It’s tempting in the kitchen to get in a bit of a Jaime Oliver mood, and toss random ingredients nonchalantly in the pan, trusting that your ‘instincts’ will keep everything tasting decent. It feels frightfully grown up to cook with wine, throwing a little wine in with pasta or soup to give it an extra ‘umph’. However, there are a few things you should know before you empty a bottle of vintage tempranillo into your stew…
Firstly, don’t switch reds and whites, they’re not the same. Because red wine is more tannic than white, it gets bitter faster, so you run the risk of ruining your dinner with a red wine over 50% reduction.
Secondly, don’t worry about the price. When you start cooking with a wine, it doesn’t matter if it was from the bottom shelf or the top; it will taste pretty much the same (so keep the expensive bottles for drinking). Also, in terms of taste, merlot is generally the best red to cook with, and sauvignon blanc is the best white.
When you’re cooking, you won’t use the entire bottle, so choose a bottle that you like to drink to avoid wasting wine. Special cooking wine usually has salt or preservatives which can change the taste of your dish, so cooking with normal drinking wine is preferable.