The classic Spaghetti Bolognese recipe adds red wine right at the beginning to the fried minced beef until its all absorbed with little liquid remaining. In theory, this makes sense to me in enhancing the flavour of the beef, yet I can't taste any difference: it still tastes 100% beefy to me. On the other hand, it does add a red-wine flavour to the sauce if its added at the end into the whole simmering mixture. Yet the recipe also adds beef stock to the simmering mixture which then clashes with the red wine, so its purpose is confusing to me.

  • 8
    As Julia Child said: 'I love cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food.'
    – GdD
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 12:54
  • 4
    Did you taste the beef with and without wine reduction side by side? I bet you'd taste the difference then. Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 14:31
  • The beef stock you are using might not be the stock the recipe intended, and might be overpowering the red wine impression. Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


In general, when meat or vegetables are fried in hot fat, sugar and amino acid particles are formed. To capture this roasted aroma caused by this reaction (called Maillard reaction), you pour water or wine over your beef. So the main reason for deglazing is to capture this special taste of "roast". The reason why you add the wine directly after frying i.e. to deglaze is that you wanna keep the good aroma of the wine but get rid of the alcoholic taste. When you add the wine directly or at the end, the alcohol tastes strong and the wine is the dominant flavour of the dish.

I think the solution/ trick to solve the flavour problem you describe, is to add the wine in small batches rather than "pouring it over /extinguish the minced beef". For Bolognese, I would add a small amount of wine, let it boil down and "sizzle" and repeat this 3-4 times. This should help to preserve a stronger wine flavour.

But at the end of the day taste is subjective and if you would like wine to be the dominant flavour of the dish, you can always add it after. I personally can also recommend using red wine vinegar instead of red wine, if you like it tangier. But that's a question of personal taste.

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