremely overwhelming. Neither of these options is ideal or what you're looking for when cooking.

Adding wine too late in the preparation process creates a harsh, metallic taste that won't make the food taste good. Instead, wine should simmer amongst your food and sauces, providing the opportunity to enhance the dish's flavor. As wine cooks, it reduces and becomes an extract which flavors.

While wine does belong alongside every dish, it does not belong in every dish. More than one wine-based sauce in a meal can be a little monotonous it is best to have one wine-based sauce per course.

Which Is Better for Cooking: White or Red?

The trick to cooking with wine is knowing what characteristics the wine brings to the dish you are cooking. Sweet wines will add sweetness dry wines will add a drier flavor. If you are hoping for a sweet dish, try a sweet wine, and vice versa. If you use sparkling wine, no worries, it works much like a white wine would too!

When choosing white or red wine, what is most important is what you are cooking. Either one is great, and both have their place in any meal. However, don't think you need to stick to one style of wine for a whole meal. A crisp white wine goes well with shellfish and cream sauces, while a full-bodied red pairs nicely with grilled or smoked meats.

Rich, dry wine, such as a Chardonnay, is best for creamy chicken dishes crisp wines, such as Pinot Grigio, work well with lighter options like seafood dishes and light, fruity white wines are perfect for veggies. Sherry wine is a sweet fortified wine typically used to add a nutty flavor to dishes along with the sweet flavor.

Some people opt to use white wine in the kitchen for purposes other than drinking and cooking. One of these ways is to deglaze a pan. A deglaze is the process of removing bits of food from a dirty pan with wine — or, in this case, making your pan shine after a long day of work. Unless you are some sort of god when it comes to cooking, sometimes bits of food is leftover in your pan.

Red wine is a popular choice for meaty dishes such as beef stews, bolognese, and reductions. The tart flavor and deep color of wines like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz/Syrah, and Cabernet Franc make them perfect for rich, savory meals.

If you're making dessert, sweet red wines are the way to go. Much like Riesling, Madeira, and Sauternes, sweet reds pair well with poached fruit in tarts or cakes. They also make fantastic glazes for meat and vegetables.

Cooking with rose wine is also an option if you are opting for lighter flavors. The dryer varietals of rose wine are perfect for items like marinades and casseroles.

Why Is Dry White Wine Used for Cooking?

In general, you should choose a dry white wine when cooking unless your recipe calls for something different. You want the wine to add acidity, not sweetness. For most cooks, white wine is a pantry staple because it is incredibly versatile.

Dry white wine serves many purposes, from deglazing brown bits for a pan sauce for sauteed fish, pork, chicken, or mushrooms to using it in risotto for a touch of acidity. A dry white wine is essentially any wine that isn't sweet. For cooking, you want a wine with high acidity.

Why Do Cooking Wines Need a High Acidity?

Wines with 10 to 14 percent alcohol content are suitable for cooking because they have the right combination of acidity and alcohol. A wine that's too alcoholic will not have enough acidity to tenderize your food, so it will take a lot longer to cook.

What Recipes Can Use White Wine?

There are very few food items that aren't improved by white wine. Delicious Italian pasta dishes, mussel dishes, oysters, and a ridiculous amount of chicken recipes are made even better by simply adding white wine. Here are a few of our favorites:

What Are the Best Dry White Wines for Cooking?

Will Cooking With Wine Get Me Drunk?

Drinking cooking wine might get you drunk however, cooking with drinking wine will not.

Can I Substitute Anything for Cooking Wine?

Doing a dry month or happen to not have any on hand (because you drank it all?) Been there, done that! There are plenty of non-alcoholic substitutes you can use while cooking that are equally as delicious as wine! While some replacements, such as grape juice, replace wine equally in recipes, others need other components, like added ingredients, to be an adequate substitute.

The vital thing to remember when looking for wine at the grocery store, as we've mentioned, is remembering that wine is added to create the desired flavor. So when replacing wine, keep that in mind! Here are some options: red and white wine, fruit or veggie juices such as tomato, pomegranate, cranberry, grape, apple, or stocks, such as chicken, beef, veggie or lemon juice. Whether the wine is from California, New York or Italy, make sure that you know how it is going to add subtle nuances to your dishes.


Why Pinot Grigio When Cooking or Preparing Meals:

Pinot Grigio is crisp, well-structed and sophisticated making it a perfect wine for cooking
Pinot Grigio is best with fish, seasonal pasta dishes or chicken. It is also good by itself with an aperitif on a hot summer day!

