Using corked wine making Coq au vin

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Greg Xu
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Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#1 Post by Greg Xu » May 13th, 2019, 6:02 am

A couple of weeks ago, I pulled a red burgundy, and it is corked. It has been sitting in the fridge since. Now I just thought why not make a Coq-au-vin? (The recipe calls for half bottle of red burgundy). But can you really cook with corked wine? What if it ends up being Cork-au-vin instead? Your thought?

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Re: Coq au vin

#2 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » May 13th, 2019, 6:05 am

I use corked wine to cook with regularly and the corked flavor cooks right out. I don't know the reason why, but it works perfectly well as long as the wine is thoroughly cooked.

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Re: Coq au vin

#3 Post by RichardFlack » May 13th, 2019, 6:09 am

In other discussions people have said that cooking with corked wine is Ok. It I think that’s more in the context of deglazing a pan etc. Personally I would not risk it for a dish like this where the wine is front and centre. The cliche is “two bottles of good burgundy, one on the table and one in the pot”. I do have a ‘solera system’ of left over wines for cooking but I don’t use those for dishes like coq au vin or boeuf Bourgignon. (I don’t use 1er Cru either!)

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Re: Coq au vin

#4 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » May 13th, 2019, 6:34 am

I've cooked beef bourguignon with corked wine and it worked perfectly. It was a barolo by the way. Despite what cook books say, I consider it a waste to use very good wine in cooking since after high heat, they tend to come out the same. Some time ago, the NY times tested recipes with cru wines and $10 specials and they frequently preferred the results with the cheap wine. If you have a nice bottle of corked burgundy on hand, though, it will work perfectly well.

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Re: Coq au vin

#5 Post by RichardFlack » May 13th, 2019, 7:08 am

Agree about not using very good (expensive) wine. For these kinds of dishes I do use something that I would be happy to drink, but at a moderate price point ($20 Can which is probably about $10 US retail haha). Oregon Pinot say.

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Re: Coq au vin

#6 Post by Mark R » May 13th, 2019, 7:27 am

I've never made Coq au Vin and recently saw a recipe and instantly knew why I hadn't made it: you need to use a lot of wine I'd rather drink! But if this works (using something otherwise undrinkable) please update this discussion, because I would REALLY like to know. As for using $10 wines instead of 'the good stuff' - I agree, but avoid the $3 Trader Joe stuff.
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Re: Coq au vin

#7 Post by James Billy » May 13th, 2019, 7:28 am

Greg Xu wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 6:02 am
Cork-au-vin
[rofl.gif]

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Re: Coq au vin

#8 Post by Curt Wood » May 13th, 2019, 7:36 am

Just made this yesterday using a half bottle of month old Copain along with some brandy and it tasted great. Will finish it today.

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Re: Coq au vin

#9 Post by Merrill Lindquist » May 13th, 2019, 7:50 am

Curt Wood wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 7:36 am
Just made this yesterday using a half bottle of month old Copain along with some brandy and it tasted great. Will finish it today.

Cheers,
Curt
Wine that has been open and in the refrigerator for a month is totally different from a corked wine. I have not cooked with corked wine, just as a matter of principle. I hate the smell of corked wine and get it out of my kitchen asap. I always have leftover wines hanging around, and as long as you do not pour it all out, it works very well (I find quite a bit of solid matter at the bottom of a bottle that has been refrigerated for some months).

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Re: Coq au vin

#10 Post by John Morris » May 13th, 2019, 8:03 am

I've always followed accepted wisdom and not used corked wine for cooking. But since we can smell TCA, it plainly can evaporate from liquid, and cooking would accelerate that.

Whether it's a problem or not may depend on how long the dish is cooked. Even alcohol is slow to cook off. It takes several hours to reduce alcohol to a negligible level, according to this article. So it might be that corked wine would work for a slow-cooked dish like coq au vin, but would be riskier if you are simply deglazing a pan. I have no idea whether TCA evaporates at a similar pace.

One other concern would be TCA's interference with the perception of other flavors and aromas. If any is left in the cooking liquid, I wonder if it would be capable of reducing the flavor even if it we can no longer smell the TCA itself, just as TCA can neutralize other flavors in wine even when it's below the threshold where we can smell it.
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Re: Coq au vin

#11 Post by Jeff Vaughan » May 13th, 2019, 8:49 am

I believe it was the Cajun Cook Justin Wilson that used to say "never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink."
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Re: Coq au vin

#12 Post by John Morris » May 13th, 2019, 8:59 am

Jeff Vaughan wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 8:49 am
I believe it was the Cajun Cook Justin Wilson that used to say "never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink."
That's the common wisdom, alluded to by others here. The question is whether there's any basis for it.

