What’s the best wine with a Bonfire Night wine? | wine

IFireworks weekend, we are firmly in the season for reflection. As with everything wine related, this tends to bring some sniffles, often along the lines of: “Why don’t you drink a decent glass of red?” But I have to admit that I actually like the stuff. After all, as I said last week, it’s all about higgy At this time of year.

As when using wine in other cooking, there are a few basic guidelines, my first tip is to use one you’ll actually be willing to drink straight away, although this is also controversial. I’ve missed out on the number of people who say it’s okay to cook with corky wine, and they’re supposed to think about it, but why risk it when other ingredients come at a cost? Definitely not a bad cork anyway. If no one else in the family can figure it out, I think you might get away with it, but I still wouldn’t risk it. Don’t use the sediment of a bottle you’ve opened for two weeks, or an old wine that you’ve definitely missed.

So what kind of wine will work? Maybe the kind you’d expect: big, bold, mature red. It’s just a matter of finding them at the right price – wines with a higher alcohol content that make a good wine or rich sauce tend to be more expensive. Personally, I think Montepulciano d’Abruzzo works really well, but also look for deals on Spanish garnacha, malbec, shiraz, zinfandel, and maybe even cheap rioja. Tesco has won the award for the cheapest drinkable red right now with its 2021 Casa Maña Tempranillo at £3.79 (11%), though, as with other bright reds, you may need to top it up with a dash of port or brandy – The operative word, because I don’t think thawed wine should be deadly: the idea is to make people feel warm and happy, not to make them legless.

The other thing to remember is to make sure the wine doesn’t boil, or else the alcohol will evaporate, emphasizing the wine’s bitterness rather than its sweetness. It is best to bring it to a little below the boiling point, remove from the heat for half an hour so that the flavors infuse, and then gently heat it again, leaving it on the lowest temperature possible so that the liquid is barely volatile.

You can also consider cider, which is just as good as wine and cheaper too, although adding a splash of apple spirit like pomo or calvados will up your thinking game.

Five kinds of wine to cook with, check out…or even drink it straight

Villa Verde Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2021 5.19 pounds Morrisons, 13%. Montepulciano is a great place for wine. Good with pizza too.

Sainsbury’s Turla Rioja House £5, 13%. A marginal drink recommendation as it is a bit light, but good for wine or stews.

Malbec Chilean Private Reserve 2021 £4.99 Lidl, 13.5%. Decent basic Malbec (if you want one to drink, swap up to 14% for Lidl’s Uco Valley Malbec at £5.99).

Cave de Rocher Malbec County Toulouse 2020 £5 Tesco, 13%. Another solid Malbec, this time from southwest France. They look more expensive than they are, which is always a plus.

Asda Extra Special Zinfandel 2020 £6 (shown), 14.5%. A large block of rich bramble fruit. It’s almost too good to think (although it would be perfect); Great wine for a Bonfire Night pepper or cheese board.

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