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How to Cook with Wine (Plus 3 Recipes)

Wine being poured into a cooking pot over a stove.

Adding wine to a dish isn’t just for experienced chefs to pull off. With our tips to cooking with wine, everyone can try a delicious wine-infused recipe at home. From creating delicious sauces, to poaching and braising chicken, wine has its place in the kitchen, and not just in your glass! And fear not, when cooking with wine, a Coravin is key to using just what the recipe calls for and saving the rest for another time all without ever pulling the cork. Learn how Coravin works here.

1. Cheap or Expensive

You probably don’t want to use that prized bottle of wine that was gifted to you in your wedding by Aunt Susan, but those less expensive bottles you have waiting for a rainy day, yes! That’s not to say that you can’t cook with expensive wine, not at all; but top of the line wine is usually better left to try as it was meant to be: in a glass. With that said, make sure that the wine you use is still wine you like. Keep in mind that if you don’t like the taste of a wine, you will probably not like it in your food either. We would also stay away from the types of wines labeled “cooking wine”. These are usually salty and contain other additives that can affect the taste of your dish. Stick to good old delicious wine!

2. Red or White

There is a simple trick to figuring out which type of wine to cook with which type of dish and protein. As with food and wine pairing, the rule of thumb is: white meat or lighter dishes call for white wine, red meat or more robust dishes call for red wine. However, you shouldn’t be scared to try your own thing. As of lately, there has been more free-range to pairing food and wine; not so much having to do with the protein itself, but more with the type of seasoning in the dish.

3. Develop Flavors

Every wine has its own flavor and aroma profile. Use this to your advantage! Before adding wine to any dish, think about the flavor characteristics of the wine and if it indeed goes well with the dish you are preparing. For example, a nice Pinot Noir from Burgundy usually has deep notes of mushroom. This may pair perfectly with a meat ragù sauce. On the other hand, a bright dish that contains lemon or lime may benefit from a Sauvignon Blanc.

4. Allow the Alcohol to Cook

If you ask celebrity chef, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, the biggest mistake people make while cooking with wine is not letting the alcohol cook. You must allow the alcohol in the wine to evaporate, or the dish will end up tasting like raw wine. After you add the wine, make sure you cook uncovered until about half is reduced. As the raw alcohol evaporates, the liquid will thicken, creating a delicious and aromatic sauce. To read Chef Guarnaschelli’s Food & Wine interview about cooking with wine, click here: Alexandra Guarnaschelli’s Tips on Cooking with Wine

5. Storing Leftover Wine

Once a bottle of wine is opened, oxygen begins doing its job. Slowly, but surely, that wine will start turning sour. To elongate the life of opened wine you intend to cook with, refrigerate it. This technique will keep wine for 1 – 2 weeks. To truly assure that your wine will keep, don’t open the bottle. Use your Coravin Wine System to access the amount of wine that is needed for each recipe.

Now that you’re a whiz, get started trying some recipes at home! Wow everyone as you cook with wine like a pro. Click here for 23 amazing recipes you can make using wine: Cooking with White Wine.