Red Wine For Cooking Versus Red Wine For Drinking
First, let’s talk about what happens when you cook with wine. Adding wine to a hot pan will cause a few reactions. The alcohol will burn off, leaving your dish with beautiful flavor but none of the booze. This means that it’s safe for everyone, whether they drink or not . The remaining wine left in your dish is a cornucopia of flavors. It intensifies the natural essence of your dish without over-powering it.
A surprising fact is that great wine does not necessarily make great cooking wine, especially when it comes to red wine. When cooking with red wines, we recommend you choose a wine with low to moderate tannins and oak influence. Avoid super grippy, high tannin wines with lots of oak influence as these will cause your dish to develop an undesirable, bitter aftertaste. Not sure which wines are best? Sit back and let us guide you.
And don’t forget that when it comes to cooking with wine of any type, you’re going to burn off a majority of what can differentiate an expensive bottle from a less expensive one. When selecting a bottle to cook with, your dollar is going to go a lot further than it does with drinking wine. That said, there is a thing as too cheap. Avoid wines labeled as “Cooking Wine” as the poor quality will be reflected in your finished dish.
Amon Ra Shiraz Barossa Valley
Shiraz from the Barossa Valley is some of the most full-bodied, flavorful red wine you can find. This Australian Shiraz is bold on the palate with notes of licorice, black raspberries, creme de cassis and subtle hints of wood, leather, and cigars. Its got a long finish with medium tannins and acidity and is easily the most well-balanced wine on our list. Pair it with beef, game meat or poultry for the best flavor.
Aslina Umsasane Red Blend 2019
Pioneering winemaker Ntsiki Biyela is the force behind Western Cape gem Aslina, which has become a favorite among global fans of South African wines. The country’s first Black female winemaker, Biyela has received countless awards for her work over the years, with her signature Bordeaux-style blend Umsasane taking home the bulk of Aslina’s recognitions . The 2019 release is full and round in body with a warming bouquet and palate of ripe dark fruits, cocoa, baking spices, aged vanilla, and subtle tobacco.
To buy: $30, astorwines.com
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The Pinot Project Pinot Noir 2019
This is the American go-to Cali Pinot Noir for all the things. Pizza or burger night, a hefty brunch, a casual lunch, a chill dinner, movie night, date night, watch party, relaxing after work, you name it. Its chewy and soft, with crowd-pleasing acidity. The alcohol is just right, meaning you can pop bottles all night. Hell, buy a case.
Louis Jadot Beaujolais 2019
Beaujolais Nouveau gets a lot of play on our market. But the region of Beaujolais is not just young bubblegum fruit. This bottle is a good example of how the Gamay grape can go beyond punchy. It is a mouthful of juicy cherries and sandalwood, with crazy acidity and a slight earthy vibe. Its the bottle you buy by the case for Thanksgiving.
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From Loveable Classic Varietals To Funky Natural Bottles
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There are thousands and thousands of red wines in the world. Even though Ive dedicated years to learning about them, I havent made a dent in trying them all. Its difficult to pare them down or rank them. Some bottles are worth thousands of dollars. Im sure theyre excellent, but it seems unlikely that Ill ever get a sip of one, so forgive me for not including them here. This list is focused on wines youll want to drink more than once, ranging from classic lovable reds to slightly funkier natural bottles.
Here are the best red wines.
Louis Jadot makes fun, tasty budget wines. Jadot wines are a classic representation of their grape, which means theyre a great tool for learning about how wine should taste. This French pinot noir is light and fruity with a touch of earthy minerality.
Typically, a wine from Europe will be labeled with the region, and a wine from the U.S. will be labeled with the grape variety. This tends to cause some confusion among novice wine drinkers, who shouldnt be expected to know that legally, all reds from Burgundy must be 100 percent pinot noir if they carry the Burgundy label. Louis Jadot wines are friendly and approachable and include both the region and grape on the label.
Every Major Type Of Red Wine You Would Ever Need To Know
If you’re a beginner in the world of red wine, walking down a wine aisle at a local wine shop or even your grocery store can be intimidating. Sure, you know that Merlot and Malbec are both red, but your knowledge doesn’t go too far beyond that. If that’s the case for you, don’t worry. We’re here to shed some light on the red wine section. The truth is, the vast majority of red wines come down to a handful of grapes, so if you know about those grapes, then you’ll have a much clearer picture of the wine landscape. That can help you choose the perfect red for that steak dinner or select a bottle for your friend’s housewarming party.
We’re going to cover 10 common types of red wine you’ll find on shelves. Of course, there are countless other varieties out there, but these are the types you’re most likely to see regularly. Get acquainted with these varieties first, then make your way to your local wine shop and try them out for yourself. After all, the best way to determine what kind of wine you prefer is by sipping it yourself. Ready to get started? Here’s every major type of red wine you’d ever need to know.
