Can you Cook with Red Sparkling Wine?
22nd May 2020
Don’t we all love the idea of cooking with wine? I’m sure that most of us can put our hands up and say that at least once when we have poured some wine into a dish we are cooking with only the last few drops of a bottle because we’ve been enjoying it whilst preparing the foods for a special dish that we selected that suggests to add wine to enrich the flavours.
Does cooking with wine remove the alcohol?
“You need to cook a sauce for at least 20 to 30 seconds after adding wine to it to allow the alcohol to evaporate. Since alcohol evaporates at 172°F (78°C), any sauce or stew that is simmering or boiling is certainly hot enough to evaporate the alcohol.” Source: What’s Cooking America
Sparkling Wines for cooking can take a varied presence from using some during marination to splashing some in during the last phase of cooking. I’ve done this too so please do not feel alone, adding the wine you did not very much enjoy or choosing a cheap table wine when using for cooking, but this is not usually the recommended way – The best thing to have in mind is if it is not good enough for drinking then it is not good enough for cooking!
When you are adding wine when cooking you are not usually looking to overpower the foods with the characters of the wine, instead you should be looking to enrich flavours and if you can, enhance them to bring out more experiences for your palate to enjoy.
How much wine should you add when cooking?
The good thing here is that the only golden rule is to not add too much. Each dish, remembering that not all dishes will be enhanced with wines, will require different amounts of wine to be added during different stages of cooking. As an example, my suggestions only, a Beef bourguignon or bœuf bourguignon will need a good serving of red wine added towards the beginning to give that stronger character of flavour to the dish (you wish to taste that red wine character when eating), down to a splash or two of white wine when cooking the likes of sweet and sour vegetables.
When it comes to sparkling wines then there are pretty much the same guidelines. All I will add is that whatever wine you cook with should also be the same wine that you will enjoy whilst eating the dish itself.
If you want to really experience the flavours of the wine in the cooking process then look to add it nearer the end rather than towards the beginning unless of course you have marinated with it or you are adding plenty initially.
Cooking with red sparkling wine.
I simply love the depth and amazing burst of memorable flavours that some red sparkling wines will hold, in my mind this style of fizz gives the best results when used during cooking. We can have an array of styles from sweet to dry and also get deep dark berry fruits, spices, herbs and more which really enhances certain styles of cuisine. I also prefer adding red sparkling wines when cooking meats and certainly within a dish that requires stewing for longer periods. I will sometimes use red sparkling wine during marination.
Remember to check the style of red sparkling wine that you are using as there will be sweeter and drier versions. If you would prefer a sweeter edge to your dish then look out for words such as ‘Dolce’, ‘Semisecco’ or ‘Amabile’.
So what about taking a Trophy winning red sparkling wine and enjoying a classic French dish alongside it? We decided to put the 2019 ‘Winter Warmer’ Trophy winner, Vinarstvo Rebula – Br’stovska Penina Teran from Slovenia, and put it to test with coq au vin.
“Coq au vin, now a staple at fine dining restaurants, was originally considered peasant food and featured Rooster (coq au vin literally means “Rooster in Wine”) instead of Chicken.” Source: Garnish and Gather
Vinarstvo Rebula – Br’stovska Penina Teran – Tasting notes: “Serve well chilled. Dark berry fruit aromas along with a touch of sweet spiced pastry. Flavours are dry initially though quick sweeter dark berry fruits explode into life with added tea leaves, cream and a touch of zesty red berries at the close.”
Vinarstvo Rebula – Br’stovska Penina Teran cooked with the dish ‘coq au vin’: “Adding a good glass or so midway through cooking this dish in the oven gives the best results. You can certainly smell the character of the wine during the cooking process and when serving. The sauce takes on a cleaner and a touch sweeter character, not so heavy and intense compared to when adding a still wine (less tannins in my opinion).”
Vinarstvo Rebula – Br’stovska Penina Teran & ‘coq au vin’ – Pairing tasting notes: “The flavours from the Penina Teran intensify and show a much deeper expression of dark stoned fruits initially then gradually fade to allow the sweeter savoury flavours to appear with a fresh cleansed palate feel at the close.“
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.