It was also traditionally said, "cook with the same kind of wine you'll be drinking." But that turned out to be silly, because most of the subtle flavors of wine are burned off in cooking. There's not point in making your coq au vin with premier cru Vosne Romanee or your risotto di Barolo with Bartolo Mascarello.

For stews, I've used wines that have been open too long to drink, and with others that were unpleasantly tannic, and things have turned out fine.

So i don't put much stock in accepted wisdom in this context.
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Re: Coq au vin

#13 Post by Paul R. » May 13th, 2019, 9:06 am

We don't buy cooking wine or wine that we wouldn't drink. We do, however, use the occasional flawed bottle to cook with and have never had a problem. I think I would rather cook with a fine wine that is oxidized/corked than poorly made swill.
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Re: Coq au vin

#14 Post by AndrewH » May 13th, 2019, 9:22 am

I use bottles of so-so wine brought by guests to parties for cooking, but I realize that's not OP's question.
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Re: Coq au vin

#15 Post by Chris Seiber » May 13th, 2019, 9:32 am

I've never made coq au vin. Anyone have a good recipe they want to share?

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Re: Coq au vin

#16 Post by Alan Rath » May 13th, 2019, 9:43 am

Start with a decent, but not great, corked wine.
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Re: Coq au vin

#17 Post by Scott G r u n e r » May 13th, 2019, 9:45 am

I had good results with the Alton Brown version. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alt ... pe-1952021
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Re: Coq au vin

#18 Post by Jeff Vaughan » May 13th, 2019, 9:45 am

You can't go wrong with Julia Child's for coq au vin or beef bourguignon recipes. Both of these take a considerable amount of effort and I wouldn't take the chance of using a flawed wine when putting in that kind of work. I also wouldn't use DRC or Bartolo Mascarello level wine as John pointed out.

Chris, I think Viet has a good one.
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Re: Coq au vin

#19 Post by Craig G » May 13th, 2019, 10:04 am

Alan Rath wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 9:43 am
Start with a decent, but not great, corked wine.
Sounds like a recipe for a total coq-up.
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Re: Coq au vin

#20 Post by Jonathan Loesberg » May 13th, 2019, 10:39 am

My usual cooking wine is some budget wine that I would drink if put in front of me, such as La Vielle Ferme. I have never seen the point of cooking with ritzy wine, and I have tried it more than once. With regard to using corked wine, use it with whatever recipe you are using. Really, for whatever reason, the TCA cooks out. Julia Child's is my regular Coq au Vin recipe as her Beef Bourguignon is my regular for that recipe.

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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#21 Post by Todd F r e n c h » May 13th, 2019, 11:21 am

Changed the title, and moving to Epicurean Exploits
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#22 Post by Chuck Miller » May 13th, 2019, 12:04 pm

I have made a delicate risotto using a badly corked bottle and it was great. Other dishes as well. Most of the time I just dump the corked bottle down the drain and don’t save it for any real length of time. But cooking is a great way to use a corked grand cru burgundy.
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#23 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 13th, 2019, 12:17 pm

Yep, no issues using corked wine to cook with, though, like Chuck, I've normally poured it down the sink in disgust before I think to save it.

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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#24 Post by Alan Rath » May 13th, 2019, 12:20 pm

Chuck Miller wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 12:04 pm
I have made a delicate risotto using a badly corked bottle and it was great. Other dishes as well. Most of the time I just dump the corked bottle down the drain and don’t save it for any real length of time. But cooking is a great way to use a corked grand cru burgundy.
Do you have a sense how long you have to simmer the wine before TCA is not detectable any more? Wondering also if you left the house for any length of time, then came back in. Or if it could be you're just saturated, and don't notice it any more?
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#25 Post by John Morris » May 13th, 2019, 12:28 pm

Alan - The article I cited above says that, when cooking dishes with alcohol in them, at boiling temperature, "[a]fter 15 minutes, 40% of the alcohol remains, after 30 minutes 35% and only after two and a half hours 5%. This is why it takes about three hours to eliminate all traces of alcohol."

