BERKELEY (KCBS) – Here’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to add a little splash to a wine that’s lacking, or cook with a wine that’s past its prime.
When it comes to mixing wines, I would never hesitate to mix two if I feel they tasted better together, or if I simply prefer the combined flavor. My wife and I were at a fundraising dinner recently that had a red wine and a white wine at the table. The red still had a harsh edge, so I raised some eyebrows when I splashed a bit of the white into my glass along with it. Sure, I got some looks, but by golly, the wine tasted a lot better.
At home sometimes, I’ll open a bottle of a really old wine at home where, doggone it, it’s lost that wonderful punch, but there’s still an intriguing complexity of age. So I’ll add maybe a teaspoon of a very fresh young wine, just to provide a little bit of fresh fruit. The mixture still has all the complexity of that old wine.
When it comes to using wine for cooking, I disagree with the many articles that advise never to cook with a wine you wouldn’t want to drink. Many recipes call for sherry, which, if you stop to think about it, is basically an oxidized white wine. So, I keep a bottle of white wine that’s a little bit over the hill at the side of the counter right next to the stove. Instead of adding a splash of water when the sauce is getting too thick, I’ll pour in a splash of that wine. It adds a little bit of flavor. It adds a little bit of acidity, and it sure does a lot better for the sauce than putting in some water.
So don’t be afraid, and don’t worry about those silly rules. Do it so that you enjoy it.
Narsai David is the KCBS Food and Wine Editor. He has been a successful restaurateur, chef, TV host, and columnist in the Bay Area spanning four decades. You can hear him Saturdays at 10:53 a.m., 12:53 p.m. and 4:53 p.m., and at 2:53 a.m. Sunday on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.