Choosing the best white wine to drink or use when cooking doesn’t have to be challenging. There are a few factors to consider, such as dryness or sweetness, alcohol content, and of course, price. We invite you to read on to find out four of our favorites and what you’ll want to consider when choosing a white wine to sip or use to sauté.
What Is the Best White Wine To Drink?
Of course, everyone’s palate is different, and we each have our own preferences when it comes to flavors and sweetness. When considering a white wine to drink or serve to guests, you simply can’t go wrong with one of these four.
Pinot Grigio is typically a medium-dry white wine, although Pinot Grigio produced with late harvest grapes can taste sweeter. It’s light and easy to drink with crisp fruit flavors of lime, pear, honeysuckle, and green apple. The medium-bodied wine pairs wonderfully with light proteins such as shrimp or chicken, and is quite enjoyable when served with creamy cheeses, salty meats such as ham or salami, and tangy fruits.
Chardonnay is one of the most popular wines in the world. Depending on how it’s produced, Chardonnay tastes either crisp and bright or complex and oaky. Chardonnay produced in cooler climates or made from early harvest grapes feature notes of lemon and other citrus fruits. Warmer climate or later harvested Chardonnay grapes boast flavors of baked apple and tropical fruits, such as pineapple.
The winemaking process also impacts the flavor of Chardonnay. Chardonnay aged in oak barrels contain vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg flavors. “Unoaked” Chardonnay delivers tasting notes of apple and citrus, with aromas of pear and peach. Chardonnay pairs well with seafood, turkey, veal, and pasta.
If you’re interested in a sweet dessert wine that’s low in alcohol, Moscato is right for you. Sip Moscato and discover notes of lemon, mandarin orange, pear, orange blossom, and honeysuckle. Be sure to serve it chilled to unleash its flavors and floral aromas. Moscato is an ideal wine to serve with spicy foods like curry, barbecue pork, or shrimp.
Originally grown in Bordeaux, France, now you can find Sauvignon Blanc wine grapes growing in Napa Valley, New Zealand, Chile, and elsewhere throughout the world. A dry, medium-bodied wine, when Sauvignon Blanc is produced in California it contains flavors of white peach, grapefruit, and melon while Sauv Blanc created in Chile tastes more of grass, lime, green banana, and pineapples.
Sauvignon Blanc complements a lighter meal of chicken, turkey, or crab with its crisp flavors. It pairs well with bold cheeses and vegan dishes made with cucumber, zucchini, or asparagus.
Types of White Wine To Use When Cooking
The most important thing to remember is that the bottles labeled “cooking wine” you find in the grocery store are typically of low quality and loaded with salt and preservatives. When cooking with wine, you want to choose vino that enhances your dish and that you would enjoy drinking. Other factors to consider:
- Dry White Wine. Avoid sweet white wines unless you're cooking a dessert. Stick with a dry wine like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc to brighten up your recipe.
- Unoaked White Wine. Avoid adding an oaky Chardonnay to your dish as its overpowering flavors can make your recipe taste bitter.
- Low Alcohol Content. Too much alcohol can overpower the flavors of food. Stick with white wine that has a low alcohol content, usually under 12.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).
- Affordable White Wine. The alcohol in wine burns off when cooking, reducing the concentration of distinctive flavors you’d find in a more expensive bottle. Save the good wine to serve with your meal and cook with a wine you like priced in the $10 to $20 range.