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What is a "hearty red wine" in cooking?

I am making braised lamb shanks & the recipe calls for a hearty red wine. I'm not a red wine drinker, so I'm not sure what that means. Any suggestions?

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  1. Any cabernet sauvignon should do it.

    1. A Carlo Rossi burgundy is perfectly fine for the lamb shanks. I used that just last week when making a Jasques Pepin recipe and the outcome was perfect....

        1. I realize many people identify "hearty red wine" as Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are many reasons NOT to cook with that wine. Tannins, for #1. When you cook with wine, it reduces. As the wine reduces, so do the tannins, and the results in your recipe can be quite distasteful. Unless you're really into "mouth-puckering" as a positive quality in your food. ;(

          Better choices are less tannic wines, such as Beaujolais (or other Gamay), Cotes du Rhone, Syrah/Shiraz. Pinot Noir is good to cook with, too, but most are (imho) too expensive for that.

          Many restaurant chefs keep box wines in their walkins to use in cooking. Inexpensive wines are not your enemy when cooking. They work just fine.

          3 Replies
          1. re: ChefJune

            About the only time that I will cook with a CS, is when I am doing burgers, or marinading a tenderloin, and have a bottle open, just waiting.

            Otherwise, Zins come first, and a good Merlot (depending on other aspects of the dish) are usually a second choice.

            Except for certain recipes, I seldom reach for a PN, but then most of mine are in the US $ 50- 300 range, and I want to save every last bit for drinking, but that's just me.

            As for the box wines, I can see that in an active, commercial kitchen. However, in my case, I like to sip a bit, WHILE cooking, and have just not found a BiaB wine, that does much for me. Remember, I am NOT in a commercial kitchen, not doing meals for more than about six (above, and I cater usually) and also "drinking on the job... "

            Hunt

            1. re: Bill Hunt

              , I seldom reach for a PN, but then most of mine are in the US $ 50- 300 range, and I want to save every last bit for drinking, but that's just me.>

              Hunt, I would NEVER cook with a PN in that category!

              1. re: ChefJune

                I never expected that you would.

                What I might need to do is look at a few of my Acacia PN's, which have been hidden in the back of my cellar. They ARE in at a much lower level, and, if still good (gotta' dig for them), will give some a try, with the right dish. That is about the only less-expensive PN's that I have around. Have more Zins at the lower price-points.

                Hunt

          2. I use a modestly priced blended French wine, usually Rhone.