10 Best Red Wines for Cooking Any Meal (2023 Edition)

  • By: Michael Barnes
  • Time to read: 15 min.

Cooking with wine can add depth, complexity, and richness to a dish, making it a true culinary experience. The acidity and tannins in wine can help to balance out flavors, while the alcohol can help to break down proteins and release their flavors. However, not all wines are created equal when it comes to cooking. In this post, we’ll explore the 10 best red wines for cooking any meal.

When choosing a wine for cooking, it’s important to consider the body and flavor profile of the wine and how it will complement the flavors of the dish. Light-bodied wines, such as Pinot Noir, are best for delicate dishes, while full-bodied wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, are better for bolder flavors. Additionally, the tannin content and acidity of the wine should also be considered, as these can affect how the wine interacts with the flavors of the dish.

So, what’s the best red wine for cooking? Whether you’re braising a beef stew or making a rich tomato sauce, there’s a red wine that’s perfect for your recipe. Keep reading to discover the best red wines for cooking any meal.

Best Red Wines for Cooking

The 10 Best Red Wines for Cooking Any Meal

Let’s start with the comparison table:

WineFlavor ProfileBodyBest Food Pairing
Pinot NoirFruity, floralLightSalmon, pork, chicken
MerlotPlum, blackberryMediumStews, roasted meats, mushrooms, herbs
Cabernet SauvignonTannic, dark fruitFullRed meats, steak, lamb, strong cheeses
ZinfandelSpicy, berryMedium-FullBBQ, spicy dishes
SyrahSmoky, meatyFullGrilled meats, hearty stews
MalbecRich, dark fruitFullGrilled meats, hearty stews
TempranilloSpicy, plumMediumBold flavors, tomato-based sauces
BaroloComplexFullGrilled meats, hearty stews
ChiantiFruity, floralMediumDelicate flavors, tomato-based sauces
RiojaSpicy, fruityMediumBold flavors, tomato-based sauces

See also: Red Wines From Lightest to Boldest (Chart)

1. Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a light-bodied red wine with a delicate flavor profile. It is known for its subtle notes of red fruits, such as cherry and strawberry, as well as its earthy and floral characteristics. It also has a good acidity and low tannins, which makes it a versatile wine to pair with different dishes.

Best dishes to pair with Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir pairs well with a wide range of dishes, making it a great choice for any meal. Its delicate flavor profile makes it a perfect match for lighter dishes such as salmon, chicken, or pork. It can also complement dishes with earthy, mushroom-based sauces, or with a touch of spice. Additionally, Pinot Noir can also be paired with more delicate cheeses such as brie, camembert, and goat cheese.

Pinot Noir pairs well with a wide range of dishes, making it a great choice for any meal. Some of the best dishes to pair with Pinot Noir include:

  • Salmon: The delicate flavor profile of Pinot Noir complements the light, flaky texture of salmon perfectly.
  • Chicken: Pinot Noir’s acidity and low tannins make it a great match for chicken, particularly when it is cooked with a mushroom-based sauce.
  • Pork: Pinot Noir’s subtle fruit and earthy notes complement the rich, savory flavor of pork.
  • Duck: The rich, gamey flavor of duck is perfectly balanced by the subtle fruit and earthy notes of Pinot Noir.
  • Mushroom-based dishes: Pinot Noir’s earthy notes complement the rich, earthy flavors of mushrooms, making it a perfect match for mushroom-based dishes such as risotto or pasta.
  • Cheese: Pinot Noir pairs well with more delicate cheeses such as brie, camembert, and goat cheese.

Cooking Tips

Pinot Noir is a great wine to use in cooking because of its delicate flavor profile and good acidity. When using it in a recipe, it is best to use it in the final stages of cooking. For example, when making a sauce, you can deglaze the pan with Pinot Noir and reduce it down to add depth and complexity to the sauce. Additionally, Pinot Noir can also be used to marinate meats, such as chicken or pork, to add a subtle hint of flavor. When using Pinot Noir in cooking, be careful not to overdo it as it is a delicate wine and can easily be overpowered by other stronger flavors.

2. Shiraz/Syrah

Shiraz or Syrah is a full-bodied red wine with a bold and rich flavor profile. It is known for its intense dark fruit flavors, such as blackberry and plum, as well as its smoky, spicy and peppery notes. It also has medium to high tannins and good acidity.

Best dishes to pair with Shiraz/Syrah

Shiraz/Syrah is a great choice for bold and hearty dishes such as red meats, particularly beef, lamb, and venison. It also pairs well with spicy dishes, such as those made with chili, or with dishes made with strong, flavorful cheeses like blue cheese and cheddar. Additionally, Shiraz/Syrah can also complement dishes with rich and intense sauces such as barbecue sauce and red wine sauce.

