Log In / Join Now

Ask Dr. Vinny

Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is it appropriate to cook with "corked" or otherwise spoiled wine?

—Alex, Elkhart, Ind.

Dear Alex,

When cooking with wine, I follow a couple of guidelines. First off, I tend to cook with either exactly what I'm drinking with the meal (if it's only a splash or two), or with something in a similar vein so that the flavors will complement each other. Secondly, I only cook with wine that I would drink; cooking doesn't magically improve the quality of a wine.

This means I avoid oxidized wines, wines afflicted by "cork taint" (the chemical compound TCA, or 2,4,6-trichloroanisole) or otherwise flawed wines. I've heard some people say that that some of these flaws break down with heat, or combine to fat molecules and become unnoticeable. But why risk it? Often when cooking with wine, the alcohol evaporates and all that's left is the essence of the wine's flavor, so I usually go for fruitier wines, and there are plenty of affordable options out there.

—Dr. Vinny

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.