Do you think that rate would be different for TCA?
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#26 Post by Alan Rath » May 13th, 2019, 12:48 pm

Well, TCA is a bigger, much less volatile molecule, I would have thought there's a better chance that it remains in solution and gets more concentrated. OTOH, maybe something happens to it chemically when heated, so it just disappears that way? Really don't know.
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#27 Post by Todd F r e n c h » May 13th, 2019, 12:54 pm

I'm shocked how many have/are ok with cooking with corked wine. I'm quite sensitive to it - Jen even more so - so perhaps that's why I won't do it, for fear of ruining a dish.
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#28 Post by AlexS » May 13th, 2019, 1:09 pm

I've tried using corked wine for cooking and it always shows through. Like Todd, I'm very sensitive to TCA so there is that as well though.
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#29 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 13th, 2019, 4:35 pm

I'm extremely sensitive to cork and have never had an issue cooking with tainted wine. I suppose it's possible it was there and I just didn't notice it. I've never experimented below boiling temperatures. I am not a scientist, only an experienced cook and braising with corked wine has never been an issue. I'm not drinking the braising liquid like soup, of course, but have never had even a whiff of cork or a reduction of flavor of the meat or sauce.

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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#30 Post by PeterH » May 13th, 2019, 4:41 pm

I've read that the TCA binds with fats in cooking, but I don't recall any hard science or controlled tests. I usually have enough wine that is left over, or deemed not worth drinking, so I haven't put corked wine to the cooking test. I can understand why someone would not want to expose themselves to the mustiness for any length of time before it is neutralized.
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#31 Post by RichardFlack » May 13th, 2019, 4:48 pm

I’d say Qu 1 is the effect of heat, if any, on TCA. That should be basic science.
Absent hard facts I always come back to why risk a wine based dish per the topic of this thread. Deglazing for pan juices, perhaps. But I don’t tend to keep corked wines around - they go in the sink unless returnable 😀

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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#32 Post by Chuck Miller » May 13th, 2019, 7:03 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 4:35 pm
I'm extremely sensitive to cork and have never had an issue cooking with tainted wine. I suppose it's possible it was there and I just didn't notice it. I've never experimented below boiling temperatures. I am not a scientist, only an experienced cook and braising with corked wine has never been an issue. I'm not drinking the braising liquid like soup, of course, but have never had even a whiff of cork or a reduction of flavor of the meat or sauce.
+1. I’m sensitive to TCA and agree 100% with Sarah. Most of the people here (except Alex S.) who dismiss the idea have never tried it for fear of ruining a dish. Try it! Do something cheap and simple that uses a lot of wine, like risotto. Alex S. is the ONLY person I have ever heard say he perceives it in the finished product. That is simply not my experience.
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#33 Post by RichardFlack » May 13th, 2019, 7:56 pm

So why can you never find a corked bottle when you want one.... :)

Now I really have to try this.

(The real test would be an ABX comparison of course, 3 plates of risotto or whatever. Sounds like a small team project. )

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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#34 Post by AlexS » May 13th, 2019, 8:37 pm

Chuck Miller wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 7:03 pm
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 4:35 pm
I'm extremely sensitive to cork and have never had an issue cooking with tainted wine. I suppose it's possible it was there and I just didn't notice it. I've never experimented below boiling temperatures. I am not a scientist, only an experienced cook and braising with corked wine has never been an issue. I'm not drinking the braising liquid like soup, of course, but have never had even a whiff of cork or a reduction of flavor of the meat or sauce.
+1. I’m sensitive to TCA and agree 100% with Sarah. Most of the people here (except Alex S.) who dismiss the idea have never tried it for fear of ruining a dish. Try it! Do something cheap and simple that uses a lot of wine, like risotto. Alex S. is the ONLY person I have ever heard say he perceives it in the finished product. That is simply not my experience.
I've noticed it primarily in long stews/braises, should add TCA doesn't "ruin the dish" for me.

Otoh, wines that DO "ruin the dish" for me would be anything super-spoofed and oaky.
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#35 Post by PeterH » May 13th, 2019, 8:45 pm

RichardFlack wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 4:48 pm
I’d say Qu 1 is the effect of heat, if any, on TCA. That should be basic science.
Absent hard facts I always come back to why risk a wine based dish per the topic of this thread. Deglazing for pan juices, perhaps. But I don’t tend to keep corked wines around - they go in the sink unless returnable 😀
FWIW- the boiling point of TCA is 140C/284F. I wouldn't count on it boiling off, but general anecdotal testimony seems to be that it becomes undetectable.