Cooking Tips

Shiraz/Syrah is a great wine to use in cooking because of its bold and rich flavor profile. When using it in a recipe, it is best to use it in the early stages of cooking, such as in marinades, or to deglaze a pan. This allows the wine to intensify and meld with the flavors of the dish. Additionally, Shiraz/Syrah can also be used to braise meats, such as beef or lamb, to add depth and complexity to the dish. When using Shiraz/Syrah in cooking, be sure to use it in moderation as its bold flavor can easily overpower other ingredients.

Best Red Wines for Cooking

3. Merlot

Merlot is a medium-bodied red wine with a smooth and elegant flavor profile. It is known for its notes of dark fruits, such as black cherry and blackberry, as well as its chocolate and tobacco undertones. It also has lower tannins and good acidity.

Best dishes to pair with Merlot

Merlot is a versatile wine that pairs well with a wide range of dishes. It is a great choice for red meats, such as beef, pork, and venison, as well as dishes with rich, flavorful sauces. It also pairs well with grilled or roasted vegetables, particularly those with a slightly sweet flavor, such as eggplant or bell peppers. Additionally, Merlot can also complement dishes made with soft cheeses, such as brie or camembert.

Cooking Tips

Merlot is a great wine to use in cooking because of its smooth and elegant flavor profile. When using it in a recipe, it is best to use it in the early stages of cooking, such as in marinades, or to deglaze a pan. Additionally, Merlot can also be used to braise meats, such as pork or beef, to add depth and complexity to the dish. When using Merlot in cooking, be sure to use it in moderation as its elegant flavor can easily be overpowered by other strong flavors.

4. Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a full-bodied red wine with a bold and fruity flavor profile. It is known for its intense berry flavors, such as blackberry and raspberry, as well as its spicy and peppery notes. It also has medium to high tannins and good acidity.

Best dishes to pair with Zinfandel

Zinfandel is a great choice for bold and flavorful dishes, particularly those with a spicy or smoky profile. It pairs well with barbecue, grilled or smoked meats, such as pork, beef and venison. It also pairs well with spicy dishes, such as those made with chili, or with dishes made with strong, flavorful cheeses like blue cheese and cheddar. Additionally, Zinfandel can also complement dishes with rich and intense sauces such as barbecue sauce and red wine sauce.

Cooking Tips

Zinfandel is a great wine to use in cooking because of its bold and fruity flavor profile. When using it in a recipe, it is best to use it in the early stages of cooking, such as in marinades, or to deglaze a pan. This allows the wine to intensify and meld with the flavors of the dish. Additionally, Zinfandel can also be used to braise meats, such as beef or pork, to add depth and complexity to the dish. When using Zinfandel in cooking, be sure to use it in moderation as its bold flavor can easily overpower other ingredients.

5. Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red wine with a complex and elegant flavor profile. It is known for its notes of dark fruits, such as blackcurrant, black cherry and blackberry, as well as its cedar, tobacco and vanilla undertones. It also has high tannins and good acidity.

Best dishes to pair with Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a great choice for red meats, particularly those with bold and rich flavors, such as steak and lamb. It also pairs well with dishes with rich, flavorful sauces, such as stews, and dishes made with hard, aged cheeses like cheddar and parmesan. Additionally, Cabernet Sauvignon can also complement dishes made with mushroom and dishes with a bold and spicy profile.

Cooking Tips

Cabernet Sauvignon is a great wine to use in cooking because of its complex and elegant flavor profile. When using it in a recipe, it is best to use it in the early stages of cooking, such as in marinades, or to deglaze a pan. Additionally, Cabernet Sauvignon can also be used to braise meats, such as beef or lamb, to add depth and complexity to the dish. When using Cabernet Sauvignon in cooking, be sure to use it in moderation as its bold flavor can easily overpower other ingredients.

6. Malbec

Malbec is a full-bodied red wine with a rich and fruity flavor profile. It is known for its notes of dark fruits, such as blackberry, plum and black cherry, as well as its spicy and smoky undertones. It also has medium to high tannins and good acidity.

Best dishes to pair with Malbec

Malbec is a great choice for red meats, particularly those with bold and rich flavors, such as steak and pork. It also pairs well with dishes with rich, flavorful sauces, such as stews, and dishes made with hard, aged cheeses like cheddar and parmesan. Additionally, Malbec can also complement dishes made with chocolate and dishes with a bold and spicy profile.

