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 Filed as : Featured WinemakersWine TipsWinemakersRecipes & Pairings

Juice to Jus

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  • Publish Date: Aug 13, 2009

Get home from work, take off your shoes, open up a bottle of wine and step into the kitchen. For those with a penchant for cooking, you know it’s nice to crack a bottle of somethin’ as you prepare your masterpiece.

Once the bottle is open, you may be tempted to throw a splash of vino in the pan (as many of the great chefs do), but here are some words from the wise to keep in mind if you do:

Splash What You Swish - Use wine you would drink--your dish will take on the qualities of the wine you use, particularly if it is added towards the end of the cooking process. Cooking wines on supermarket shelves tend to be harsh and unbalanced (either too salty or too sweet), and the acidity and astringency will only intensify with cooking. What you want is a balanced wine.

Get Sauced - First reduce wine, then add other ingredients to complete the sauce. Adding wine at the end is not recommended unless you want pure wine taste in the jus.

Everything in Moderation - Adding more wine than is called for is generally not a good idea, as the sauce’s balance could become disrupted. Therefore, measure accurately!

We're Not Talking Temperance - Alternatively, using less wine than is called for might be cause for disappointment. If a dish requires an entire bottle, all the liquid may be necessary to cook the meat and any less will probably alter the flavor, particularly with respect to acidity. Some acidity is good! It adds life to a dish.

Ice Cream on a Steak? - Salty foods and sweet wines don’t mix, so don’t cook with them! Chicken à la Sauternes…a questionable combo. Remember your pairings. A light fish in a heavy red wine will be lost and result in an unbalanced, overly acidic dish. Nobody wants that.

For more useful wine information, visit the Winecyclopedia.

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