Red Wine Gives Basic Grilled Cheese An Explosion Of Flavor

It is no surprise that the grilled cheese sandwich is so popular. With a crisp, golden exterior and a warm, gooey center, it's a dish that was designed to please. Another great benefit of grilled cheese is its customizability. You can use any type of bread and any type of cheese, not to mention flavorful fillings that make the sandwich uniquely yours. If you're looking for a new way to elevate your grilled cheese, we have an unusual recommendation worth trying: red wine.

Adding wine to a sandwich may seem odd, but wine and cheese have been a winning combination for hundreds of years. This is not only a matter of culture but also of science. A 2012 study published by Current Biology demonstrated that pairing two items with drastically different flavor profiles can improve the enjoyment of both. In the case of wine and cheese, the acidity of the wine cuts through the creaminess of the cheese, while the savory taste of the cheese tempers the bitterness of the wine. In short, adding red wine to your grilled cheese sandwich is scientifically proven to make it taste better.

How to incorporate wine into your grilled cheese

There are many ways to bring the benefits of red wine to your sandwich depending on how much you would like to alter the flavor and texture. For maximum punch, we recommend cooking your wine of choice down into a saucy red wine reduction, which you can then spread directly onto the bread or dip your sandwich in. For an approach that adds a bit of crunch, whip up a batch of red wine caramelized onions to layer alongside the cheese. Finally, if you prefer just a hint of red wine tang, you can opt for a cheese that is already infused with red wine, such as Drunken Goat or Port Wine Derby.

Contrary to popular belief, the wine you select to cook with does matter since it retains much of the nuance of its flavors. As such, be sure to select a proper wine and cheese pairing. For cheddar lovers, we recommend using a bold, fruit-heavy wine like cabernet sauvignon as it will stand up to the strong flavors in the aged cheese. Stretchy mozzarella fans will do well with a light, citrusy rosé, while those using Monterey jack or American cheese should seek out a simple zinfandel.