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Easy Red Wine Reduction Sauce Recipe for Wine Lovers

Red Wine Reduction Sauce Recipe

Difficulty: Easy, fun, and you can drink while you cook. Preparation: <5 minutes depending on how fast you can dice a shallot. Cook Time: 5-10 minutes.

A red wine reduction sauce is perhaps my favorite go-to sauce recipe. It’s easy to make, savory, and best of all it’s a great excuse to open a bottle of red wine and drink while I cook. Now, if you look online for red wine reduction recipes you’re going to find most focus on steak with little emphasis on the red wine. Below I’ll go into how to pick the right red wine and some alternative uses for a red wine reduction sauce. Bon Appétit!

Interested in making a white wine sauce instead?

Red Wine Reduction Sauce Video Overview

Picking the Right Red Wine

Old World Adds Herbaceous Earthiness

It’s more common to use an old world wine when making a red wine reduction sauce as they are less sweet and pair especially well with beef and mushrooms. (The elephant in the room being a mushroom red wine sauce for a Filet Mignon.) Old world wines to look for include Italian Sangiovese, Spanish Tempranillo, and most any southern French table wine. If this is your first attempt at making a red wine sauce, stick with old world. For those of you feeling more adventurous…

New World Adds Zesty Fruit

New world wines are big, bold, and fruity when reduced as a sauce. The higher alcohol will also break down into more sugar, making a sweeter sauce. These can work well over any dish that you want sweet and spicy such as pork, chicken, salad dressings, or even desserts. New world wine varietals include California Zinfandel, Argentinian Malbec, and Washington Syrah.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Ahh yes.. Good old Cabernet Sauvignon. This is an especially flexible wine varietal because it can bridge the gap between New World and Old World. You can make a sauce for pancakes if you pick a high alcohol fruit-bomb California Cabernet, add a little sugar and then reduce it enough. For savory, red, or tough meats use a peppery, smoky old world Cabernet. The important part when picking a Cabernet is alcohol level and complimentary flavor profile. Remember, higher alcohol will reduce to a sweeter sauce; and the more you reduce a sauce, the more alcohol breaks down into sugar.


  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • fresh rosemary sprig


  1. Sauté shallots, butter, and flour for 3 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Stir in red wine, vinegar and rosemary.
  3. Bring to a simmer and reduce by 1/2 volume.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately.

Recipe Variations

Get creative with your ingredients. Add mushrooms to the sauté, substitute a few dashes of mustard for balsamic vinegar, or maybe add chopped chives to the finished dish!

3 Uses for a Red Wine Sauce

Salad Dressing Try adding a little sugar and whisking in some olive oil to make a simple salad dressing. Toss into salad with some feta or gorgonzola to get a little cheese and wine pairing right in your salad!

Roasted Vegetables Chop up some vegetables, toss them in your red wine sauce and then drizzle olive oil over them. The alcohol will completely burn off and leave a delicious caramelized coating. Works especially well with onions, brussels sprouts, kale, and potatoes.

Sandwiches Marinate a few vegetables in the finished red wine sauce before putting them in your sandwich. Try it with eggplant, portobello mushrooms, or zucchini. Alternatively, just drizzle a little sauce over the lettuce.

Hey, I’m Madeline and I’m a wine geek. I want to help you pick out a wine for a red wine reduction sauce. You know, a lot of people freak out about the steak part. But I think red wine reduction sauces can go on just about anything, even ice cream. Today’s recipe isn’t a very ice cream friendly one. But the most exciting part of it is that you can maybe drink a little wine while you are making your sauce. So I picked out two wines, one is an old world wine, super old world. It’s from France, south of France; and one is a new world wine, it’s from Washington State. These are two very different wines that you might use for different styles of sauces. If I’m making a sauce with a lot of spices, a dish that I want to have a lot of spice characteristics, then I look for wines that maybe naturally exhibit spice like Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Grenache. If I want a wine to be very smooth and play into the dish with more fruit flavors, I might pick a Syrah or Merlot. All you need to make your wine reduction is a little bit of butter, a little flour, one shallot, some rosemary for spice, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 3/4 cup of the red wine you pick. Put the butter, flour, and shallots together and saute on medium/high heat for 3-5 minutes. Next add your balsamic vinegar, wine of choice, and rosemary, then reduce by one half. Check out the recipe below and you can see what we did. We need to make sure the wine tastes good.

About Justin Hammack

When I'm not drinking wine, I'm also.. a rails developer, vegetarian foodie, coffee addict, casual gamer, lover of cult movies, driver of insane turbo-2.0L ... in Seattle.

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