If you&rsquore interested in cooking with wine, download our Ebook. You&rsquoll get exclusive access to some of our family&rsquos favorite Italian recipes.

Celebrate with Your Favorite Wine!

Now that you&rsquore aware of some interesting facts about white and red wine, which one will you choose? You can shop a variety of white and red wines from our website. Our wines are also available across the world &ndash find a store near you!


6 Excellent Red Styles for White Wine Drinkers

It’s presented as an either/or question, one that produces staunch loyalists on both sides of the fence. Take white wine lovers, for instance it may be thirty-five degrees and snowing outside, with a spread of Pasta Bolognese and dry-aged steak on the table, but try to pour a hearty red in their glass instead of a chilled white, and they’ll look at you as if you have two heads (hi, Mom!). But as hot summer sunshine gives way to crisp autumn breezes, the season lends itself to comforting, warming reds. For those white wine lovers looking to dip a toe in the other side of the pool (and effectively double the amount of wines to explore), what are the best reds to ease the transition?

There are a few things that create hesitation when it comes to diving into the world of red wine. At the most basic level, there’s the matter of temperature: red wines are served warm. For those who are used to drinking wine chilled, this is a whole new experience that, frankly, can be off-putting. The fact is that, while most people agree that room temperature is ideal, red wines actually benefit from being served slightly cooler – around 65 degrees. Certain reds also taste delicious with a full chill, making them excellent choices for first-time red wine drinkers.

Structurally, red wines have a different mouthfeel than whites, mostly due to body and tannin. Body-wise, red wines are typically heavier than whites, which means that they are usually more alcoholic as well, since alcohol and body often correlate. Lighter-bodied reds are the place to start going from a delicate, 12% ABV white to an easy-drinking, 12.5% ABV red is less jarring than going straight to a 14.5% ABV monster.

Most red wines also contain tannins, structural compounds that create a drying sensation and texture in the mouth. Because tannins are found in grape skins, seeds, stems, and other ligature, they are not usually present in white wines. This is because, when grapes are crushed for whites, the juice and the solids are typically separated immediately, whereas in red wines, the solids are soaked in the juice for some period of time in order to extract color, flavor, and, yes, tannin. Some winemakers choose not to soak the solids in the wine for too long, creating a less tannic wine, and some grapes simply have fewer tannins. These low-tannin wines are the ones to look for.

Fruit flavors can also be helpful when it comes to trying red wines for the first time. Though the general types of fruit flavors differ from white to red wine – think lemon, apple, and peach as opposed to cherry, blueberry, and blackberry – the sensation of fruit is a security blanket. Earthiness in red wine can seem much different than in a white, sometimes making a red seem overly dry and harsh, so fruit-forward reds are friendlier.

To summarize: lighter-bodied, low-tannin, fruit-forward reds are excellent wines for white wine drinkers to transition into red. Plus, happily, these types of reds taste delicious chilled! Here are six key reds to seek out:

Pinot Noir

An oldie but a goodie, Pinot Noir is a wine that tends to be medium to light bodied, easy drinking, and importantly, available almost everywhere. Though its birthplace is Burgundy, Pinot Noir is grown in a variety of different styles around the world, including California, Oregon, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, and more. In general, cooler-climate, Old World Pinots will be lighter and earthier, whereas warm climate, New World Pinots will be bigger and more fruit-forward.

Try: 2013 Thevenet et Fils 𠆋ussieres Les Clos’ Bourgogne Rouge, a light, bright, cherry-filled wine from the south of Burgundy, in the Mฬonnais.

Gamay

Despite its bad rap as the basis for cheap Beaujolais Nouveau, Gamay is perfect for so many occasions. Bright and juicy, with very few tannins, it’s the ultimate chilled red, retaining character even at cool temperatures. To get the full experience, look for village- or cru-level Beaujolais, or seek out examples from the Loire Valley and northern Rhône. New World winemakers like Division and Bow & Arrow have also begun making excellent, slightly more fruit-forward Gamays in the past few years.

Try: 2013 Domaine des Billards Saint-Amour, Beaujolais, a super pretty cru Beaujolais that smells like roses and happiness.

