We’ve all heard the maxim that you shouldn’t cook with any wine you wouldn’t drink, but is it really true? In reality, say Chowhounds, while you might not favor sipping a glass of Gallo Hearty Burgundy or Two Buck Chuck with dinner, the braise you use them in will be as delicious as one using a better bottle.

This New York Times article reported on a blind tasting of dishes made with inexpensive, midpriced, and expensive wines, and found that not only were those made with cheap bottles good, sometimes they beat the others on taste. lrhr sums up the article’s findings: “Most of the hard unpleasant edges of a cheap or young wine get smoothed out by the cooking process. On the other hand, most of the delicate complexities of a more expensive, older, or ‘better’ wine get somewhat dulled. Final suggestion was to save your money and that the only time you should use expensive wine is if you have a bottle open already that won’t be worth drinking if you don’t use it up.”

“The best advice I ever heard on this topic came from David Rosengarten—the ideal cooking wine is something you *could* drink but really wouldn’t want to,” says rcurtism. And sbp points out, “Decent wine is good enough, but it should have the correct flavor profile for what you want in the dish.” “I make short ribs and beef stew with Gallo burgundy and they are delicious,” attests TrishUntrapped. “I really wouldn’t want to waste more expensive wine on these when the burgundy does such a lovely job.”

Discuss: Just how important is the quality of wine when a recipe calls for wine?

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