Using the right wine to make risotto really does make a world of difference. A good white wine brings the perfect balance to a dish, with a fruity hint topped off with some acidity.
There are some ‘cooking wines’ you can grab off the shelf at the local grocery store, but these are mediocre at best and do little to add flavor to your risotto. By purchasing and using a moderately priced wine, you will be elevating your risotto and all the flavors it will have!
Which is the best wine for risotto? The best wine for risotto would be a dry, crisp white wine. Choose a moderately priced white wine, such as a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay, or a good Marsala wine. Depending on the other ingredients you are adding into your risotto, these will work to improve the overall depth of the dish.
Once you get to know the best wines to use for risotto, you can really explore the different flavors, ingredients, and tastes you can achieve. Ditch the cooking wine and instead try cooking with one of the best 7 wines which we have picked out.
How To Choose The Best Wine For Risotto
Before diving into the list of our favorite 7 wines for risotto, we need to talk a little bit about the types of wines that are generally best-suited for making risotto. This guide will teach you how to shop for the best wine for your recipe.
Pinot Grigio is the most neutral wine out of the crisp white wine category, which makes it an incredibly versatile wine. It has a dry, crisp, and clean taste, and is considered a very ‘drinkable’ wine.
It is a go-to wine for cooking seafood, so it will do well with seafood risotto, adding in a fruity, mineral character.
Two Pinot Grigio wines which are ideal for risotto are the Duck Pond Willamette Valley Pinot Gris, and the Lagaria Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2018.
Sauvignon Blanc is a very popular wine, it is a great choice to use to cook risotto as well. It has a racy acidity, which helps to give depth and flavor to many risotto dishes, but like Pinot Grigio, it is best paired with seafood dishes, or with sauces that use heavy cream.
It is not an incredibly rich wine, but it provides the right depth and flavor to be noticed in a risotto dish, without overpowering the other ingredients. It does well to tie the risotto dish together, and the acidity helps to add a bright and tenderizing finish to the meal.
Either the Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 2019 or the Dark Horse Sauvignon Blanc 2019 would be good choices.
Chardonnay is the richest crisp white wine you could use to cook risotto with. A fruity Chardonnay is one of the most versatile wines around, especially when it comes to cooking.
Able to stand up to stronger flavors, and with Chardonnay adding a rich flavor of its own to dishes, it helps to make some really hearty risottos.
Chardonnay is a great pairing for a chicken risotto. Chicken risotto tends to be rich and savory, and the depth of flavor that you get from using a Chardonnay really compliments this.
For a richer flavor when making risotto, choose either Bogle Chardonnay 2019 or the Talbott Kali-Hart Chardonnay 2018.
Marsala wine is used to make the classic chicken or veal Marsala, and there is no reason it cannot be used to make risotto as well.
The Marsala adds its rich and deep flavor to the risotto and will help to make an incredibly delicious and flavorful chicken or mushroom risotto.
The 7 Best Wines For Risotto
To cook up some risotto with a depth of flavor, you should consider using a Pinot Grigio, a Sauvignon Blanch, a Chardonnay, or a Marsala. Here is why you should use these wines, and which the best options of each are!
|Rank||Type of wine||Goes best with...|
|1.||Duck Pond Willamette Valley Pinot Gris||Seafood or chicken risotto|
|2.||Lagaria Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2018||Seafood, mushroom, or vegetable risotto|
|3.||Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 2019||Seafood, chicken, or mushroom risotto|
|4.||Dark Horse Sauvignon Blanc 2019||Spicy or creamy risotto|
|5.||Bogle Chardonnay 2019||Chicken or vegetable risotto|
|6.||Talbott Kali-Hart Chardonnay 2018||Chicken, mushroom, or vegetable risotto|
|7.||Pellegrino Dry Marsala||Mushroom or parmesan risotto|
1. Duck Pond Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
The Duck Pond Willamette Valley Pinot Gris has wonderful floral accents, with a well-balanced acidity that makes it a dry, refreshing wine.