Barbera

Barbera’s light body and low tannic structure caused it to be thought of as a lesser grape in Italy’s Piedmont: suitable for easy-drinking table wine, but not noble enough for aging. Nowadays, these same qualities cause wine drinkers to fall in love with Barbera’s friendly, no-fuss nature, especially now that winemakers have re-embraced the grape, making more refined versions. Some Barberas can be quite earthy, so this is a great wine for those who want to ease into earthier reds.

Try: 2013 Scarpetta Barbera del Monferrato, Piedmont, a juicy, medium-bodied Barbera with just a touch of earth, made by an American chef-Master Somm duo.

Schiava

An indigenous grape from the very north of Italy, in Alto Adige, Schiava is a wine that can seem like half-rosé, half-red wine. It tends to be very light and soft, with an air of Alpine freshness from the neighboring mountains. For those who like a full chill on their wine, look to Schiava.

Try: 2011 Nusserhof 𠆎lda,’ Alto Adige, a pale, almost rosé-like wine that just pops with fresh strawberry and cherry fruit.

Lambrusco

Who says that red wines can’t be sparkling? Once simply a sickly-sweet, fizzy red, the best of today’s Lambruscos (produced primarily in Emilia-Romagna) are dry sparklers with a mix of raspberry, blackberry, and some earth flavors. It’s also perfect for red wine drinkers who are in a bubbly kind of mood!

Try: NV Fiorini �o Rosso’ Lambrusco, Emilia-Romagna, a dry, cherry-and-violet filled bubbly that is all too crushable.

Zinfandel

Warning: Zinfandel is not a light-bodied wine! But for lovers of fuller-bodied whites likeChardonnay, a heavier red that has a touch of oak can be seen as a natural counterpart. Unlike a tannic, structured red like Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel remains juicy, round, and not too tannic, making it friendlier, so that the fruit will still stand out if the wine is chilled.

Try: 2013 Dashe Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, Sonoma, a deep, full-bodied red Zin that packs tons of black raspberry and chocolate flavors without being overly tannic.


Red Wine vs White Wine: Taste Profile

Red wine and white wine generally have very different taste profiles. Here’s what you can expect.

Red wines have more tannins than whites and have the flavor of berries, from strawberries, raspberries to the darker blackberries and plums.

Reds with higher tannin levels age better, and with aging, the resulting wine can become incredibly complex.

White wines tend towards crisp, citrusy flavors with floral aromas. The richer whites will be nuttier and sometimes buttery.

You won’t find much tannin in white wine, but the acidity will be more pronounced. Acidity is what gives white wine it’s crisp, tart character.


Appetizers that Go Well with Wine

Prosciutto-wrapped Breadsticks

Why it is apt for wine tasting: Prosciutto-wrapped breadsticks is a salty variant of ham and is commonly served in many Italian restaurants. This Italian appetizer is baked with the help of dough and Parmesan, an Italian cheese. The salt cleanses the tongue and mildly dehydrates the mouth. This greatly helps the drinker to taste the flavor of the wine and exposes all the taste buds to the wetness of the wine.

Coupling Suggestions: Prosciutto blends well with wines with a piquant flavor. Try white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Gewurztraminer. If red wines is your pick, go for Pinot Noir, Chianti, and Dolcetto.

However, Sauvignon Blanc is the best pick for it is a dry wine that is high in acidity and very crispy. Its intensity matches well with foods like Prosciutto.

Best Paired With: Sauvignon Blanc

Bruschetta

Why it is apt for wine tasting: Considered to be the best appetizer with wine is the Italian delicacy, Bruschetta―a preparation of grilled bread, olive oil, red pepper, and tomatoes. This dish is prepared with a lot of pepper and spicy tomato, and the person feels tempted to have the wine.

The wine being sweet and soothing to the taste buds is very well appreciated by the drinker. The Bruschetta, being spicy, alerts all the taste buds on the tongue. The alerted taste buds are, thus, thoroughly able to feel the soothing and pleasing effect of the wine.

Coupling Suggestions: Chianti wins the race when it comes to pairing a wine with this popular appetizer. Its acidic nature can withstand strong flavors of the ingredients in Bruschetta. If you’re looking for a white wine pair, try Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc. Talking about red wines, Barbera and Zinfandel will go well with this lip-smacking dish. Just make sure you keep away from wines that contain a lot of tannin.

Best Paired With: Chianti

Cured Olives

Why it is apt for wine tasting: Cured olives are a well-known appetizer in the Mediterranean regions. The olives are cured using salt, which reduces the amount of water in the olive. The salty accompaniment once consumed, makes a person tempted to drink wine. Again, the sour and salty appeal brings out the taste of wine in a brilliant manner.

