Simple Tips for Cooking With Wine
Cooking with wine shouldn’t be intimidating. Follow a few essential tips to select a suitable wine for your recipe, and you’re well on your way to enhancing the flavors of your favorite dishes.
First things first: Skip the bottle of “cooking wine” found on grocery store shelves. Often laden with salt and additives, this “wine” won’t add much to your work in the kitchen. The rule of thumb is to avoid cooking with a wine you wouldn’t enjoy drinking.
When mild-flavored recipes call for wine, opt for a crisp white. Acidity and citrus can bring out the delicate flavors of seafood, while a creamy Chardonnay can complement richer recipes ranging from lobster dishes to chicken with cream sauce.
You can’t go wrong reaching for a bottle of Russian River Ranches, Sonoma-Cutrer’s most versatile Chardonnay. Light, medium bodied and easy to pair with a wide range of foods, it’s well suited for everything from seafood salads to marinades for meats and vegetables.
When a recipe calls for a red, be mindful of tannins. These bitter compounds are concentrated when cooked and can become harsh and astringent. Play it safe by opting for a smooth Pinot Noir, such as Sonoma-Cutrer’s Vine Hill. This medium-bodied red with rich fruit flavors accents ingredients rather than overpowering them.
Any of Sonoma-Cutrer’s Pinots work well for a classic beef dish like boeuf bourguignon, but you don’t have to limit this refined red to meat dishes. Need an inspired hors d’oeuvre for your next cocktail party? Try serving dried cherries in a Pinot Noir reduction prepared with Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
When you’re unsure about what to use in your recipe, opt for the wine you’ll be serving with the meal. After all, good pairings work just as well within a recipe. And as Julia Child once famously quipped, “If you do not have a good wine to use, it is far better to omit it, for a poor one can spoil a simple dish and utterly debase a noble one.”
Which brings us to the best part about cooking with wine — the glass you get to sip while whipping up your masterpiece.