With notes of apricot, nectarine, lemon zest, elderflower, and grapefruit, the fruity wine will be beautifully paired in a seafood risotto, but will also do well with a chicken or light risotto as well.
The wine is not too complex, but that makes it great for cooking risotto, as it will only compliment the flavors, and not overpower them.
Light, crisp, and fruity, the Duck Pond Willamette Valley Pinot Gris is a great wine to keep in the fridge for when you need a light, refreshing wine to cook up some risotto, and to enjoy a glass while you cook!
2. Lagaria Pinot Grigio delle Venezie 2018
This straw yellow colored wine has pleasant floral and fruity aromas, consisting of notes of apple, pear, and apricot.
It is a medium-bodied wine that holds up well when used to create a risotto dish, holding its flavor well during the cooking process.
With refreshing fruit notes, and a distinctive character and balance, the Lagaria Pinot Grigio delle Venezie is perfect to use for cooking many dishes in the kitchen and can be paired with almost every risotto recipe you could want to make.
Ideally, the wine should be used to make seafood risotto, vegetarian risotto, and pairs incredibly well with a mushroom risotto as well. The balanced and fruity flavor does wonders for these dishes!
3. Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 2019
The Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc 2019 is a bright and vivaciously crisp wine. With hints of gooseberry, citrus, and tropical fruits, it is fresh and acidic but perfectly balanced to offer great flavor in a risotto dish.
It is an aromatic and distinctive wine and has a very mild touch of a savory sea salt finish, which also works well when the wine is used for cooking.
With its crispness, it is great to use for seafood, chicken, and mushroom dishes, adding that touch of freshness and acidity that the dish will need.
4. Dark Horse Sauvignon Blanc 2019
Wine does not get fresher tasting than the Dark Horse Sauvignon Blanc 2019. With a bright acidity from grapefruit and fresh green notes, it will give your risotto a crisp, citrus flavor and an incredibly refreshing and clean finish.
Fruit and acidity are delicately balanced in this Sauvignon Blanc, and it will offer a freshness to your risotto dish, as well as perfectly complimenting spicier dishes, and those that have a heavy helping of cream.
The wine will stand up to stronger flavors, and really make the most of your ingredients.
From gentle seafood dishes to spicy kicks of flavor, this wine can do it all, and give you a refreshingly crisp finish that you will definitely notice.
5. Bogle Chardonnay 2019
The Bogle Chardonnay 2019 is an affordable wine that tastes just as good as the best of them. Green apple and pear characterize this wine, with honeycomb and vanilla adding to the richness of the wine.
The rich and full first impressions of the vanilla and honeycomb make way for a silky, rich wine, finished off with Asian pears and Honeycrisp apples.
These incredible tastes shine through and remain poignant when cooked, and bring warmth to a dish.
Bogle Chardonnay 2019 will add such great fruity-freshness to your risotto dish while giving it a rich and creamy texture.
6. Talbott Kali-Hart Chardonnay 2018
The Kali-Hart Chardonnay has an incredibly strong fruit portfolio, with ripe stone fruit and juicy tropical notes coming together with Madagascar vanilla for a smooth, bright taste.
This wine pairs very well with chicken, and would work to make an incredible, rich, and deep chicken risotto, but it also suits mushroom and vegetable risottos as well.
It will give you an aromatic finish to your risotto, with the flavors hitting you on your first mouthful, without being too overwhelming.
7. Pellegrino Dry Marsala
Pellegrino Dry Marsala has a beautiful amber color, with toffee and nutty aromas. It features an intense dry fruit flavor and is rich and smooth on the palate.
These flavors make it great to compliment mushroom risotto, with the toffee and nutty aromas blending with the earthy tones of the mushroom.
You are also able to use the Pellegrino Dry Marsala to make delicious parmesan risotto, allowing the Marsala depth, flavor, and notes to truly shine.