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Two French Red Wines To Buy For Tonight
Beaujolais is one of Frances most under-rated wine regions. Overshadowed by the immensely quaffable Beaujolais Nouveau, the crus of this region make seriously delicious wines from Gamay, the principal red grape of the area. Top crus include Moulin-à-Vent, Morgon and Fleurie.
10. Frances Languedoc region
Frances Languedoc region is a great source for delightful wines ready to enjoy at a moments notice. The Languedoc AOC covers both the Languedoc and Roussillon winegrowing areas and offers producers great flexibility in allowed grape varieties. The primary red grapes of the appellation include Grenache, Syrah and Carignan.
Your favorite red grape varieties are easy to find in Frances wine landscape, you just have to know where to look. Dont worry if you forget which French region grows Grenache, good wine stores are staffed with knowledgeable people, ask them questions!
Sella & Mosca Terre Rare Carignano Del Sulcis Riserva 2014
This wine is made on an island just north of Sicily called Sardegna. In Sardegna, they call Carignan Carignano. And here, it is softer than most other examples around the globe. It has soft, supple fruit for lovers of wines like Merlot, with a slight tannic frame for the lovers of bigger wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. Its very versatile and will pair well with artisanal cheeses, seafood pasta dishes like lobster ravioli or, hell, the entire lobster drenched in butter.
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Denner Vineyards Dirt Worshipper 2018
Ever been to Paso Robles? Like Virginia, this is another wine region to run to posthaste after this craziness is behind us. Paso Robles celebrates grape diversity, while still making popular California varieties like Cab. This bottle shows that California is more than the norm. So much more. Its so expressive, with dark, concentrated fruit and that Paso acidity that brightens the deepest of wines. It smells like cooking herbs and a quiet layer of black pepper. Another awesome American wine experience.
Vieux Chateau Brun Pomerol Merlot
This Merlot hails from the Bordeaux region of France and has notes of ripe berries and herbs with a woody finish. Thanks to its smooth flavor it pairs best with meat and poultry but also goes well with various vegetable dishes. Since its a younger wine, its not as complex as some of the other red wines on our list, but is still well-balanced and full of flavor and can be enjoyed by itself as well.
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Two Italian Red Wines To Buy For Next Week
7. Barbera dAsti
The Italian red grape Barbera makes delicious wines with bright acidity and soft tannin. Hailing from Piedmont, these delightful red wines are crowd-pleasers.
8. Dolcetto dAlba
Dolcetto is another red wine from Piedmont. With more noticeable tannin than Barbera, but not quite as much as Nebbiolo, wines from Dolcetto strike a nice balance.
How To Know Which Red Wine Types Are The Best For You
Shall we uncork a bottle today? Wine not? After all, Im writing this during the COVID lockdown and, for better or worse, am having more wine than usual.
But let me zoom out and talk about the kinds of wine out there, and how to choose the best one for you. Weve already covered the wine landscape with a broad view. Today I want to get more specific and go into the red wine types in particular.
Lets do this.
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What Is The Difference Between Pinot Noir Vs Cabernet Sauvignon Vs Merlot
To understand the variations between Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon vs Merlot it is helpful to begin with a brief introduction to each.
And well start with the grapes.
Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon are two of the worlds most popular grapes but they couldnt be more different.
So, What is Pinot Noir? This light to medium-bodied red wine is known for its silky tannins, bright fruit flavors, and elegant finesse.
If you compare Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon, youll discover a Cabernet is usually a much bolder and more tannic red. It is characterized by aromas of black currant, robust flavor, and a complex structure.
A Merlot, on the other hand, is the subtle sister of the two a softer, smoother red, equally loved by beginner wine drinkers and vino-veterans.
But where do these popular wines come from? Lets trace the unique lineage of Merlot vs Pinot Noir vs Cabernet Sauvignon.
Healthiest Red Wine Choices Good For Your Body
Weve all heard that red wine has a health benefit or two to offer, but just how much of an impact does your selection of wine make when it comes to positive impact? Well, in fact, it can matter quite a bit. All wine is definitely not created equal when it comes to the health benefits that it offers, and as more and more research is being done, we have an even better understanding of some of the good things found in our wine and which grapes have the largest quantities.
If youre looking to get a little health boost with your next glass of wine, we prepared a guide to help you make a selection. Here are the five healthiest red wine choices for your body:
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Lets Start With Varietals
If you want to learn about red wine, you first ought to understand the different red wine varietals.
A wines varietal refers to the specific variety of grape from which it is made. Red wines can have very different tastes, scents, textures, and appearances based on the primary type of grape that was used to make them.
Which Wines Have The Highest Polyphenols
Polyphenols are found in the skins and seeds of grapes, so only wines that are made with skin contact have elevated polyphenol levels. Certain grape varieties have more concentrations of Procyanidin. Most notably:
- Tannat The wine of that also grows in abundance in Uruguay
- Nebbiolo Nebbiolo is of Piedmont, Italy.
