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Dear Dr. Vinny,
When cooking a pot roast where the recipe calls for red wine, does the quality, type of wine (Cabernet or Syrah etc.) or vintage matter? Will the meat taste better with Opus One vs. a bottle of Yellow Tail Cab?
—Jesse R., Spring, Texas
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.
When the alcohol evaporates from wine, all that's left is the flavor, so I usually go for fruity wines (like Syrahs and Zinfandels), and there are plenty of them in the affordable range. And don't grab for a bottle that's been sitting in your fridge or on the counter for a couple of weeks; oxidized wines do little to help the flavor of your dish.
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