The right wine added to your tomato sauce will make all the difference in its flavor. Adding wine to foods is similar to pairing wine with your foods. One tip to remember when considering what kind of wine to add to your food is to taste the wine first; if you do not like the wine to drink, you will not like it in your food. The perfect wine for your tomato sauce depends on your taste and the finishing flavor you want the wine to have.
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Most Cabernet Sauvignon wines have a dark and bold flavor which is perfect for adding to tomato sauces. Generally, these types of wines have rich fruity flavors such as blackberry or currant and a chocolate undertone as well, thus making the tomato sauce have a slight taste of sweetness. Choose a Cabernet Sauvignon that has a low residual sugar level and moderate tannins to pick just the right bottle to add to your sauce.
Pinot Noir wines are generally fresh and light, which means they do not always have the bold flavor of other red wines and are perfect for those who do not like red wines as much. Pinot Noirs, while light, are also very earthy in flavor and some even have a slight taste of leather. They have a higher residual sugar level than other red wines, on average, which means they will add more of a fruit flavor to your tomato sauce.
For a very robust tomato sauce, consider adding Sangiovese to the pot. Sangiovese has deep, bold flavors and a relatively high acidity level that will add a lot of flavor to the sauce. The best Sangiovese wines are those which are made in oak barrels as the oak adds a smoky and earthy flavor to the wine. Flavors usually found in this wine are blueberry and plum with a slight bitterness that will bring out the spices in the sauce. The best Sangiovese wines are from the Tuscany region of Italy.
Zinfandel wines generally have a deep red color and spicy or peppery flavors, which make them excellent wines to add to a thick tomato sauce. Usually, these wines have a hint of spice with a dark cherry flavor that will bring balance to an acidic dish such as tomato sauce. Sometimes bottle aged Zinfandels can have a very earthy or leather flavor and often pick up a strong alcohol taste when left to age too long. Consider Zinfandels that were bottled two to five years ago.
Among the red wines, Merlot is often found to be the easiest to drink as it generally holds a very smooth flavor with a variety of fruity undertones. Merlot makes great wine to add to tomato sauce because it often has many different fruit flavors in one bottle. Merlot is usually less acidic than other red wines so it is not going to bring out the boldness of the tomato sauce, but will be very smooth and flavorful.
Syrah wines are among the boldest of the reds and will add much rich flavor to a tomato sauce. Generally, these wines are high in alcohol content and acidity and have flavors of spice and black currant. Syrah will make your tomato sauce very dark and rich in flavor and add more acidity. For a lighter flavored Syrah, look for bottles which are lightly oak aged as sweet aromas such as vanilla tend to come out.