Cooking Tips

Malbec is a great wine to use in cooking because of its rich and fruity flavor profile. When using it in a recipe, it is best to use it in the early stages of cooking, such as in marinades, or to deglaze a pan. Additionally, Malbec can also be used to braise meats, such as beef or pork, to add depth and complexity to the dish. When using Malbec in cooking, be sure to use it in moderation as its bold flavor can easily overpower other ingredients.

Best Red Wine for Cooking

7. Tempranillo

Tempranillo is a medium to full-bodied red wine with a complex and elegant flavor profile. It is known for its notes of dark fruits, such as red and black cherry, as well as its spicy and earthy undertones. It also has medium tannins and good acidity.

Best dishes to pair with Tempranillo

Tempranillo is a great choice for red meats, particularly those with bold and rich flavors, such as steak and lamb. It also pairs well with dishes with rich, flavorful sauces, such as stews, and dishes made with hard, aged cheeses like cheddar and parmesan. Additionally, Tempranillo can also complement dishes made with mushrooms and dishes with a bold and spicy profile.

Cooking Tips

Tempranillo is a great wine to use in cooking because of its complex and elegant flavor profile. When using it in a recipe, it is best to use it in the early stages of cooking, such as in marinades, or to deglaze a pan. Additionally, Tempranillo can also be used to braise meats, such as beef or lamb, to add depth and complexity to the dish. When using Tempranillo in cooking, be sure to use it in moderation as its bold flavor can easily overpower other ingredients.

8. Barolo

Barolo is a full-bodied red wine with a complex and elegant flavor profile. It is known for its notes of dark fruits, such as cherry and plum, as well as its spicy and earthy undertones. It also has high tannins and good acidity.

Best dishes to pair with Barolo

Barolo is a great choice for red meats, particularly those with bold and rich flavors, such as steak and lamb. It also pairs well with dishes with rich, flavorful sauces, such as stews and ragus, and dishes made with hard, aged cheeses like cheddar and parmesan. Additionally, Barolo can also complement dishes made with truffle and dishes with a bold and spicy profile.

Cooking Tips and How to Use

Barolo is a great wine to use in cooking because of its complex and elegant flavor profile. When using it in a recipe, it is best to use it in the early stages of cooking, such as in marinades, or to deglaze a pan. Additionally, Barolo can also be used to braise meats, such as beef or lamb, to add depth and complexity to the dish. When using Barolo in cooking, be sure to use it in moderation as its bold flavor can easily overpower other ingredients. It can also be a good idea to decant it before adding it to the recipe, as this will help to soften the tannins and bring out the flavors.

9. Chianti

Chianti is a medium-bodied red wine with a complex and elegant flavor profile. It is known for its notes of dark fruits, such as cherry and plum, as well as its spicy and earthy undertones. It also has medium tannins and good acidity.

Best dishes to pair with Chianti

Chianti is a great choice for red meats, particularly those with bold and rich flavors, such as steak and lamb. It also pairs well with dishes with rich, flavorful sauces, such as stews and ragus, and dishes made with hard, aged cheeses like cheddar and parmesan. Additionally, Chianti can also complement dishes made with mushrooms and dishes with a bold and spicy profile.

Cooking Tips and How to Use

Chianti is a great wine to use in cooking because of its complex and elegant flavor profile. When using it in a recipe, it is best to use it in the early stages of cooking, such as in marinades, or to deglaze a pan. Additionally, Chianti can also be used to braise meats, such as beef or lamb, to add depth and complexity to the dish. When using Chianti in cooking, be sure to use it in moderation as its bold flavor can easily overpower other ingredients. It can also be a good idea to decant it before adding it to the recipe, as this will help to soften the tannins and bring out the flavors.

10. Rioja

Rioja is a medium-bodied red wine with a complex and elegant flavor profile. It is known for its notes of dark fruits, such as cherry and plum, as well as its spicy and earthy undertones. It also has medium tannins and good acidity.

Best dishes to pair with Rioja

Rioja is a great choice for red meats, particularly those with bold and rich flavors, such as steak and lamb. It also pairs well with dishes with rich, flavorful sauces, such as stews and ragus, and dishes made with hard, aged cheeses like cheddar and parmesan. Additionally, Rioja can also complement dishes made with mushrooms and dishes with a bold and spicy profile.

Cooking Tips

Rioja is a great wine to use in cooking because of its complex and elegant flavor profile. When using it in a recipe, it is best to use it in the early stages of cooking, such as in marinades, or to deglaze a pan. Additionally, Rioja can also be used to braise meats, such as beef or lamb, to add depth and complexity to the dish. When using Rioja in cooking, be sure to use it in moderation as its bold flavor can easily overpower other ingredients. It can also be a good idea to decant it before adding it to the recipe, as this will help to soften the tannins and bring out the flavors.

