What Type of Red Wine for Cooking?

What Type of Red Wine for Cooking

When it comes to the culinary world, knowing what type of red wine for cooking is essential in elevating your favorite dishes. The right choice can add depth and flavor to sauces, stews, and braises. In this blog post, we will explore the science of selecting a red wine that can elevate your culinary creations.

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We’ll take a look at how things like acidity and tannins can influence which type of red wine is best for cooking. From Cabernet Sauvignon to Pinot Noir, you’ll learn how each varietal contributes its unique characteristics to enhance your meals.

Furthermore, we will explore proper storage techniques for cooking red wine and provide guidance on making use of leftover wine from previous meals or events. This way, you can maximize both taste and value while minimizing waste.

Whether you’re simmering a rich beef stew or crafting an exquisite pan sauce or tomato sauce reduction, understanding what type of red wine for cooking is crucial in achieving exceptional results every time.

Selecting Red Wine for Cooking

When cooking, opt for a dry red with high acidity and low tannins to get the best outcome.

Dry Red Wines Ideal for Cooking

  • Pinot Noir: Light-bodied with bright fruit flavors and moderate acidity, perfect for sauces and stews.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Bold and full-bodied, adds depth to hearty dishes like braises or roasts.
  • Syrah/Shiraz: Known for its peppery notes, adds complexity to marinades or spice-driven recipes.
  • Zinfandel: Robust and able to stand up against strong flavors in rich stews or tomato-based sauces.

Avoid sweet wines like Port or dessert wines, and never use “cooking wines” with added salt and preservatives that can negatively affect taste.

Instead, choose a reasonably priced bottle from one of the varieties mentioned above, and remember: If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.

Storing Red Wine for Cooking

Properly storing red wine is crucial for maintaining its quality and flavor, especially when using it for cooking.

  • Re-cork the bottle: After pouring out the desired amount of wine for your recipe, re-cork the bottle tightly to minimize exposure to air.
  • Store upright: Keep the bottle in an upright position to reduce surface area exposed to oxygen and slow down oxidation.
  • Maintain cool temperature: Place the opened bottle in a cool part of your refrigerator (preferably between 45-65°F) away from direct sunlight or heat sources.

If you don’t have a cork or want extra protection against oxidation, consider investing in a vacuum pump or silicone stoppers designed for preserving open bottles of wine.

If you can’t finish an entire bottle within one week but still want some on hand for future recipes, freeze leftover red wine into ice cube trays for conveniently portioned cubes without compromising taste or quality.

Cooking with Red Wine

Bring your meals to life with red wine’s bold, robust flavor – perfect for making sauces, stews and marinades.

  • Choose the right moment: Add red wine early in the cooking process to meld flavors and allow alcohol to evaporate.
  • Don’t overdo it: Too much red wine can overpower your dish, so start with a small amount and adjust to taste.
  • Deglace: Use red wine as a deglazing liquid to lift browned bits and enhance flavor.

Try classic dishes like Coq au Vin or Beef Bourguignon for recipe inspiration, or experiment with new recipes like this comforting Red Wine Spaghetti with Walnuts and Parsley.

Elevate everyday meals and impress your guests by incorporating red wine into your culinary repertoire.

Pinot Noir Chili

Pinot Noir Chili

Recipe by Chef Linsey Farr
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The Chili with Pinot Noir boasts a hearty blend of ground beef and kidney beans, enhanced by a hint of pinot that adds a profound depth to its taste!

Course: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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  • 2 Tablespoons 2 Canola Oil

  • 2 lbs 2 Ground Beef

  • 2 2 Medium Onions

  • 1 1/4 cups 1 1/4 Pinot Noir

  • 2 2 15-oz cans Kidney Beans

  • 1 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes

  • 2 Tablespoons 2 Chili Powder

  • 2 teaspoons 2 Ancho Chili powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons 1 1/2 Paprika

  • 2 teaspoons 2 Kosher Salt


  • Dice the onions while you heat a 7 1/4 Qt Dutch oven on the stove top.
  • Add 2 Tablespoons of canola oil to the pot. When the oil has heated, add the diced onions and allow to cook until translucent. Make sure to stir frequently.
  • Add the ground beef and brown until fully cooked.
  • Add the Pinot Noir and cook down until barely visible.
  • Add remaining ingredients, cover, and simmer for several hours. Allow the flavors to come together and add any additional salt if needed. Stir occasionally.
  • The longer the chili cooks, the better it will taste.


Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of red wine do you use for cooking?

For cooking, choose a dry red wine with moderate tannins and acidity, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Pinot Noir – wines that you would enjoy drinking.

When a recipe calls for red wine, what should I use?

If the recipe doesn’t specify which type of red wine to use, opt for medium-bodied varieties like Merlot or Zinfandel, which have balanced flavor profiles and won’t dominate your dish – or consult this guide on selecting the best red wines for cooking.

Does any red wine work for cooking?

Not all red wines are suitable for cooking; avoid using “cooking wines,” which contain added salt and preservatives, and stick to quality table wines that complement your dish’s flavors without overwhelming them – check out this article on choosing appropriate red wines in various recipes.

Does the quality of red wine matter in cooking?

Yes, the quality of the red wine matters when it comes to taste and overall results in your dishes – using an inexpensive but drinkable table wine will yield better results than cheap “cooking-only” options laden with additives, but there’s no need to splurge on a high-end bottle for cooking purposes.

What Type of Red Wine for Cooking Conclusion

In summary, What type of Red Wine for Cooking?

Don’t settle for just any red wine when cooking. Consider the flavor profile and acidity level to complement your recipe.

Remember: If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it.

Popular choices include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.

Store your red wine properly by refrigerating it once opened and using it within a week or two.

Cooking with red wine can add depth and complexity to dishes such as stews, sauces, or marinades.

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