Cooking With Wine
We’ve talked a lot about pairing wine with food, but what about cooking with wine? Adding wine to your dishes can enhance the flavours and complexities of the food. Wine can often be a crucial ingredient in many recipes (think risotto or beef bourguignon). As long as you pick the right bottle, you’ll have a delicious meal. So, how do you pick the right bottle for cooking?
Why cook with wine?
Wine is used in cooking primarily for its acidity to add elements of flavour, aroma and moisture to a dish. Rather than overpowering a meal, wine is used to enhance the experience. You can use wine to marinate meats or vegetables or splash some straight into the pan to incorporate its flavours from the heat. Of course, every bottle of wine is unique and will bring their own flavour profiles to different dishes, but it’s good practice to use the type of wine the recipe calls for.
Cooking with red wine.
As a good rule of thumb – if the recipe says red wine, use red wine. Since white wine is much less tannic than red, substituting white for red wine in a dish is going to turn out completely different. Where red wine would give the dish intense flavours, white wine would offer brightness, acidity, and light flavours, so don’t risk interchanging them. The best reds to cook with are medium-bodied, dry, and with moderate tannins. Here’s a simple guide to cooking with red wine:
- Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir for beef, lamb, or stew.
- Light Merlot for vegetables and sauces.
- Pinot Noir for seafood.
- Merlot for chicken, duck, or pork.
Cooking with white wine.
When it comes to white wine, you want to choose a dry wine with high acidity and bright citrus notes to liven up your savoury meals. If you choose something too oaky, like a Chardonnay, there’s a chance it will overpower the dish with a bitter taste. Here’s a simple guide to cooking with white wine:
- Sauvignon Blanc for risotto, marinades, seafood or vegetables.
- Pinot Grigio for pasta .
- Gewürztraminer for fish or creamy sauces.
Do I need to use expensive wine?
There’s no need to break the bank when it comes to purchasing wine for cooking. There are plenty of delicious bottles of red and white wine from anywhere between $10-$30 (price doesn’t indicate quality) As long as you choose a wine that you would enjoy drinking on its own (and then you can sip on it while you’re cooking). It’s better to save the splurging for when you plan on savouring the wine on its own since most of the alcohol and subtle notes are cooked out.
Want to learn more about wine?
Whether you’re a wine lover looking for some tips, or a beginner to the wine world, we’ve got lots of tips, tricks and guides for everything wine related. Just head to our blog page to read more.