Wine – more than just for drinking!
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a Gordon Ramsay-type yourself, you’ll no doubt understand the role wine can play in your cooking. Whether it’s a plump and juicy steak or a creamy pasta, there’s something decidedly romantic about cooking with wine.
Of course, as with all things gastronomic, it isn’t enough to simply dump that bottle of red you didn’t get to finish into your pot and call it a day!
The last thing you want is a wasted drop and a ruined dinner. Thankfully, we’re here to help you avoid this by choosing the best wine for your cooking.
The cardinal rule of cooking with wine
While there are some generally-accepted ideas about cooking with wine, there are very few hard-and-fast rules.
… well, there is one: no matter what you do, always use a wine for cooking that you would be happy to drink alongside your meal!
We bring this up because despite how straightforward this piece of advice is, what a surprising number of people will do is buy a bottle of cheap stuff to use for cooking.
Now, we aren’t saying that you need to splurge on a $60,000 bottle of wine – however, you should do your best to avoid going for the cheapest possible option.
Think of it this way: if you hate the taste of a wine while drinking it, why would you put it in your food to eat it?
We also recommend avoiding any specially-labelled “cooking wines”. Many of these wines are downright nasty, packed with sugar, salt, additives and who knows what else.
All of this can leave a strange aftertaste in your dinner (the last thing you want when you’ve got the in-laws over!)
How to use wine in your cooking
Besides drinking (of course), wine can play three other roles in your meal. It can act as:
- A marinade
- A cooking liquid
Whichever way your recipe calls for, a dash of wine can add that little extra something to your meal.
Different recipes will ask you to do different things with your vino.
As a rule of thumb however, the wine should have enough time to cook – unless your recipe specifically calls for it, do NOT add it in right before serving.
When you cook with wine, the vast majority of the alcohol evaporates, leaving only the flavour of wine behind.
What wine should I cook with: red or white?
And of course, you can’t talk wine without talking about pairings!
As a general rule, we advise using the same type of wine you’d drink with your meal – that means using white for seafood, red for steak, and so on.
Of course, each wine is unique, with its own aroma, flavour and qualities. Each of these can influence what your dinner tastes like, to it’s important that you choose a good wine to use in your cooking.
Haven’t the foggiest idea where to start? Here are some suggestions…
When it comes to white, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc rule the roost
Owing to their crispness and generous acidity levels, these two wines are solid all-rounders for when a recipe needs a dash of white.
There are two attributes in particular that make these wines safe choices:
- Relatively moderate alcohol content
- Higher levels of acidity
Stronger wines aren’t always a good choice, as the high alcohol content can often take longer to cook.
And acidity is important, as that’s what gives your food the taste you’re looking for.
The beautiful thing about these varieties of white is that they can be bought just about anywhere, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg!
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to avoid most varieties of chardy – if you must however, we recommend unoaked chardonnay, as this will lend your meal a fresher, fruitier flavour instead of the toasty taste that normally comes with oaked chardonnay.
With red wine, you’ll want to stick with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot
Some dishes might work better with fruity wines – others, more acidity.
Really, it all comes down to the individual recipe and the taste you want to achieve.
If you’re looking for a more versatile red however, dry and crisp are the words of the day.
That’s because sweeter wines like Shiraz or Grenache often lend your cooking a fruity flavours – while not always a bad thing, it can result in food that’s almost cloyingly sweet.
Generally speaking, these three reds deliver a good balance, making them safe, versatile choices for when you need to cook with red wine.
The thing with red wine in general is that it’s inherently much more tannic than white wines.
As such, it tends to turn bitter much faster than white, so be sure to cook around this.
Buy wine online with I Like Wine
Whether you’re looking to spice up an upcoming party or planning a dinner that’ll blow your guests away, a good bottle of vino can make or break your evening.
As such, you’ll want to make sure you choose only the best!
I Like Wine stocks a wide variety of vintages from leading vineyards in Australia and the world.
Our wine-obsessed team are very particular with what gets listed on our site – that way, you’ll know you’re only getting the best.
In addition to wine, our catalogue also includes a variety of…
Looking to buy wine online? Click here to explore our store!
Cheers to that!