Category Archives: Cooking with Wine

Wine 201 – Cooking with Wine: Marinating

See…this is the fourth installment of cooking with wine. There was no possible way to cover all of this in one post.

For those of you new to the cooking game, marinations have two purposes…tenderizing meats and adding flavors. I point you to a previous post on marinades. I will also re-iterate a point about Marinades I made in that post:

Kate’s Rule of Thumb #1:You should only use a marinade on a piece of meat that is either lacking in tenderness, lacking in taste, or both.

Keep that in mind when following the tips below.

  • – The better the wine, the better the taste of the food. Conversely, the lower quality of the wine, the better the chance your food will taste pretty strange. Choose your cooking wine accordingly (This is redundant is it not?).
  • – Use freshly opened wine. Wines opened two weeks or later should be looked upon with suspicion, as it probably has oxidized to the point of affecting the wine taste(See parenthetical above).
  • Use only ceramic or plastic dishes for marinades, as metal can re-act to the acidity in the wine, changing its flavor, often to its detriment.
  • Make sure that you turn the meat in the marinade at some point, to ensure adequate coverage.
  • The larger the piece of meat, the more time it will need to marinate.
  • Avoide marinating fish or shellfish in wine for longer than 90 minutes, as the acidity in the wine will actually cook the meat.
  • If you’re using a wine marinade that has been cooked beforehand, let it cool prior to using it, to avoid accidentally cooking the meat, even if only a little.

Wine and Vocabulary

Here’s an interesting piece in the Guardian, letting us know that you’ll have a better chance of remembering the taste of your wine if you just stop trying to say phrases like:

“Mmm. A little citrus. Maybe some strawberry. Mmm. Passion fruit. Mmm. Andah, there’s just, like, the faintest soupon of like, uh, asparagus and there’s an just a flutter of, like, alike a nutty Edam cheese.”

From the article:

“The test was simple. Everyone sampled two different wines. A while later, they sipped from a larger collection of wines, trying to identify which of those were the same as the original two wines. The experts did a pretty good job of it. The others also did an OK job, unless – unless! – they had tried, between the first and second tastings, to describe the first wines verbally.”

I’m curious then, on how one becomes an ‘expert’ in wine, if you don’t try to put words to the tastes you are experiencing? It’s an interesting theory, but color me a tad skeptical…but only a tad.

So simply enjoy your wine, rather than trying to define it. You’ll just end up hurting yourself.