Cooking With Wine
When a recipe calls for half a cup of wine, what should you do with the rest of the bottle if you don't want to drink it with your meal? Colin Alevras, chef and owner of the Tasting Room in New York City and author of the recipes that follow, extends the life of his opened wines by limiting their exposure to air: He transfers both whites and reds to small, clean containerspreferably glass or plastic water bottlesthen seals them and stores them in the fridge. Sometimes Alevras also uses Private Preserve, an aerosol that replaces the air in half-empty bottles with inert gases ($10; 707-252-4258). Stored either way, these wines remain vibrant enough to drink for up to four days; you can cook with them for up to a week.
Wine can taste sweet, sour, bitter, even salty. Now researchers are adding a fifth taste to the canon: umami. Umami is often described as a meaty flavor and is particularly strong in aged or fermented products, like cheese and wine. When you cook with wine, the umami becomes more intense, making the other ingredients in a dish even more delicious. "It's the difference between a simple grilled steak and a beef stew simmered with red wine," says chef Colin Alevras. "The stew is just more savory."
Wine & Health
When it comes to protecting the heart, rednot whitewine has always been the hero. But last December, researchers at the Université de Montpellier in France announced that they had created an experimental Chardonnay as beneficial as a Cabernet or Merlot. More than 4,000 cases were made at the Domaines Virginie in Languedoc-Roussillon using red-wine production techniques: The grapes were fermented with their skins and seeds at relatively high temperatures, which quadrupled the wine's antioxidant-rich tannins and made it taste more like a red than like a white. Paradoxe Blanc was released as a 1999 vintage in Europe and Japan, and Domaines Virginie plans to sell it in the United States next year. The wine is named after the so-called French Paradox, the fact that the French have a remarkably low rate of heart disease despite their rich dietpossibly because of all the red wine they drink.