On this article, you’ll find out about how to choose the best red wine for cooking. It may seem as simple as picking a bottle off the shelf, but that’s not the case! Cooking with wine isn’t easy, so it’s vital that you find a good red wine for cooking. With the right wine, your meals will be AMAZING!
Even if you haven’t cooked with wine before, you may have already enjoyed or heard of many dishes that have been prepared with wine. Red wine is a crucial ingredient in many recipes, where it helps to marinate and tenderize meats to fall-apart perfection but also can serve as the base for a final glaze.
Here at zoomblog, we’ve carefully curated a top 10 list of the most fruity and flavourful wines you can buy online this year.
Top 10 best red wine for cooking in your kitchen
Here are ten wines that we think are really food friendly because of their combinations of acids, sugars and tannins.
1. Isla Negra Seashore Cabernet Sauvignon
This Cabernet Sauvignon is made from grapes grown in sun-warmed Isla Negra, Chile, and has notes of red fruits with soft tannins, medium body and a juicy, chocolate-laced finish. The volume is just below your average bottle of wine at 12%.
In Isla Negra, the combination of a Mediterranean climate and permeable organic soils produce grapes bursting with sunshine flavour! The bottle is sealed with a cork so oxygen can gently permeate, helping to continue the ageing process.
Fruity with hints of cherry, oak and vanilla. Slightly sweet but soft tannins. Very versatile. Could eat with salmon or chicken, but just as delicious with a nice juicy sirloin.
2. Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages Combe Aux Jacques
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. It’s the bottle you buy by the case for Thanksgiving.
Great wine for this price. Very easy to drink. Gamay is a badass grape and these guys do a great job capturing it. Tastes of raspberries. A mouthful of juicy, cherry fruit with a hint of sandalwood. The acidity is crazy vibrant allowing it to be chilled down a bit. For the price, this wine is a damn success. I would buy a case stat to have it on hand for burger or pizza night.
3. Hardys Crest Cabernet Shiraz Merlot
Elegant, refined, and well balanced with a mix of sweet and savory flavours for a silky finish that is sure to leave you morish. The rich yet fruit mix of cherry, raspberry, and oak has been sourced from vineyards around South Australia, a region renowned for its incredible wines.
Quite smooth and tasty. Unexpectedly good for this price. You can feel cherry, vanilla, plum, blackberry. A good reliable mid week wine, full of flavour and relatively smooth. Excellent value wine with hints of passion fruit and lemon.
We had this wine alongside our steak and chips. It was a great accompaniment! It is quite a fruity wine and definitely give it time to breath, preferably in a carafe if you have one before you drink it as it is much better this way!
4. La Manarine Cotes Du Rhone Red Wine
La Manarine, which is a smooth and rich red wine with 14 percent alcohol content, is made from 100 percent Grenache Noir grapes harvested in mid-to-late September. The juice from the crushed grapes is fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged for more than a year in stainless steel tanks and then in bottles for a few months before going on the market.
“This unique Granache spend’s 8 months in stainless steel. Excellent southern Rhone notes of thyme, rosemary, and lavender. Great buy and reminds me of Joel Gotts Shatter.” – Said one of our tester.
Lovely Cote du Rhône. Old world elegance in a bottle. Soft tannins. Lavender and earthy tones. With no decanting or aeration it’s a winner. Definitely reminds you of Provence. Smooth and not acidic. Long lingering taste. Vive La France!
5. Cantine Pellegrino Marsala Superiore Garibaldi Dolce
Cantine Pellegrino Marsala Superiore Garibaldi Dolce is a medium sweet style of Marsala, perfect as a dessert wine or as an ingredient in Italian desserts such as Tiramisu, Zabaglione or Christmas Cake and Puddings. There are quite a few different style of Marsala and they vary in terms of sweetness (from sweet through to dry), in terms of ageing (some in a system similar to the Solera system in Sherry, some in single casks) and then in the length of times the wines are aged. Most Marsala is white, but some is also made from red grapes. Essentially all begin life as a wine fermented to dryness (for dry Marsala) or as unfermented grape must (for sweeter styled) which are then fortified with unaged grape spirit or sometimes aged grape brandy.
Intense, complex nose of lemon zest, dried fruit (fig, apricot), caramel, saltwater taffy, vanilla, toasted almond. Medium (+) sweet, with at least 100 g/L of RS, but nicely balanced by med acidity and a slight bitterness on the finish. The 18% alcohol is unobtrusive. Showing surprising quality for a bargain price, it is fine by itself or paired sweet, nutty, coffee desserts.
6. Blandy’s Duke of Clarence Rich Madeira wine
This wine is made from the volcanic, sub-tropical Portuguese island of Madeira, 400 miles of the northwest African coast. The Blandy’s have owned this winery since 1811. Pair with toasted nuts and hard cheeses.
