Red wine (as well as white) can be used for cooking, but there are certain things to know to help you make it a great experience. For example, don’t use any old red wine. There is a saying, which basically says if you won’t drink it, then don’t use it to cook it with. If you want to use a good red wine for cooking, try using dry red wines. This means they have less sugar in it.

The acidity in red wine will also give a bit of a kick to other flavours in that dish. Let’s take a look at what you should know when it comes to a good red wine for cooking.

1. How to use red wine for cooking

It will help your cause if you had a little knowledge on both the wine and the food that you are cooking. As a simple example, if you are cooking food from a particular region, then choosing a red wine from that region will be helpful. This would be a clever pairing, so consider this rule. You should also know a little about the dish you are cooking.

2. Choosing between different red wines

Certain foods will benefit from a fruity wine, while others can benefit from a more acidic wine. In general, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel and Shiraz are good red wines for cooking with. Remember, it is better to buy a high-quality red wine from a trustworthy source than a cheap cooking wine you can get at the supermarket. You can also use port for pan sauces, but it is a little pricier.

3. Use red wine early on

Whichever red wine you use for cooking, it is advisable to use it earlier rather than later in the cooking process. This allows the alcohol to burn off. This makes a huge difference to the taste of your dish. If you use the wine towards the end of the cooking process, the dish may have a raw, wine taste to it, which can be unpleasant.

Also, if you do have red wine, make sure it is stored in a cool, dark place.

4. What kinds of red wine to use

As mentioned, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel and Shiraz are often used for cooking. These are all pretty good red wines. You can also use Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Some red wines are great not just for cooking, but also for flavouring desserts.

Côtes du Rhône Cabernet and Chianti are also good red wines to cook with, but remember the food you are cooking too. It has to make a good pairing, otherwise the dish may not come out in the way you intended, especially if you happen to be a bit of a perfectionist.

5. What foods go well with wine?

There are many foods you can cook using a good red wine. A few examples are meat loaf with red wine glaze, Chorizo poached in red wine, silky leek and red wine soup, beef stew in red wine sauce, salmon with red wine balsamic sauce, red wine risotto with mushroom and lentils with red wine and herbs (it does not always have to be a meat dish).

Other popular and yummy dishes include short ribs braised in red wine, duck breasts with Pinot Noir sauce and pan-roasted veal chops with Cabernet sauce. Let’s not forget desserts! Red wine chocolate cake, chocolate Pinot Noir fondue and red wine crème brûlée are all to die for!

6. Avoid a cooking wine

Once again, it is worth mentioning that you should avoid a cooking wine. There’s nothing wrong, but if you have people over and you want to impress them, avoid cooking wine. Check recipes as well. If a recipe calls for a dry red wine, then Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are good choices. A good red wine for cooking does not mean you need to take out a loan! Don’t worry too much; a wine that is moderately priced is quite ideal.