Can You Make Risotto With Red Wine?
While more popular, white wines are not the only wines you can use to cook up a risotto. If you are wanting to experiment, or are out of white wine, there are some risotto dishes that can be made with red wine.
It might seem odd at first, but you can make dishes such as mushroom or beetroot risotto using red wine.
If you are wanting to use a red wine in risotto, try to stick to a dry red wine rather than a fruity and sweet red wine. This will give a richer and deeper flavor to the risotto dish, without taking too much away from the actual ingredients.
Think of it the same way you would include red wine into other dishes, and just anticipate a similar flavor from your risotto once it has cooked through.
Why You Should Avoid “Cooking Wines”
It might not make sense, but you should avoid cooking wines when looking for a wine to cook up some risotto, or any other meal for that fact. These types of wines often contain salt and other additives, and will not give you that rich, deep flavor you would want to achieve.
Just by using a moderately priced wine, you will be able to notice the difference. The end result will be fresher, crisper, and with a more developed taste than what a cooking wine might leave behind.
There is no reason to go spend your whole food budget trying to find a good white wine to cook with. Any of the above would be good options, you do not need to spend too much, just make sure it isn’t a cooking wine!
Which Wines Should I Avoid To Cook Risotto?
Just as there are wines that are recommended for cooking risotto, there are those that you should avoid.
Avoid oaked Chardonnays and any other white wines which are medium, sweet, or overpowering with a strong body. These could throw the balance of the flavors in the risotto, and leave you with a dish that tastes just like wine!
Make sure to avoid sweet wines, as these could finish the dish with a sickly sweet flavor that does nothing but cling to your palate.
Should I Worry About The Alcohol Content In The Wine?
You should try to choose a wine that has a moderate alcohol content. This should be between 10 and 13 percent. If you choose a wine with a higher alcohol content than this, it might take longer to reduce, and it will probably not have the necessary acidity.
The right acidity in a wine will help to add a bright, tenderizing effect that makes a world of difference to a risotto dish.
Which Wines Should I Drink With My Risotto?
Once you have cooked up your risotto using the right wine, you might then want to enjoy a glass of wine which is perfectly paired with your dish!
Risotto rice has a sweet taste, but in order to perfectly pair wine with your risotto, you have to look at the other ingredients.
For a seafood risotto, you should look for a young, fresh, and sapid white wine, such as a Sauvignon Blanc. This works well for chicken risotto as well.
Mushroom risottos are best paired with a full-bodied, crisp white wine, such as a Chardonnay. The rich, butteriness of the Chardonnay really works well with the earthy flavor of the mushrooms!
For the traditional Risotto alla Milanese with saffron, red wine with a tannic profile would pair really well. Saffron tends to pair well with both red and white wine, so your options are quite open with this dish!
Is risotto a main meal or a side dish?
The beauty of risotto is that it can be whatever you want it to be! It can be served as a side dish to fish or meat, or you can bulk the risotto up with mushrooms, meat, chicken or vegetables to be served as a main meal.
Do you have to add wine into risotto?
You do not have to add wine to risotto, but it does give it a good amount of flavor and some acidity, which does work to balance out the richness that risotto is known for.
The wine should be added in after the rice has been toasted, and just before the main cooking liquid is added in, such as broth, to deepen the flavor and allow the alcohol to cook off more.
What makes risotto creamy?
The starch in the short-grain rice used to make risotto is what makes it creamy. As the rice is stirred, the friction releases the starch into the stock, which then turns into a creamy sauce that coats the rice.
What is the difference between risotto rice and normal rice?
The rice you use to make risotto is a particular type of rice, either carnaroli or Arborio rice. This rice needs to have a high starch content in order to cook a real, creamy risotto.
The main difference between risotto rice and normal rice is the type of rice used, but the preparation of risotto rice is different from how you would cook other rice dishes as well.
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