How to use Wine in the kitchen?

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Written By Gilberto Mattei

For the use of wines in cooking, we have to follow some general guidelines. Obviously this is not a strict rule, but it is advice gained through experience.

For fish dishes, crustaceans, molluscs, frogs, snails: white wine dry.
For white meat (such as poultry, rabbit, veal) : white wine dry.
For pâtés, galantines, veal with tuna sauce, baked pasta: white wine dry.
For fruit cakes, cakes such as doughnuts, bocconotti: sweetish white wine, sweet along the lines of Marsala or liqueurs.
For red meat (such as beef fillet), feathered and furred game, duck and other poultry:
red wine more or less robust in relation to the aromatic ingredients and the type of game.

A few exceptions

A few exceptions persist: sometimes fish can also be cooked with the red wine; examples: 'Cacciucco alla livornese' or 'Trottelle al Berbera'.

Another very important thing about wine in cooking is to know it: tasting, you can tell with experience what effect the cooking will produce. Never use wine bottles that are too old (known as the past), the white wine too aged is subject to maderalisation, and if it has too amber a colour, avoid using it.

Some recipes, such as lingua alla Cortese, call for Cortese wine; the same goes for Coniglio al Marzemino. Returning to Cortese wine, however, if the tongue is served as an hors d'oeuvre the combination is fine, but if it is used as a first course, a good red like Dolcetto, thus able to hold its own in the next course.

There are cases in which the use of wine in cooking at the table is strongly discouraged. This is the case with escalopes with Madeira or Marsala. This is because Marsala, for example, can be found in four types: Marsala Virgin, Fine Marsala, Marsala special e Marsala superior. These Marsalas are very different and range from dry to sweet. Therefore, for the preparation of meat dishes, the dry type should be used, namely the Marsala virgin superiorwhile if we want to make a dessert, we can use the sweet or the fortified dessert.

Same for the Dry Valpolicella for cold meats, red meat and game. While the Sweet Valpolicella it is advisable to use it as a dessert wine.

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