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I usually use wine in my tomato sauces, which are usually slowly simmered on the lowest heat setting. I'd really like to make this recipe from The Pioneer Woman blog. However, I'm concerned about boiling the wine, especially over direct heat. Will it ruin the flavor? Is there any difference in quality/taste by heating to a boil using low heat vs high heat?

Update:

This article on The Academic Wino website gives some good data but still doesn't address intentionally heating the wine to a boiling temperature. To the current commenters, it is my thought that the pan deglazes rapidly and by the time you've poured the liquid, the pan temperature has dropped substantially. Even still, the fact that wine is used at high heat doesn't mean that it doesn't experience ill effects from that exposure.

I'm really looking more for the Alton Brown nitty gritty science of what, if anything, happens to the wine when it hits high cooking temps.

As a side note, the recipe was out of this world good, and I did in fact boil the wine I used.

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    I'm not sure how that Academic Wino article really applies at all. That article describes what happens to wine left at higher-than-recommended temperatures for 1-3 weeks. I wouldn't want to eat a steak that'd been treated that way for several weeks but I'd certainly want to eat a steak that was quickly cooked at high heat over the course of a few minutes. – Catija Feb 23 '15 at 7:43
  • By the way, I looked at that recipe and it looks perfect. I am going to try this weekend. – Escoce Feb 23 '15 at 17:35
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De-Glazing a pan with liquid (including wine) to make a sauce is a very common technique. It involves boiling the liquid to remove browned bits of food from the pan.

De-Glazing Instructions

This technique has been used for years and it seems move severe than what the recipe you mentioned is doing so I don't think you have anything to worry about.

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Personally I cook my wine off as quickly as possible i.e de-glazing the pan. Sometimes it boils so quick it ignites. Setting fire to all the hair on my arms (happened yesterday at work).

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My stew is tomato and red wine based. The stew wouldn't be the same without the wine being the principle fluid component, and no the stew doesn't taste like wine at all when it's done. It gives it a complex fruity/floral quality and helps soften the meat. The stew is cooked at simmering for 2-1/2 hours.

If the recipe calls for boiling the wine, then do it because the effect on the wine is as intended. It's not meant to be fresh wine, it's meant to be cooked.

So what happens. Well as a winemaker, heat is your enemy...UNLESS you are making a port or Madeira wine, which undergo intentional slow cooking to mimic what used to happen shipboard to wines that were being transported around the Mediterranean. It give the wines a bit more richer fruit flavor, a touch of carmelization, and reduction. If you want to know what your wine tastes like after being cooked go buy a bottle of port, madiera and old sherry wines and give them a taste, those are your three approximations of what cooked wines taste like depending on starting fruit and process. It will have a thick rich fruity flavor.

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