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Wines for cooking, the elite ingredients

06/07/2022 Breaking news , Pairings

It is well known that wine has an important part to play at the dinner table, but what many don’t realise is that this famous liquid is also an elite cooking ingredient.

Many great pairings start in the kitchen, where wine used in the preparation of certain foods helps create a good connection when looking to pair the finished dish at the table.

Here are some tips on how you can use wine to enhance some of your favourite recipes and enjoy yet another of its versatile facets.

If you’re ready, grab your utensils and let’s go!

What’s the best wine for cooking?

This will depend on what you’re using it for. There are three main ways to use wine in cooking: to macerate foods, to caramelise a liquid and to bind ingredients.

1.- Maceration

This involves soaking raw food in a liquid for an amount of time, perhaps alongside vegetables or spices. Macerating with wine allows the food to be soaked in its aromas and flavours, which enriches the final flavour. Wine is also great for tenderising meats. Wine can also be used to macerate fruits to make certain desserts.

2.- Caramelisation 

To caramelise is to turn sugar into caramel, but in cooking it’s about concentrating a juice or sauce after deglazing, a process that involves adding a liquid to the pan you have just cooked meat or fish in to dissolve the juices and flavours that are left in there after cooking. 

Deglazing with white or red wine is the most common. The liquid is heated and stirred to release the juices stuck to the pan. The resulting sauce concentrates and enhances all the aromas and flavours of the cooked food and has the appearance, taste or colour of caramel (hence “caramelise”).

3.- Binding

Wine is used in some recipes as an element to bind ingredients, especially in desserts and fruit drinks.

What type of wine is used for cooking? 

First of all, you have to think about quality. Use common sense and choose wisely. If the ingredients in your dish are high quality, why not use a wine that matches what you hope to create? Strike a balance: not too much, not too little.

As for the recipe, a rule that works quite well for figuring out what to choose is to start with the wine you would pair the finished dish with.

For red meats, red wines with body, like those made with the Merlot variety.

For fish, chicken or lighter meats you need a wine that has taste but with a similar power to that of the meat, like fruity white wines (Verdejo, Albariño, Riesling, Chardonnay, etc.).

Rosé wines can add flavour to a soup, stew or a sauce. Dry sherry wines also work very well here as extraordinary flavour enhancers.

Sweet wines (Pedro Ximénez, Port, Madeira, etc.) add something to reductions and the caramelization of sauces and are the perfect ingredient in syrups to serve with delicious desserts. 

Anything you add wine to in the pan enhances its organoleptic qualities, but evaporates the alcohol, so the resulting dish is suitable for young and old.

By now you are probably, like us, salivating. At Decántalo, we have a wide variety of wines to enhance your recipes in the pan and in your hand. That’s right, you should enjoy a glass of wine while you make your favourite dish, because everything we make with love and joy will taste even better =D.

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