These grapes contain anywhere from 26 times as much polyphenol content as other more popular varieties like Pinot Noir and Merlot. Concentrations of polyphenols are highest when the wine is young. Of course, there are many other variables involved, including how the grapes were harvested and the wine was made. So, if youre looking for an easier answer, go for the taste.
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Best Cabernet Sauvignon: Nickel & Nickel Sullenger Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Courtesy of Wine
Region: California, Napa Valley, Oakville | ABV: 14.3% | Tasting Notes: Cherry, Date, Chocolate, Red currant.
Do you want to spend more than $100 on a bottle of wine? No, you dont. But do you want to try a true rock-star Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon that will blow your mind? Well, yes, yes you do. What gives the Nickel & Nickel Sullenger Vineyard Cab an edge is its iconic Oakville AVA, which is home to other winemakers, such as the coveted mailing list-only Screaming Eagle, as well as Harlan and Dalla Valle. Compared with these names, Nickel & Nickel is a bargain worth saving your nickels for.
Best Small Winery Red Wine
This wine comes from Texas, which is home to over 500 wineries, according to Texas Public Radio, many of which are family-owned and operated. Texas offers a nice climate for growing grapes, with a diverse range of soils, from sandy loam to rocky limestone. This combination allows for a wide variety of wines that are flavorful and complex.
The Texas red wine scene has something for everyone, and this Pa Pa Frenchy Red Wine is one of the best you can get. But C.L. Butaud’s Pa Pa Frenchy has a light body without too much tannin.
The 2020 vintage is still young, but it’s already showing great potential. The grenache gives the wine its bright red fruit aromas and flavors, while the blend of other grapes adds some structure and body. The tannins are there, but they’re well balanced by the fruit, and the acidity keeps everything fresh. This is an impressive wine that will age gracefully for years to come.
You can buy the 2020 vintage of C.L. Butaud Pa Pa Frenchy from C.L. Butaud for $18.
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Dont Compromise On Quality
Another defining factor of great red wine is its quality. You can drink all the tannic wine you want, but if its cheap, nasty plonk youre not going to enjoy the experience. Thats not to say you have to spend hundreds of pounds at the auction house. In fact, its possible to pick up the perfect bottle of red wine for less than £40. Heres what you should be looking for:
- Complexity this sounds a little pretentious, but really what youre after is a wine with a large array of flavours. For example, a great Cabernet Sauvignon will have hints of cherry, blackcurrant, spice, green pepper, and, if its a little older, cigar box, leather, chocolate and savoury.
- Intensity how clearly can you identify each flavour? The more obvious they are, the more intense the wine, and the higher the quality.
- Balance the best wines hold all their flavours in balance. If its fruity, earthy, and well-structured, youre on to a winner.
Best Italian Zinfandel: Coppi Senatore Primitivo 2017
Courtesy of Vivino
Region: Italy, Gioia del Colle | ABV: 13.5% | Tasting Notes: Cherry, Raspberry, Oak, Plum.
Primitivo is one of Italys most beloved wine grapes, and fun fact: Its the same grape as the zinfandel. But whether you call it primitivo or zinfandel, the Italian take on the variety from the world-renowned Coppi Winery will turn you into a fan. Its Senatore wine gets its distinct flavor from the vineyards warm summers, refreshing breezy air off the Adriatic coast, and the kind of intimate care you can depend on from small-parcel harvests.
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Best Chilean: J Bouchon Pas Salvaje
Courtesy of Plonk Wine Club
Region: Central Valley, Chile | ABV: 12.5% | Tasting Notes: Red fruits, Cherry, Wild Strawberry, Floral
Never heard of País before? If you love earthy, medium-bodied reds with tons of acid, then this historic grape needs to be on your radar.
Produced from organically farmed vineyards in the heart of Chiles Central Valley, this flavor-packed wine jumps with notes of wild strawberries, red flower petals and wild herbs. For a crowd-pleasing red that promises to satisfy the masses, look no further than this tasty, budget-friendly option.
Finding Your Sweet Spot
Just because a wine is vintage or well-aged, doesnt mean you have to enjoy it. Ageing aromas are an acquired taste, much like truffles or mature cheeses. For those new to wine tasting, its good to vary your options and get adventurous with your choices. We recommend you start with the following grape varieties to get a sense of what you prefer.
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Best Budget: Gundlach Bundschu Mountain Cuvee 2018
Courtesy of Wine
Region: California, Sonoma | ABV: 14.2% | Tasting Notes: Blackberry, Vanilla, Cherry, Spice.
Gundlach Bundschu is an iconic Sonoma brand with six generations and 160 years of winemaking under its belt. Wine beginners will want to acquaint themselves with the GunBun wine portfolioand also, after the pandemic ends, its annual Huichica Music Festival. This event combines GunBun’s great wine with a lineup of excellent music and is arguably the less-crowded antithesis of Outside Lands. Its 2018 Mountain Cuvee is a mostly merlot blend with fantastic flavor and a surprisingly low price tag.