Anyone want to venture a split test? Half of a stew with corked wine vs. half with a sound wine?
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#36 Post by Steve Slatcher » May 14th, 2019, 6:59 am

I covered this topic several years ago, here:
http://www.winenous.co.uk/wp/archives/163
It is based on (limited) personal exoerience, and forum discussions like this one. Here's a summary...

In my experience using a corked wine CAN give a nasty corked sauce. But combining that with many other people's more positive experience, I would conclude that it depends on how badly corked the wine is, and how strong the other flavours in the sauce are. But, as in wine, just because you cannot smell/taste it, it could still be muting flavours.

As for the science, considering the boiling point of TCA, it is far from obvious that heating removes it. But there may be a steam distillation effect, or some chemical reaction that removes it. Note also that fats adsorb TCA, and they would also hinder boiling-off.

Personally I would say the sink is the only place for corked wine.

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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#37 Post by John Morris » May 14th, 2019, 7:50 am

Thanks, Alan, Peter and Steve for bringing some science to bare on this.
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#38 Post by C. Mc Cart » May 14th, 2019, 9:02 am

Quick story for those who follow the 1 in the pot, 1 on the table way of thinking.
Once had someone make a boeuf bourguignon with very good Clos Vougeot. Perhaps due to label bias, they thought it was the best dish ever made. I thought it was quite average at best. I wasn't told what wine was used until 1/2 way through dinner. Thankfully my opinion was already formed.

The relative quality of the wine makes zero difference if you're stewing something for ages. Just pay a few dollars more for the best quality beef chuck/ round and make sure you season & sear each piece well. That's infinitely more important than the wine used.

I do agree with those who mentioned you wouldn't want an oak bomb. I haven't tried corked wine. Chances are I never will due to timing of finding a corked bottle and when I want to make something braised.
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#39 Post by Alan Rath » May 14th, 2019, 6:12 pm

PeterH wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 8:45 pm
Anyone want to venture a split test? Half of a stew with corked wine vs. half with a sound wine?
If I had a significantly corked bottle, the first test I would do is just put it in a sauce pan on the stove and simmer it covered for an hour, then see if you can still detect TCA.
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#40 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » May 14th, 2019, 6:53 pm

As an aside, since the aroma of TCA was mentioned below, apparently it doesn't actually have an aroma itself, but just screws with how we perceive other aromas. There's a fairly recent thread on this somewhere on WB.

https://www.acsh.org/news/2019/03/29/do ... lame-13912
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#41 Post by Scott G r u n e r » May 15th, 2019, 7:25 am

C. Mc Cart wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 9:02 am


The relative quality of the wine makes zero difference if you're stewing something for ages. Just pay a few dollars more for the best quality beef chuck/ round and make sure you season & sear each piece well. That's infinitely more important than the wine used.
Agree 100%. So even if you can salvage a corked premier cru burgundy by cooking with it, you are only salvaging maybe $10 of value out of it (the cost of an equally good cooking wine) so not truly lemonade from lemons and not something I would go out of my way to do.
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#42 Post by Victor Hong » May 15th, 2019, 8:04 am

Why potentially ruin a good dish with a ruined bottle?
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#43 Post by RichardFlack » May 15th, 2019, 9:10 am

Alan Rath wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 6:12 pm
PeterH wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 8:45 pm
Anyone want to venture a split test? Half of a stew with corked wine vs. half with a sound wine?
If I had a significantly corked bottle, the first test I would do is just put it in a sauce pan on the stove and simmer it covered for an hour, then see if you can still detect TCA.
Not a bad first step actually but a risk of confirmation bias. Need a blind test preferably ABX sort of thing. More complicated of course.

Also, similar thing deglazing a pan. (Higher initial hit when wine hits the pan). Possibly this does more to kill the TCA.

Will now be saving corked bottles .... [stirthepothal.gif]

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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#44 Post by ERPark » May 15th, 2019, 2:40 pm

I only save corked bottles for offlines with Alan R and Craig G.

neener


But on a serious note, I have used corked bottles of reds in pasta sauces. No off flavors or aromas detected by anyone. I have a higher sensitivity to TCA than the WBers that I regularly offline with (for better and worse)....... pileon
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Re: Using corked wine making Coq au vin

#45 Post by Victor Hong » May 16th, 2019, 2:32 am

Your cooking must mask the wet cardboard. [snort.gif]
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