The Absolute Best Red Wine To Use In Your Beef Stew, According To An Expert

Although it's not a necessity for beef stew, a good bottle of vino brings depth to the dish. You may add a splash of any kind you have on deck, but every type of red wine has its own special flair, and some are better for cooking than others. We tapped an expert so that you can pick the absolute best red wine for your beef stew.

Old fashioned beef stew is hearty and rich with French origins — Chef Kieron Hales of Cornman Farms believes the wine that's best for the dish should be the same. "For me and my family, it is always a good Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It really lands with all the right flavors ... and it adds great depth and complexity," Hales explains. The medium-bodied wine leans sweet and jammy, with tasting notes of berries, plums, and leather that are rounded out with thyme and cloves. While the beef stew gets a touch of sweetness from the fruits, the deeper notes give the dish that classic robust taste it's known for.

When cooking with wine, it's commonplace to opt for a slightly cheaper bottle. However, Hales thinks you should splurge a little if you can. He said, "For me, this is a special, big deal dish. You really can taste the love and time and thus, a good bottle of wine to cook with and one to have with [the stew] is a must for us."

What aromatics pair well with the wine?

Alliums like garlic and onion are always a must for beef stew, as well as veggies like carrots and potatoes. When it comes down to seasonings, however, you can pick them by looking at the tasting notes of your wine. In Clos St. Antonin 2019 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a Hales-approved bottle, the wine has tasting notes of blueberry, black cherry, rose petals, and is rounded out with rich spices. An earthy, sweet spice like cloves would make a great addition to the beef stew, as well as a woodsy, citrusy herb like thyme.

For E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape, another wine Hales suggests, the tasting notes are mature plums, hazelnuts, and red fruits that give the vino a full-bodied taste. The sweet, nutty flavors make the wine the perfect addition to cinnamon apple cider beef stew, with the warm, spicy aromatic bringing out the earthiness from the tasting notes. As for when to add the wine, Hale likes to pour it in right after putting the beef in the pot. "The best time to add the wine would be after you have cooked down the vegetables and cooked out the garlic and herbs," he says.

Giving the Châteauneuf-du-Pape time to work its magic is when you get the most flavor out of it. According to Hales, cooking down the wine brings out the delicious stone fruit notes. He also suggests marinating the beef in the wine at least a day before cooking to infuse it with all the rich nuances.