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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Cooking with wine adds flavor, complexity to dishes – and vino is available for pickup

UPDATED: Tue., March 24, 2020

Prosecco is poured into a glass during a wine tasting at the Case Paolin farm in Volpago del Montello, Italy, on Oct. 15, 2018. (Luca Bruno / AP)
Prosecco is poured into a glass during a wine tasting at the Case Paolin farm in Volpago del Montello, Italy, on Oct. 15, 2018. (Luca Bruno / AP)
By Michael Allen For The Spokesman-Review

Editor’s note: With Gov. Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order at 5:30 p.m. today, will Wednesday be the last day for wine pickups? If so, call the wineries to double-check.

One of the great joys of cooking is cooking with wine. Aside from indulging while on your culinary adventure, it adds subtle flavor and complexity to your dishes. You don’t have to be a master chef to cook with wine, either. You just need to know a few of the basics.

Here are a few guidelines to use as you explore cooking with wine:

For starters, use a bottle of wine you enjoy but not necessarily an expensive bottle. Since you will be cooking with it, some of the delicate flavors will be lost, so keep that expensive bottle for savoring.

Generally speaking, when you add wine, much of the alcohol cooks off, some of the water evaporates and tannic properties are reduced, which allows the fruit component to be more pronounced.

Which type of wine to pair with your meal and to cook with depends on the dish you are making. The wine you select should have the same flavor profile as the food you are preparing. For example, red wines pair best with bold foods such as sauces, braises and meats.

The most common reds to cook with include cabernet sauvignon and syrah, which will pair well with beef, lamb and most any smoked meat. Pinot noir and zinfandel are lighter reds and go well with chicken, pork and cured meats.

Long cooking sauces such as tomato, stews and braises require you add the wine early in the cooking process. After browning the meat and any ingredients that need an early start, add the wine along with your other liquids, and start a slow simmer.

Some chefs add a little wine at the end of the cooking process. I prefer not to – I think for the best results, the alcohol in the wine should be cooked off.

White wines tend to pair better with lighter-profile foods such as cream sauces, poultry and seafood. Sauvignon blanc and chardonnay pair well with chicken, pork, fish and crab.

If you are sautéing scallops, shrimp or vegetables, add the wine after the first searing but before it is cooked through. Pinot gris and riesling are fruitier whites that are not used as much in cooking, but they pair well with salads.

Pan sauces are the most common use of wine in cooking. Use the same pan you just cooked your meat in for the best results. Start by turning down the heat a little as the pan should be deglazed.

If the pan is too hot, your wine will evaporate, and that is not an acceptable outcome for wine. Once you have deglazed the pan, add in your other ingredients such as cream, stock, cheese, butter and spices. Stir frequently until it thickens up enough to coat a spoon.

Once you have put your pairing together and know how you’re going to cook it, here are a couple of other things to think about:

In general, pair the wine to the sauce if you are making one. The wine should be more acidic than the food, especially if it’s a meal with a lot of fat. The acid in the wine will help cleanse the palate between bites.

When in doubt about which wine to use with which dish, never be afraid to ask. Most of the wineries and specialty wine shops have staff whose love of vino stretches beyond the glass and into the kitchen.

Most local wineries are offering curbside pickup of wine right now, so pick some up and start cooking at home in this time of social distancing and quarantines. Saluté!

Options for wine pickup

Arbor Crest - Call for hours. 4705 N. Fruit Hill Road, Spokane Valley; (509) 927-9463;

Barrister Winery - Call for hours. Deliveries also are being made in the immediate Spokane area. Winery: 1213 W. Railroad Ave.; (509) 465-3591. Downtown tasting room: 203 N. Washington St., Suite 100; (509) 413-1090;

Cougar Crest - Hours are 12-5 p.m. Saturday. 8 N. Post St., Suite 6; (509) 241-3850;

Craftsman Cellars - Hours are 3-6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. 1194 W. Summit Parkway; (509) 413-2434;

Helix Wines - Call to make an appointment for curbside pickup. 824 W. Sprague Ave.; (509) 242-3190;

Latah Creek Wine Cellars - Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m, with 10% off all orders. 13030 E. Indiana Ave., Spokane Valley; (509) 255-9205;

Liberty Lake Wine Cellars - Hours are 1-4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. 23110 E. Knox Ave, Liberty Lake; (509) 255-9205;;

Maryhill Winery - Tasting room open for bottle and case sales. Noon-7 p.m. daily. 1303 W. Summit Parkway, Suite 100; (509) 443-3832;

Overbluff Cellars - Hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 304 W. Pacific Ave.; (509) 991-4781;

Renegade by MonteScarlatto - Open 2-6 p.m. for Wine Club pickup and bottle sales at 30% off. 822 W. Sprague Ave.; (509) 290-6583;

Robert Karl Cellars - Hours by appointment. 115 W. Pacific Ave.; (509) 939-6251;

Tempus Cellars - Spokane tasting room open 2-6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays for curbside pickup. Free case deliveries in Spokane and Spokane Valley by placing an order through or (509) 279-1576; 8 N. Post St., Suite 8;

Terra Blanca Winery - Offering dinners-to-go ready for pickup from 4-6 p.m. Curbside pickup also available. 926 W. Sprague Ave., Space 100; (509) 554-6062;

Townshend Cellar - Curbside pickup available. 8022 E. Greenbluff Road, Colbert; (509) 238-1400;

V du V - Hours are 3-6 p.m. Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. 12 S. Scott St.; (509) 499-4010; 

Winescape Winery - Hours are 4-6 p.m. Thursdays, 3-7 p.m. Fridays or by appointment. Weekly specials will be posted on Facebook and Instagram. 6011 E. 32nd Ave.; (509) 474-0150;  

Michael Allen is the former director of Spokane’s Cork District. Azaria Podplesky contributed to this report.

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