How to use Red Wine for Cooking?

There are many ways to use red wine for cooking, but some popular methods include:

  1. Marinating: Wine can be used to marinate meats, such as beef, pork, or lamb, to add flavor and tenderness.
  2. Deglazing: Wine can be added to a pan after sautéing or roasting meats, vegetables, or mushrooms to create a flavorful pan sauce.
  3. Braising: Wine can be used to braise meats, such as beef or lamb, in a flavorful liquid to add depth and complexity to the dish.
  4. Reducing: Wine can be added to a recipe and then reduced to create a thick, flavorful sauce.
  5. Poaching: Wine can be used to poach fruits, such as pears or peaches, to create a sweet and flavorful dessert.
  6. Basting: Wine can be used to baste meats, such as poultry or pork, while cooking to add flavor and moisture.

Cooking With Red Wine: Tips & Tricks

  1. Use a wine that you would also enjoy drinking: When cooking with red wine, it’s important to use a wine that you would also enjoy drinking.
  2. Use the right wine for the dish: Consider the flavors of the dish and choose a wine that will complement them. For example, a bold red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon would be great with a hearty beef stew, while a lighter red wine like Pinot Noir would be better suited for a dish with fish or poultry.
  3. Use the wine in moderation: A little bit of wine can go a long way in adding depth and complexity to a dish, but too much can overpower the other ingredients. Start with a small amount and add more as needed.
  4. Decant the wine: Decanting the wine before adding it to the recipe can help to soften the tannins and bring out the flavors.
  5. Don’t cook with a wine that has gone bad: If the wine has a strong, off-putting smell or taste, don’t use it for cooking.
  6. Use the right cooking method: Different wines will react differently when cooked. For example, a full-bodied wine like a Barolo is best when used in a slow-cooked dishes like a stew or braise, while a lighter wine like a Pinot Noir is better when used in a dish that will be cooked quickly like a sauté.
  7. Experiment and have fun: Cooking with wine can be a fun and enjoyable experience, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different wines and dishes.

FAQ

Can you use any red wine for cooking?

It’s best to use a wine that you would also enjoy drinking. While you can technically use any red wine for cooking, some may not be as good as others depending on the dish and the flavors you want to achieve.

What is the best red wine to use in beef stew?

A full-bodied red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Shiraz/Syrah would be great for a beef stew. These wines have bold, rich flavors that will complement the hearty flavors of the stew.

Does it matter what wine you use for cooking?

Yes, it does matter what wine you use for cooking. Different wines will react differently when cooked, and some may be better suited for certain dishes than others.

Can you use regular red wine instead of red cooking wine?

Yes, you can use regular red wine instead of red cooking wine. However, red cooking wine is often seasoned with salt and other ingredients, so it may not be an exact substitute.

Is the red wine for cooking the same for drinking?

The red wine for cooking can be the same as what you would drink, but it’s best to use a wine that’s of a lower quality and price point for cooking.

How does red wine affect cooking?

Red wine can add depth and complexity to a dish by enhancing the flavors of the other ingredients. It can also help to tenderize meats and create a rich, velvety sauce.

Overall

In summary, red wine can be a great ingredient to enhance the flavors of a dish. Some of the best red wines for cooking are Pinot Noir, Shiraz/Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Tempranillo, Barolo, Chianti and Rioja. These wines have complex and elegant flavor profiles and are known for their notes of dark fruits, spicy and earthy undertones, and medium tannins and acidity. They are great choices for red meats, dishes with rich, flavorful sauces, and dishes made with hard, aged cheeses.

When choosing a red wine for cooking, it is important to consider the flavors of the dish and how the wine will complement them. It is also important to use the wine in moderation, as its bold flavor can easily overpower other ingredients. Additionally, decanting the wine before adding it to the recipe can help to soften the tannins and bring out the flavors. It is also important to choose a wine that has good acidity as it will help to balance the flavors of the dish.

Finally, it is important to remember that you should always use a wine that you would also enjoy drinking. After all, cooking with wine should be a fun and enjoyable experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Superman Shot The Ultimate Guide: From Ingredients to Serving

Previous Post

Superman Shot The Ultimate Guide: From Ingredients to Serving

Next Post

Baking Soda in Alcohol: The Latest TikTok Trend That Could be Dangerous

Baking Soda in Alcohol: The Latest TikTok Trend That Could be Dangerous