Ina Garten's Favorite Type Of French Wine Is Light And Drinkable

France has a number of world-famous wine regions, including Rhone Valley, Beaujolais, Languedoc-Roussillon, and the Loire Valley. But it's probably Bordeaux and Burgundy that spring to mind first when you think about French wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc wines are among the well-known reds from Bordeaux, with whites including Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon; whereas Burgundy, in the east-central part of France, is renowned for its Pinot Noir reds, white Chardonnays, and Beaujolais Gamay wines.

When it comes to her favorite type of French wines, Ina Garten is a particular fan of Burgundies, which she describes on her website as "fruitier and lighter than Bordeaux." And while these lighter styles of wines are often wonderful to drink on their own, they also pair brilliantly with a variety of different foods, both to drink alongside and to cook with.

The Barefoot Contessa is partial to cooking with wine; "If you want it to taste better, add alcohol," is her advice for creating extra-flavorful dishes (via YouTube.) And in fact, Ina Garten's favorite recipe she's ever written (red wine-braised short ribs) uses a full bottle of Burgundy.

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the main grape varieties from Burgundy

The French wine region of Burgundy (also known as Bourgogne) is only fairly small, consisting of five main wine-growing areas which include Chablis, Meursault, and Gevrey-Chambertin. The main focus when it comes to Burgundy's production centers around red Pinot Noir and white Chardonnay; and Ina Garten, who is as well-known for her impressive hosting as her cooking skills, is a fan of both, often using them either in recipes or to drink alongside dishes.

Garten is right in her observation that fragrant, fruity red Burgundies tend to be lighter than some other French wines, such as Bordeaux. They're often lighter in both color and tannins, with fairly high acidity, and notes of red or black fruits, such as cherries. White Burgundy, made from the Chardonnay grape, has a variety of styles depending on its provenance, from refreshing Chablis to floral Puligny-Montrachet or buttery Meursault.

Burgundy produces some of the most acclaimed — and priciest — wines in the world. We're talking record-breakingly expensive; at a Sotheby's New York auction in 2018, a 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grand Cru Burgundy wine sold for $558,000. But you don't need to spend a fortune to enjoy it. If you're unsure where to start when it comes to finding a bottle you'll like, Garten's sensible advice is to "find a good wine store and ask what good Burgundies they have in your price range" (via Barefoot Contessa.)

Ina Garten uses Burgundy wines for French-style recipes

Wine plays a starring role in many recipes, especially French slow-cooked meat-heavy dishes. And for these sorts of hearty braises, Ina Garten tends to choose Burgundy wines as the most appropriate to match the food. It's perhaps not surprising that she opts for a dry red Burgundy when cooking dishes such as beef Bourguignon, a dish which originally comes from the region (Bourguignon translates as "of Bourgogne").

Garten also opts for red Burgundy (Pinot Noir) when making another French classic, coq au vin. This is traditionally the wine that should be used for the recipe, and the Barefoot Contessa's advice is to go for "something really good that you would drink" (via YouTube.)

And the Barefoot Contessa also favors white Burgundy when cooking, choosing Chablis (a dry, usually unoaked white made from Chardonnay grapes) to go in dishes such as her skillet-roasted chicken and potatoes recipe. An elegant Chablis is also her wine of choice for drinking alongside snacks such as her toast spread with fig jam and goat cheese. Whether in a dish or a glass, and whether red or white, Burgundy can be brilliant with food. It's no surprise that culinary queen Ina Garten is such a fan.