Bitter foods such as oil-cured olives will diminish the perception of bitterness or astringency from the tannins in young red wines, allowing the full impact of the fruit flavors to come through.

Coupling Suggestions: Pairing cured olives with a wine will abate its bitterly intensity and enhance the fruit flavors. The top picks for cured olives will be Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. The wine pairings get difficult with olive when the dish is accompanied with cheese―depending on the type of cheese. For instance, if you’re serving olives with cheddar cheese, try Barolo. If you’re going for Asiago cheese, look for something like Pinot Grigio.

Best Paired With: Pinot Grigio

Mini Quiche

Why it is apt for wine tasting: Mini Quiches are basically prepared from eggs, cream, pepper, and salt. Mini Quiches can be prepared easily in bulk and taste great with the flavor of wine. The lingering taste of a mini quiche often aptly awakens the taste buds and helps the person to really taste the wine.

Coupling Suggestions: The classic Riesling will be the top pick for mini quiches. The flavor and consistency pairs fantastically with that of mini quiches. The second close choice would be Unoaked Chardonnay. This white wine complements well with the creamy texture of mini quiche.


Wine grapes

It seems like a no-brainer to say that red wine, such as Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Malbec, is made from red or black grapes, and white wine, including Viognier, Riesling or Chardonnay, is made from white grapes. It's right in the name of Sauvignon Blanc, the green grape that makes a white wine.

But it's not that easy. While wines do tend to follow their grape color, all grape juice is clear. What makes red wine, red, is that the fermentation process for red wines starts with the grape skins. In white wine, the grape skins are removed before fermentation starts.

You can make white wine from red grapes. In fact, some Champagnes are made from red grapes including Pinot Noir grapes, in a style called blanc de noir (or "white of blacks"). Pinot Gris, or Pinot Grigio in Italy, is made from the Pinot Noir grape, which is red.

You can also make white wine using the grape skins. This kind of process is unusual and produces white wines with tannin. If you find one of these so-called orange wines, you should definitely try it.

Some grapes are used to make both red wines and white wines, such as Zinfandel and Pinot Noir. And some grape growing regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux produce grapes that make both red and white wines.


Ask a Sommelier: The Best Wines to Drink With Sausages

If you're getting excited about grilling season, you've probably already checked in on our tips for the best way to grill sausages, and stocked up on condiments and buns. But what will you drink? We love smoky rauchbier and fresh IPA with sausage, but there are options for wine drinkers as well, whether you're making classic grilled hot dogs with ketchup and mustard or branching out to bratwurst with sauerkraut or spicy Italian sausage with sweet and sour peppers.

We asked sommeliers from around the country for their sausage and wine pairing advice. Here's what they had to say.

General Sausage-Pairing Tips

"The biggest misconception is the idea that sausages should be paired with red wine or that people should just opt for beer. Alsatian or German riesling works almost all the time with nearly all sausage dishes. Rich, high acid, flavorful white wines like those from the Burgundy or its more affordable neighbor, the Jura, are outstanding options as well. If you want red wine, I would stick with something light in body with high acid and just a hint of tannin. The Jura comes to mind, with their great Trousseaus and Poulsards, but you could also go for a nice juicy Beaujolais or a lovely light bodied Loire Valley red. At the end of the day, the sausage is likely only one component of the dish, and I would always consider all ingredients before settling on a pairing."—Jess Hereth (Olympic Provisions)

"Gruner Veltliner, Chablis, or a dry Riesling are all great pairings with brats, dogs, and spicy sausages—even if they're loaded with mustard, peppers, and onions. With crisp citrus and mineral flavors backed with acidity, each will do a great job of elevating the meaty, savory flavors in your bun without conflicting with the vinegar in spicy mustard. Even an off-dry Riesling would be a great fit giving a nice tug-and-pull to the sweet, savory and sour flavors. If you must have a red, go with those that have ample fruit and loads of acid, like Pinot Noir or Gamay Noir."—Ian Becker (Absinthe Group)

"The no-brainer pairing for sausages is, of course, riesling. Picture yourself at an Heuriger, a sort of Austrian wine tavern where you might have someone in the corner playing a zither, eating sausages and crushing crisp, dry Riesling by the liter, and you'll be feeling the gemütlickeit. It doesn't have to be bone dry, or even Austrian, but the ever present acidity is what's going to enliven even a ballpark dog. For a red, I always like a good Cru Beaujolais, e.g. Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent, etc., in this situation, with just enough juicy red fruit. Both assume you don't want the simplest solution, though: beer."—Chad Walsh (The Dutch)