Deep chestnut in colour, it smells of honey, toffee, and roasted almonds. Rich flavours of raisins, salted caramel, and exotic spices float on a sweet, soft-textured palate that tightens up on the finish with a refreshing lick of acidity.
Pleasant nose with nutty and slightly sweet notes. Caramel and raisin with great finish. Great desert wine.
7. The Straw Hat Prestige Collection Soft and Juicy Red Wine
With a bounty of soft & juicy red berry notes, this ripe and lush fruity style perfectly complements most moods & occasions! The Straw Hat Red is easy drinking, soft fruit and medium in style and delicious served slightly cool.
This is a refreshing, fruity punch with ice and slices of citrus fruits. Also accompanied with a juicy griddled steak, a tasty beef stroganoff or Mexican chilli con carne and tacos.
8. Jacob’s Creek Double Barrel Shiraz Red Wine
This Aussie Shiraz comes, as the style most-often entails, in a pretty dark and intense red color, nearly black to the core, hints of purple hues to the rim intensifying the color.
The nose is almost equally as intense, combining powerful spiciness, ripe fruitiness and strong oakiness. What first hits in the aromatic profile is the sheer pepperiness, the typical black and white pepper aromas of Syrah/Shiraz, but that seem exacerbated here.
A wealth of dark ripe red berry notes, dark cherry, blackberry, strawberry jam. It’s rich and fruity, edging on the jammy side, although really without smelling too much like cooked or dried fruit. Hints of prune and dates, but the dominant fruits are still smelling rather fresh, like fresh berries.
9. CLOS MONTBLANC Masia Les Comes – 2015 Reserve Spanish Red Wine
The blend consists of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, using grapes sourced from vines that grow on land belonging to the family’s estate and which were planted by them when they took over in 1988. Trained on wires, these vines are set on terraces in clay-loam soil at an altitude of 700 metres.
A red colour with purple hues, and clean and bright in appearance, the wine’s nose exhibits an aroma of black fruit, coffee, tobacco and green peppers. The palate is well-structured with plenty of persistence.
Malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Aged for 18 months in French, Hungarian and American oak barrels.
100% ready to enjoy. The fragrance jumped out of the bottle like a jack in the box. The spice accompanied the fruit in fragrance and taste as I t drifted over the palate. Let it breathe for best results.
10. Terrazas de los Andes Malbec 2018
Terrazas de los Andes Reserva 2018 Malbec is fresh and fragrant with dark berry, plum, dried herb and smoky aromas on the nose. Dry, medium-bodied and earthy with fresh blackberry, blueberry, earthy, savoury herb and smoky spicy flavours on the palate. Tannins are velvety.
This Malbec is deep, dark and gorgeous with rich blackberry, mulberry, ripe dark fruit and spicy flavours finishing long on the palate with food-friendly acidity Tannins are structured. Pair with grilled steaks.
Malbec food pairings: chicken herb-rubbed roast, hamburger, roasted veal, sausages.
How to choose a red wine for cooking?
Why cook with wine in the first place?
Wine doesn’t only impart tons of flavor and richness to tomato sauce, pasta dishes and pan sauces, but its acidity is actually great for tenderizing meat. Similar to other acidic ingredients like lemon juice, vinegar and yogurt, wine breaks down the connective tissues in meat (aka collagen and muscle) and helps it to retain its juices.
Are red wine and white wine interchangeable?
Although both red wine and white wine tenderize and moisten, their flavor profiles generally fit different foods. So, just because red wine and white wine have similar effects on food doesn’t mean you should use any old wine. So no, you can’t substitute red wine in recipes that call for white—white wines offer brightness, acidity and a light softness, while red wines are used for bold, hearty dishes that can withstand its bitter, intense flavors.
Because red wine is more tannic than white, it turns bitter faster when cooked. That’s why white wine is popular in seafood and chicken recipes, while red wine is key in roasts and meaty stews. Red wine can also be used in marinades and glazes. So, dry red wines with moderate tannins are safest to include in recipes. If you choose a wine that’s too bitter and tannic, your food might turn out more or less inedible.
While red wine can break down big, fatty cuts of meat, it can also keep lighter proteins like fish super moist and impart great flavor. Here’s an easy red wine style guide to stick to while you’re shopping:
- If you’re cooking beef, lamb or stew, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are your friends.
- If you’re cooking chicken, duck or pork, go with Merlot.
- If you’re cooking seafood, choose Pinot Noir.
- If you’re cooking vegetables or sauce, try a light Merlot or Chianti.
Finally, cook with something you like to drink. The recipe probably won’t ask you to use the whole bottle (um, well, those short ribs do, but that’s not usually the case). You should most definitely be pouring yourself a glass or two to sip on while you putter away in the kitchen. If you’re happy with the way it tastes on its own, chances are you’ll be happy with the way your food tastes, too.