Burgundy wine is a top choice of many – and not just when it comes to enjoying a glass of wine on a Friday night. It is also a common ingredient in many aromatic, delicious recipes that call for that specific wine acidity.
Burgundy is actually the name of a world-known wine region in France. Oftentimes, you will hear that all the wines produced in this region are known as burgundy. The most popular wine from this category is the red burgundy.
Whether you know your wine or you’re simply on the quest for a burgundy wine substitute, our guide will come in handy.
The best substitutes for Burgundy wine
As we’ve already mentioned, Burgundy stands for the French region where these wines are produced. This means you can only get original burgundy wine from the Burgundy region itself. Nonetheless, these wines are made in other regions and countries as well.
In Burgundy, there are four main types of grapes, and therefore four main categories of wine. On one hand, when it comes to the red kinds, there are Pinot Noir and Gamay. White varieties, on the other hand, include Chardonnay and Aligoté.
As you could already guess, the most popular representatives of each kind are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These wines have gained massive popularity around the world. Each of them tells a different story, and entails a different flavor combination:
- Pinot Noir is a distinctive kind of red wine, with a noticeable base of red fruits, with the addition of specific spices. The Pinot Noir juice is originally colorless, but with time and fermentation, it transforms into deep red, as the color of the grapes.
- Chardonnay creates a beautiful mixture of white and yellow fruit, with the addition of flowers and aromas of minerals. It is the most popular white burgundy wine. It is also safe to say that Chardonnay is the number one white wine kind worldwide.
Burgundy wines are considered among the top wines in the world, thanks to the quality of the production and the transparency of the ingredients. Also, these wines are never a mixture of different grapes, and you know exactly what you’re getting.
Most of the wines from Burgundy are of top-notch quality and in high demand all over the world. All the same, there are some additional classifications that could help you choose your perfect bottle:
- Grand Cru is the term used for the best vineyards, and only about 2% of all Burgundy vineyards have earned it.
- Premier Cru is the “next to the best” classification. It is given to vineyards that are close enough in quality to the very few Grand Cru superior vineyards. About 12% of all Burgundy vineyards belong to this category.
- Village Wines are the wines produced from the grapes from one of the 46 Burgundy villages. Each of the villages has its own production, and its own specific kind of grapes.
- Regional Wines are a combination of various grapes from different Burgundy villages, as opposed to Village Wines which represent the production and tradition of a single village.
Whether you’re not interested in investing in an expensive bottle of wine, or you simply need a wine similar to burgundy for your recipes, you’ve come to the right place.
Merlot is surely one of the most popular red wine varieties, and a great burgundy wine equivalent if you’re looking to replace Pinot Noir. It gets its name from the grape variety, just like many other wine types.
While there are numerous varieties of merlot wine, it is usually a dry, medium, or full-bodied wine with moderate acidity that isn’t too overpowering. When it comes to the flavor profile, it varies depending on the added fruit.
Depending on the region and the winemaking technique, merlot can have hints of plum, cocoa, red cherry, blueberries, or even vanilla. It is an ideal substitute for burgundy wine in Beef Bourguignon.
2. Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is actually an accidental hybrid between a red grape and a white grape: red Cabernet Franc grape and a white Sauvignon Blanc grape, to be exact. This substitute for burgundy wine is a red wine, and quite a popular one.
Cabernet Sauvignon has a deep, dark red color, and it is a full-body, extremely aromatic, flavorful type of wine. Most Cabernet Sauvignon wines have an alcohol content higher than 13.5%, especially those from California, Chile, and Australia.
Many experts would agree that, due to its high alcohol content and deep flavor, Cabernet is best when paired with food – especially cheese and prosciutto. It often has notes of green pepper and dark fruits such as cherries, as well as a high dose of tannin.
3. California Pinot Noir
Some varieties of Pinot Noir don’t come from the Burgundy region. But just because it isn’t original, it doesn’t mean that this substitute for Burgundy wine isn’t worth the shot. It all depends on whether you’re willing to compromise when it comes to the origin of your wine.
A quality bottle of California Pinot Noir is an excellent substitute for burgundy wine in cooking. You’ll get a very similar flavor profile to the original Pinot Noir. Sometimes it is hard even for experts to distinguish the difference between the two.
Keep in mind that the base of the wine and the flavor profile may differ, depending on the manufacturer.
4. White wine vinegar with grape juice
If you don’t have any wine at home, but you need a good burgundy wine alternative for cooking, white wine vinegar with grape juice is the way to go. It is especially good for your meat marinade.
The acidity of this combination will help the meat tenderize, especially if you’re using tougher meat pieces. It will also enhance the flavor of the meat and add more aroma. It’s the ideal combo for a vinaigrette, with the addition of your favorite herbs.
When making a mixture, the ratio should be equal parts white wine vinegar to equal parts grape juice. However, if you want a fruitier, less acidic result, add more grape juice.
Viognier is an excellent substitution for burgundy wine if you’re looking to replace Chardonnay – whether it be your bar or your kitchen. This full-bodied white wine also originates from France, and it has strong fruity aromas of tangerine and peach.
You will also come across Viognier with a vanilla and nutmeg base, which is perfect if you’re not a fan of fruity wines and you prefer a deeper, richer aroma. Regardless of the base, Viognier is typically softer and less acidic than Chardonnay.
Nevertheless, the perfumed, fruity aroma doesn’t take away from its complexity. Prices may vary depending on the region, but it is usually more affordable than Chardonnay.
Riesling is yet another burgundy wine replacement in the white wine category. It is primarily an aromatic yet refreshing kind of wine from Germany. However, just like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it is produced all over the world.
Riesling is available in a wide array of styles, varying from bone dry white wine to sweet dessert wine. In the majority of cases, riesling has a high acidity level, so it is easily paired with all kinds of food.
Also, it usually has strong fruity notes, as well as hints of floral aroma, including jasmine and citrus blossom.
7. Red grape juice
This burgundy wine substitute may be the most convenient choice for those of you who want that acidity and fruity aroma of the grapes, but aren’t too fond of wine (or alcohol, for that matter).
The flavor and aroma of wine can be a little strong when used for marinades and dressings, even though the alcohol evaporates during cooking. In that case, feel free to replace burgundy wine with red grape juice.
If you feel like you’re lacking some acidity, you can always add some vinegar to achieve this effect and help the flavors develop. Of course, red wine vinegar is the best choice in this case.
How to choose a burgundy wine substitute
In case you’re on a hunt for an affordable, delicious bottle of wine resembling Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, or you simply don’t like to invest in wine but still need something similar, each of the alternatives we’ve mentioned has something to offer.
The best alternatives for Pinot Noir or the red wine group include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or California Pinot Noir. All of these options can be found at a fair price, and they can be quite similar to the original.
Good white wine options, on the other hand, include Viognier and Riesling. They very much resemble the famous Chardonnay and can be found in many varieties. Everything depends on whether you like fruity aromas or a deeper, more complex, nutty flavor.
White wine vinegar, grape juice mixture, and red grape juice don’t include actual wine. However, they can still help you achieve the desired results. These alternatives can replace burgundy wine in dressings, sauces, and marinades.