"You are right to be saying beer is the best thing with sausages. it is. but when you are in the mood for wine, I'd head to the big reds, such as softer style Zinfandel. There is a chance you could go with a more mild wine, but in this instance I would say make the wine fun and let the food have the complexity."—Paul Einbund (Frances and Seam Wines)

Getting Specific: Bratwurst With Mustard and Sauerkraut

"As with almost everything food-related, it's all about the condiments: as long as the wine and the sauce work together, everything else should fall into place! For the brats, I think the classic pairing of Alsace Riesling is on the money a little sweet fruit to counter the sour of the sauerkraut and the spice of the mustard is key, and these are white wines with enough texture and body to stand up to the sausage (the Grand Cru bottlings from Dirler-Cadé are pretty magical)."—Mia Van De Water (North End Grill)

"Pick a wine with a nice level of acidity. For brats cooked in beer and mustard with sauerkraut, I'd go with a dry Lambrusco like Ca Montanari 'Opera Secco' from Emilia-Romagna. The bright ripe fruit is a great contrast to the sauerkraut and it's light enough to not overpower or get in the way."—Daniel Beedle (Juni)

"For brats cooked in beer with mustard and sauerkraut, you're going to want something that doesn't conflict with the sauerkraut but that has enough acidity to stand up to it. You are also going to want something that counteracts some of the spice from the mustard. I would go for a wine with a hint of residual sugar. Riesling or Pinot Gris (something Alsatian, like Albert Boxler) is going to be a shoe-in, but something effervescent like a sparkling Vouvray demi-sec, or even a Bugey-Cerdon (Patrick Bottex's is my favorite) would be great, too."—Jordan Salcito (Momofuku)

"Pairing wine with sausage is the easy part it's all the condiments that can throw you for a loop. With sauerkraut, I'd stick to the obvious: savory, snappy Gruner Veltliner from Austria, or a leaner, fresher style of dry Riesling from somewhere like the Pfalz. The tartness of sauerkraut makes pairing a red more challenging, so stick with an inexpensive crisp white."—Grant Reynolds (Charlie Bird)

For bratwurst with mustard, look to Poulsard, one of the Jura's unique red grapes. It produces a light-bodied red with notes of black cherry and strawberry. The grape doesn't have much pigment, so it looks more like a rosé than a big, extracted red wine. This wine will let the food take the center stage while the persistent acidity will ready you for the next bite."—Ryan Arnold (Lettuce Entertain You)

"When I think of brats with mustard and sauerkraut, I think of Oregon Riesling. 'Memorista' Riesling by Ovum Wines is my new favorite out of the Willamette Valley and it is a dead ringer for a dry Riesling out of the Mosel Valley. It's got that perfect harmony of mineral, lemon, smoke and salt that screams for a rich sausage and it's got the acidity to deal with the sauerkraut and mustard."—Brent Braun (Levant)

"Wine with brats: I would pour a fairly fruit driven Austrian Gruner Veltliner, something that has a pretty rich stone fruit component with smoky, white pepper notes. Heidler Thal Vineyard Kamptal, Austria 2012 is a good example."—Mark Mendoza (Coi / Daniel Patterson Group)

Hot Dogs With Mustard and Ketchup

"Classic grilled dogs want a refreshing Spanish or French rosé, something easy drinking, good for hanging around the barbecue, nothing too fussy. "—Dana Frank (Ava Gene's and Bow & Arrow)

"For classic grilled hot dogs with ketchup and mustard, I might opt for a juicy and fruit-driven red wine, such as Zinfandel or Cinsault. Wells Guthrie at Copain is making a fantastic light red wine, called 'P2,' made from equal parts Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. It boasts juicy red berry fruit, no tannins, and a limestone backbone. For similar reasons, I'd also recommend Comte Abbatucci's Rouge Frais Impérial, made from biodynamically grown grapes in Corsica.—Jordan Salcito (Momofuku)

"With grilled hot dogs and ketchup and mustard I would actually get a little crazy and tell you to drink some Alsatian Gewurztraminer. The floral aromatics, fat oily texture, and hint of sugar are outstanding with the sweetness of ketchup and the aggressiveness of mustard."—Jess Hereth (Olympic Provisions)

