The Best Type Of Red Wine To Use For Mushroom Sauce, According To A Chef

pan of red wine mushroom sauce
pan of red wine mushroom sauce - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Mushrooms provide a beautiful base for sauces and stews due to their deep umami flavor and buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture after being cooked. Umami is the scientific word used to explain the savory mouthfeel of certain dishes. An easy way to break down the mushrooms and bring in a complex depth of flavor is by using a red wine. Kieron Hales, Chef and Co-Owner of Zingerman's Cornman Farms sat down with Tasting Table to share his opinions on how to use red wine in a mushroom sauce. Hales agrees that mushrooms and wine are an ideal pairing for a sauce because of their complementary umaminess, and the acidity of red wine.

"The wine adds fruit, spice, and earth notes, while the mushrooms, with their almost meaty flavor, create a great ground floor and base for a sauce," Hales explains. "Combined, the rich layered flavors of wine and mushrooms make for a very well-balanced, interesting, and complex sauce."

As for what kind of red wine you should choose for this sauce, Hales recommends Pinot Noir. "Pinot seems to have a natural affinity for mushrooms with its light-medium body and earthy notes," he adds. A good general rule is to cook with a wine you'd also drink. This means you don't want to choose a cheaper quality wine just because you're cooking with it. Choose a wine you enjoy drinking so it will give your sauce that same enjoyable flavor.

Read more: 26 Types Of Pasta Sauce Explained

Other Red Wines You Can Use In A Mushroom Sauce

red wine being poured
red wine being poured - Rostislav_Sedlacek/Shutterstock

Pinot Noir is Kieron Hales' wine of choice for this type of sauce, but you can experiment with other types of red wines to find which one you enjoy best. You can use Hales' reasoning for choosing a Pinot as a starting point for thinking of other kinds of red wines that would work. Look for reds that have a lighter body and earthy notes. Grenache is another good choice because it is a very food-compatible wine. The tasting notes of spices and earthy herbs pair well with the earthiness of the mushrooms. It commonly has fruit notes of cherries and berries, which give the meatiness of the mushrooms a lovely sweet juxtaposition.

Another good option is Zinfandel. This light-bodied red has a jammy, anise, smoky flavor to it. If you want to give your sauce a charred, almost burnt flavor, this wine is a great way to infuse that flavor without having to smoke or char anything. The bold essence of this wine means that as it cooks down, you won't lose the taste of the wine. Of course, this is all just a suggestion. You can try using any red wine to make your sauce and have fun seeing how different wines give you different flavors.

Read the original article on Tasting Table