Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whine About Wine

I recently tried the sauteed steak and wine recipe in the January Food & Wine magazine. I used an inexpensive Bordeaux that my wife and I like; it tasted sublime, one of the best new recipes I've tried in a long time.

Last week, I set out to make the dish again. I tend to use whatever wine I have open when I cook. Instead of a dry Bordeaux, I had a Sauvignon Blanc with a fruity front and a dry finish. It'll be fine, I thought. Wine's wine.

Wrong-o. I executed the dish as I did the first time (I slivered two instead of four garlic gloves, but otherwise followed the directions) and at the end poured my two-thirds of a cup of wine into the pan. The result -- while still pretty good -- was not nearly as tasty as the first trial. The resulting sauce -- incredibly flavorful the first time I made it -- had an almost sour aftertaste.

I'll have to try this recipe to confirm it was the wine, but I'm nearly certain. It was the only difference. The lesson: whine about your cooking wine. What you use does matter. You're not being a wine snob if you eschew the Turning Leaf someone brought to a party for a higher quality, slightly more expensive French vintage.

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