Wine for my Coq (hee hee…)

Coq au Vin


Sorry, I couldn’t resist the title.

Our blog’s name “Hand to Mouth”, has meant that occasionally (actually, quite often) we see people who used … interesting search terms to arrive at our site (let your imaginations run wild). We joke that the modern era of attention deficit disorder renders them easily distracted in their search for smut; in other words, the lure of cilantro lime-hummus diverts them from their path.

But back to food – I’m going to make coq au vin this weekend, but I never know exactly what kind of wine to use. Buy the wrong red, and you get yourself some bright purple chicken. Some say a burgundy, others say côtes du rhône. Nigel Slater advocates using the remnants of red wine leftover in people’s glasses. I actually think this would be really good. Last time I made it I used a nice medium-priced beaujolais (at the advice of Mr. Slater) and was pleased with the results. But the point of this post is to ask, dear readers, what wine do you think I should use? Have you had terrible experiences with any wines?

And also, does serving red wine with coq au vin seem like overkill to anyone but me? And yet – what else should be served?

The first time I made this dish was maybe the second culinary shindig I ever did with N. We were living in Seoul at the time, and our palettes were craving the buttery, dry wine- and thyme-laden taste of French food. It’s a nice memory. I also like to say I once got lucky when I cooked this dish for a boy – but perhaps that’s an entirely different entry altogether.

Anyways, I usually use a variation of this recipe. Do let me know your thoughts!

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5 Responses to Wine for my Coq (hee hee…)

  1. Toffeeapple says:

    The only proviso that I can think of is to use French wine only, don’t be tempted to use the stronger wines now avialable from Chile, Argentina etc. Tesco sell one called ‘Good, Ordinary Claret’ which should do the trick perfectly.

  2. Casey says:

    No wine advice –but the most incredible coq au vin I ever made was from a recipe from Bistro Jeanty in Yountville, CA — and the secret ingredient was a small amount of powdered cocoa. The recipe still might be on

  3. rocketdive69 says:

    After a cooking session with N, I tried making this on my own, using nice côtes du rhône. The result was not very nice. The chicken wasn’t a bright purple, but more like a bruised eggplant made out of purple play dough.

    I think you should avoid the better wines as the aroma and taste of the wine doesn’t do so well as it cooks. I actually like the leftover idear.

  4. LOL! Loved the title. Sure caught my attention!

  5. N says:

    I agree that using really good wine to cook often disappoints, especially when the complexity of the wine amplifies and beats competing flavors into submission. That happened to me once when I dropped a fistful of Hamiltons on a Barolo, and ended up with an astringent and chalky steak sauce. Salty too, from all my weeping into it. I’m glad I had enough left over to drink.

    I haven’t found a perfect red wine for my kitchen yet—and these comments are quite helpful—but I do like cooking with Alsatian pinots blanc when recipes call for dry white wine.

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