Cooking with wine may seem straightforward. Deglaze here, add in a splash there (take a sip, repeat…). But did you know that the style of wine can dramatically alter the outcome of your dish? To guide us, we tapped RPM Wine Director, Richard Hanauer, for his top five white wine varietals he likes to cook with, his recommendation on bottles to look for and the flavor profiles they lend to specific recipes.

Headshot of Richard Hanauer

And remember – the number one rule when cooking with wine is to only put in your dish what you would actually drink. (That means ditching all “cooking wine” you pull of the grocery store shelf!)

Richard Hanauer’s Top 5 White Wines to Cook With:

RPM server pouring white wine

The Type: Blanc de blanc Champagne
The Bottle: Pierre Peters Blanc de Blanc Brut Reserve
“I like to use a blanc de blanc Champagne as an ‘opening liquid’ when cooking mussels or clams. After the bubbles cook off, you’re left with a wine that has relatively moderate alcohol and high acidity, and the chalky undertones of the blanc de blanc lend themselves well to seafood. Plus, there’s the added benefit of having an open bottle of Champagne in the kitchen ready for drinking!”

 

The Type: Friulano from Italy’s Friuli region
The Bottle: Miani Friulano
“Friulano is a great match for risotto. It’s the perfect combination of body and weight in relation to the rice, and it adds a textural mineral lift to the risotto, especially when using a good carnaroli (like we do at RPM Italian) or arborio rice. Make sure to add the wine before any other liquid ingredients (such as stock) so the rice has the chance to soak up all the wine – and flavor – first.”

Truffle Risotto at RPM Steak
Truffle Risotto at RPM Italian

The Type: Sauternes
The Bottle: Chateau Rieussec Sauternes
“The sweetness, honey and brilliant fruit flavors of Sauternes adds a lifted touch as a finishing glaze for decadent foie gras. Though expensive, in this case, a little bit goes a very long way.”

 

The Type: Aromatic whites, such as Muscat or Gewurztraminer
The Bottle: Domaine Weinbach
“Used in a butter sauce, Muscat or Gewurztraminer add a very floral aroma to the dish. I prefer cooking with Alsatian wines here because, while usually you want to cook with aromatic wines, it’s alright to add a little extra alcohol to cut the richness of the butter. Pair this sauce with pasta, chicken, shrimp and more.”

RPM Italian's Potato Gnocchi
RPM Italian’s Potato Gnocchi

The Type: Vin Jaune from France’s Jura region
The Bottle: Chateau-Chalon
“This “yellow wine” is a fortified white wine that leaves very wine-forward flavors to a sauce, thanks to its fortification. It’s not very fruity but adds more flavor to a dish than many other white wines would. A vin jaune sauce paired with chicken is simply the best.”

Thirsty for more? Make a reservation at RPM Italian here or make a reservation at RPM Steak here.