When it comes to wine, there are rules. White goes with fish, red goes with beef, and champagne is appropriate for pretty much everything. And once you know the rules, it’s fun to break them—if you know how. In fact, there is a whole world of things you never knew you could do with wine. Life hacks, stealthy mid-week meal upgrades and healthy vacations are just a few items on the list. So order up a bottle of Beaujolais with your salmon and read on—your sommelier will be impressed. And for more great wine advice, don’t miss the 5 Best Light-Bodied Reds for Extending Your Summer.
You Can Punch up Your Red Sauce
Jarred spaghetti sauce won’t exactly transport you to Rome, but stirring in a simple white vino reduction will add layers of depth and freshness to your mass market marinara, says Ken Arnone, Certified Master Chef, WACS Global Master Chef. “Make a Marinara in the style of the fisherman by reducing 1 cups of white wine by for a standard 26-ounce jar. You can even toss in a variety of seafood, like shrimp, calamari, or clams. The wine reduction increases the flavor and the acidity brightens everything.”
You Can Drink Red with Fish
“Tannins typically exist in red wines but not white, and work wonders with protein and fat,” says Arthur Hom, sommelier at Sepia in Chicago. “Heavier fish, such as tuna or salmon, and fatty preparations, like cheese or butter, are ripe for red wine pairing. Fish isn’t as rich as red meat, so stay away from big reds that are heavily oaked or extremely tannic.” “For an incredible meal, pair a grilled Sturgeon, Brussel Sprouts, Chanterelle, and red wine sauce with a 2016 Vartsikhe Marani Aleksandrouli, Racha-Lechkhumi, from the country of Georgia. It’s something a little different and a perfect vehicle for the fish.”
You Can Add to Your Meat Loaf
“A simple reduction made with red wine is a major flavor enhancer for chopped meat. Blow up your lamb burger with red wine, goat cheese, and chopped mint,” says Ken Arnone. “Or add it to beef burgers with sauteéd mushrooms for a punch. Reduce wine by 3/4 and chill. Combine with burgers or any chopped meat dish. For a quicker fix, add a touch of raw red wine to meatloaf, meatballs, or tacos. Don’t put raw wine in burgers, the alcohol probably won’t cook out in time.”
Pro tip: A wine reduction will keep in the fridge for at least two weeks in an airtight container, so you can keep it around to toss into midweek meals.
You Can Make the World’s Sexiest Champagne Cocktail: the French 75
“When a guy orders this classic for his date at my bar, I know he means business,” says Steven Gonzalez, bartender at The Living Room in the Park Hyatt Hotel, New York. “It’s pure sophistication in a glass, and it’s a very simple cocktail that is sure to impress.” Here’s how to make it:
- 1 oz gin
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 3/4 simple syrup
- Brut, or dry Champagne like Perrier-Jouet or G.H Mumm
Directions: Fill a shaker halfway with ice and combine all ingredients except the Champagne. Shake and strain into a flute, and top with Champagne.
You Can Use it to Make Money
Purists hate bringing big business into their beloved vineyards, but like it or hate it, gambling on wine futures is a growing trend that’s here to stay. The financially minded see bargains to be had by purchasing en primeurs on future vintages of rare and pricey juice, in hopes the market price rises when the wine is released. At press time, Beaurdaux’s 2016 Chateau Mouton Rothschild was trading at $569 per bottle, and Cheval Blanc was $700, which arrives to the hopefully lucky buyer after aging in November, 2019. (https://www.liv-ex.com/staticPageContent.do?pageKey=About_Liv-ex)
You Can Use it As a Face Cleanser
A Cabernet mud wrap in Napa Valley or a Pinotage vino-bath in South Africa is on the menu at luxury spas around the wine countries of the world, who are devoted to the healing properties of vinotherapy. While well-pampered devotees swear by the antioxidants and reservatrol found in red wine, the experts are more cautiously optimistic. “The FDA doesn’t require they prove this stuff works, they just make you prove its safe,” says Dr. Tyler Hollmig, director of Laser and Aesthetic Dermatology at Stanford Health Care in Northern California. “But if people swear by it and it makes them feel good, then why not?”
You Can Use the Bubbles for Cooking
“You don’t always associate sparkling wine with cooking, but Prosecco is inexpensive, low in alcohol and adds a nutty, slightly sweet finish to a dishes from dishes from seafood to dessert.,” says Arnone. “Simply find your favorite white wine risotto recipe and use prosecco in lieu of the typical white, and enjoy what’s left of your bottle as you cook. Then pop another.” And don’t worry, the carbonation goes away.”
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