Red wine is not only a flavourful companion for food but also an ideal ingredient to cook with. But how do you choose the best ones to cook with? Sit back, relax, and read on, for we have all the answers for you.
When cooking with dry red wine. Its acidity braises meats, while the inherent aromas are left behind by the quickly evaporating alcohol.
Why cook with wine?
First things first! You may ask, why would I even want to cook with red wine? Well, similar to acidic additives like Vinegar, Yogurt and Lemon juice, red wine breaks down not only retains meat-juices while breaking it down but also imparts great flavour to the food.
Instead of throwing away that half-used bottle, you can use it for cooking.
What to avoid?
Before hitting the best ones, lets fist see which ones should you rather avoid.
- Red wines with more Tannin (the mouth crinkling bitter flavor) should be avoided at all costs. The same can be said about vanilla feeling oaky ones (red wines matured in oak barrels) – they tend to overpower the ingredients of the food
- The sugary cousins of dry wine will only add unwanted sweetness to everything you make. The drier it is, the better it is for cooking
- Off the shelf ‘cooking wines’ are ironically not ideal for the purpose. Pick something you would enjoy on its own as well. But remember, the wine will lose much of its molecular complexity and hence, the aroma during cooking – the expensive classic ones can be barred from the pan
What to look out for?
If a glass of it tastes good, chances are, you would find it appealing in your meal as well!
- Sometimes people tend to use an old bottle for cooking that they could not finish drinking. Remember that a bottle opened over a week ago is of course not fit for drinking, but could ruin your food as well. Check with a little sip if it still tastes the way you remember it.
- Adding wine at the end of cooking will only result in hard wine taste because the alcohol did not evaporate
The Best Red Wines to Cook
Now that we have established the basics, let us look at the specifics of which ones should you consider the best.
- CABERNET SAUVIGNON: A Complex, full-bodied wine that ages beautifull\y, it tenderizes meats like ribs amazingly well, while enhancing the flavors of ingredients. It is not made from one grape variety but a blend of many, which results in a more balanced flavor, especially while used in cooking.
- MERLOT: This is a silky red wine with low tannins that comes in many variations. They say Merlot can almost always be good for cooking anything. It is fruit-forward and concentrates into its fruity nature when heated over low flames.
- PINOT NOIR: The light to the full-bodied version of Merlot that does not overpower any ingredient. This comes in earthen or fruity notes with hints of berries or mushrooms. It is considered excellent for stews, fatty meats, and poultry.
- CHIANTI: Usually served with Italian dinners, this red wine works wonders for tomato sauce and pan sauces in general, It comes in many forms – from earthy and spicy to fruity and balanced. Preparing hearty stews is not recommended with Chianti.