When the girl returned, some hours later, she carried a tray, with a cup of fragrant tea steaming on it; and a plate piled up with very hot buttered toast, cut thick, very brown on both sides, with the butter running through the holes in it in great golden drops, like honey from the honeycomb. The smell of that buttered toast simply talked to Toad, and with no uncertain voice; talked of warm kitchens, of breakfasts on bright frosty mornings, of cosy parlour firesides on winter evenings, when one's ramble was over and slippered feet were propped on the fender, of the purring of contented cats, and the twitter of sleepy canaries."
The Wind in the Willows
Wine brings out the finest taste and aroma of many foods. When wine is heated, the alcoholic content as well as sulfites disappears, leaving only the essence imparting a subtle flavor.
Most recipes made with wine are made with drinking wines --not those labeled "Cooking Wine" which have salt added. Wines get their flavors from three different sources. The grape, the climate it's grown in and the winemaking process. Here is a guide to use when a recipe calls for dry, medium, or sweet wines.
Dry Red Wines:
Medium Red Wines:
Sweet Red Wines:
Dry White Wine:
Medium White Wines:
Sweet White Wines:
To start cooking with wine in your favorite recipes begin with a very mainstream white or red. As you get more accustomed to using wine as an ingredient in your creations, you can start to play around with which wine you want to use. The more you learn about the characteristics of your favorite wines, the more creative you can be with how you cook with them. Wines such as Sherry, Port and Vermouth are called fortified wines meaning an additional neutral grain spirit (extra alcohol) has been added to the initial wine before a very long aging. This extra alcohol helps in the preservation of the wine and helps develop some of the complexities through the increased aging. Each of these wines has individual categories that range from delicate and dry to sweet. These wines, because of their increased aging, develop intense flavors. Some sherries have a nut-like quality from the aging. Ports can be sweet, and good for fruit dishes or desserts. Vermouth differs in that assorted herbs and spices have been steeped in the wine, giving it a very unique flavor. A dry Vermouth would be good in place of a white wine. A sweet Vermouth would be a great addition to a fruit dessert that has a hint of herbs in it. You can be as creative as you like, experiment buy the wine you wish to serve with dinner and echo its flavor by using it in the recipe. When a recipe calls for adding water try substituting some wine it will add flavour while bringing out richness in the other ingredients.
For more terrific and informative nodes about wines see:
Rook's Wine Reviews
Choosing a wine
Wine Bottle Sizes
Matching Tomato Sauces With Wines