"Rosé Champagne and grilled hot dogs always works. Hot dogs are somewhat of a guilty pleasure and so is Champagne. It's like pairing a childhood memory with something really decadent. You could also get a nice sparkling rosé from Penedes in North Eastern Spain if you are on more of a hot dog budget.—Daniel Beedle (Juni)

"When it comes to hot dogs (especially if outside in the backyard), I really love a grenache-based rosé like Domaine de la Fouquette from Provence or an American riff like Donkey & Goat's Isabel's Cuvée. They have sun-kissed fruit to love on the sweetness of the ketchup, and a whiff of white pepper to dance with the mustard."—Mia Van De Water (North End Grill)

"Wine with a classic hot dog, I would probably go with a slightly chilled Beaujolais, something that has a bit of acid and a hallmark meatiness to it, with primary light red fruits. Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly 2012 is a good example."—Mark Mendoza (Coi / Daniel Patterson Group)

Spicy Italian Sausage with Sweet and Sour Peppers

"I want wine that I'm gonna be happy drinking outside in the heat. Rose and slightly chilled, lighter bodied reds hit the spot. I like Ligurian Rossesse a lot it's got good acidity and freshness and tastes like cherries and the beach. I would happily chug a bottle with some spicy Italian sausage with sweet peppers and onions."—Brent Braun (Levant)

"For the Italian sausage, I suggest picking out a juicy Italian red with generous fruit and just a hint of funk, something like the Librandi Ciro Rosso or Arianna Occhipinti's SP68, a blend of Frappato and Nero d'Avola from Sicily that is sweet, tart, and earthy in equal measure."—Mia Van De Water (North End Grill)

"For a spicy Italian sausage with sweet/sour peppers and onions I would take one of two possible routes: off-dry German riesling or a nice robust juicy Lambrusco. Plus, Lambrusco is a great BBQ drink as it's like a wine-y alternative to beer."—Jess Hereth (Olympic Provisions)

"Finding a rich, textured wine that's also high in acidity is important. One that I love at the moment is Koehler-Ruprecht's Pinot Blanc from the Pfalz, in Germany. The wine tastes dry but retains a slight hint of residual sugar, which will match beautifully with the sweet peppers and mellow the spice from the sausage meat."—Jordan Salcito (Momofuku)

"I'd say keep it in the family and go for a Sicilian red. Some of the Nero d'Avola and Frappato blends have great spice and earth characteristics, but still provide a charming elegance to smooth out the rich and spicy Italian sausage."—Daniel Beedle (Juni)

"I would go straight to a peppery Syrah from California, a wine with plush deep red to lighter black fruits and polished tannins. Kunin "Alisos Vineyard' Syrah, Santa Barbara County 2009 is a good example."—Mark Mendoza (Coi / Daniel Patterson Group)

"Vouvray Sec from the Loire Valley! There's a nerve and tension between sweet, sour, and honeyed flavors."—Ryan Arnold (Lettuce Entertain You)


If you wouldn&rsquot drink it, don&rsquot cook with it. &ldquoI recommend buying wines for cooking from a wine department in a grocery store or liquor store rather than off the regular grocery aisle,&rdquo Broglie says, &ldquobecause the wines labeled &lsquocooking wine&rsquo usually have a ton of added salt.&rdquo

But that doesn&rsquot mean you have to go all out on a $100 bottle just for your braised chicken. &ldquoThe best wines to cook with are inexpensive,&rdquo Beitchman tells us, &ldquobut that&rsquos not the same as cheap. Use something under $15 a bottle and ideally that you enjoy (or have enjoyed) drinking.&rdquo When in doubt, you can always ask the salesperson at your wine store to point you in the right direction.

&ldquoA recipe generally doesn&rsquot call for more than a cup of wine, so I like to choose a good, moderately priced ($8 to $12) bottle of Italian pinot grigio or French or Chilean sauvignon blanc,&rdquo Broglie says. &ldquoThat way, I can pour into a pot guilt-free and enjoy a glass or two while it simmers.&rdquo

If you have recently opened a bottle and have enough wine leftover to use in your recipe, by all means use it up you&rsquoll do double-duty by avoiding food waste. Beitchman also suggests combining leftovers from multiple bottles into one container for a general cooking wine&mdashjust make sure you label your concoction, so it doesn&rsquot accidentally get poured by the glass!