When a recipe calls for wine, we typically suggest using the same wine that you intend to drink with the meal.
Members of our wine clubs have grown accustomed to this practice, either with the Tasting Notes they receive along with their wines, or through their exclusive Grapevine newsletter. It’s rare that we feature a recipe calling for “white wine” or “red wine”; whenever possible, we zero in on a specific variety.
In most instances, preparing a given dish with the wine you intend to drink with the meal is perfectly good advice. Occasionally, however, a particular wine just doesn’t mesh with the dish being prepared; it can actually overpower the basic flavor of the food.
So here are five further suggestions…
- In preparing the food, use a somewhat “lesser” wine than the bottle on the table. By “lesser,” we mean one with less assertive flavors.
- In all cases, when cooking, avoid wines that are high in tannins. The accompanying astringency makes food pairing problematic.
- The same goes for wines that are high in alcohol. Here, we would define “high”as 14.5% or higher. (One exception to this “rule” would be when you’re grilling, as barbecued fare typically can handle that extra alcohol.)
- Never, ever, use “cooking wine” from the supermarket. In many instances, they’re packed with salt and their flavors have little resemblance to actual wine.
- Don’t use too much wine. Remember, it’s intended to be a flavor enhancer for the dish, not the defining flavor.