Cheesy, crunchy, gooey, and delicious Wine Grilled Cheese – the perfect sourdough grilled cheese with a red wine reduction good enough to drink!
This post is sponsored by Visit California. All opinions are my own.
Delicious crispy crunchy sourdough bread with a blend of delicious melted California cheeses, all topped with a crave-able red wine glaze… this Wine Grilled Cheese recipe is the ultimate night in recipe!
If you love grilled cheese, and you love wine – it’s time to bring the two together.
This recipe brings together some of my favorite California ingredients – to help the good times last when I’m home from vacationing in the golden state.
We’re making this ultimate grilled cheese with San Fransisco style sourdough bread, California cheeses (California is one of the US’s major dairy producers), and California Pinot Noir for the ultimate grilled cheese – and share some of my favorite California vacation ideas.
What Type of Cheese For Grilled Cheese
This grilled cheese mixes different types of cheeses for a delicious explosion of creamy cheesy flavor.
I’m listing my favorite options for this sandwich below – I personally like to add 2 hard cheeses and 1 soft cheese, but you can come up with your own perfect blend!
I personally prefer using shredded cheeses in a grilled cheese sandwich – I find it helps the cheese melt faster and more easily – but that is up to you.
If adding feta or blue cheese, using shredded cheese and mixing in with feta or blue cheese helps the cheeses incorporate into the melted cheeses much better than using sliced cheese.
Soft Cheeses For Grilled Cheese
Feta (must be blended with another cheese)
Blue Cheese (must be blended with another cheese)
Semi-Hard Cheeses For Grilled Cheese
What Cheeses to Avoid
Finally, while we LOVE pepper jack and American cheese in grilled cheese, we don’t love the flavors when paired with a savory wine sauce.
While you can find a lot of wiggle room in the cheeses above, try to stay away from flavored cheeses like smoked, dill, or fruit cheeses unless you know the flavor will pair well with your wine.
What Bread For Grilled Cheese
For grilled cheese, I really like thicker slices of bread that have a nice, toothy bite.
I also prefer bread that adds flavor instead of overpowering cheese – and I find the tangy sour notes in a sourdough pairs perfectly with rich, melted salty creamy cheese.
Sourdough also always makes me think of visiting one of our favorite cities – San Fransisco!
I try to pick sourdough that is slightly thicker cut, since I try to press down my grilled cheese in the pan, compressing the bread as it cooks.
You can pick whatever slice thickness you love, this recipe tastes great with anything!
My family and I love San Fransisco – my husband and I try to go often for couples trips (where we like to focus on all things wine, seafood, art, and finding new coffee shops) – and my kids love the city for the nearby hikes, baseball, Fisherman’s Wharf – and tons of sourdough!
San Fransisco is also the gateway to Napa and Sonoma Counties for many visitors, making sourdough a perfect local pair for great California red wines!
How To Make Red Wine Sauce
First off, to make a red wine sauce, you’ll want a wine you actually like the taste of so you’ll like the taste of the sauce for your grilled cheese (so you can sip alongside, too!), but not your most expensive bottle of wine.
Many people think that a red wine sauce is hard to make – but its actually incredibly easy!
This sauce is great in part because it’s incredibly versatile.
You can strain out the shallots for a smooth sauce, stir in a cornstarch slurry for a velvety sauce, or make a sauce with bits of shallots and thyme for a rustic au jus style dipping sauce.
How To Thicken Red Wine Sauce
To make your sauce extra thick (I like mine more like a glaze than a sauce), you can add a cornstarch slurry.
If you don’t add the slurry, it will look thinner than the pictures here, but will taste the same.
Add 1 tbsp cornstarch to a bowl and combine with 2 parts warm water. Whisk well to combine until a sslurry forms.
Add slurry into sauce by whisking vigorously.
Let sauce boil to thicken, remove from heat, serve.
Sweet C’s + Visit California
Im outlining some of my favorite California vacations below – California is full of amazing adventures just waiting for you to explore!
Wine Grilled Cheese Recipe
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Easy rich and creamy grilled cheese with a delicious red wine glaze.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot, very finely diced
- 1 1/2 cup pinot noir wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp cornstarch (optional, to thicken)
- 2 tbsp warm water (optional, for thickening)
- 2 tbsp mayonnaise (optional, for crunchy bread)
- 2 slices thick sourdough bread
- 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded muenster cheese
For the sauce:
Combine wine, shallots, tomato paste, stock, and thyme in a pan over medium-high heat.
Bring to a boil.
Cook until reduced about half and reduction no longer smells overly alcoholic.
Strain the wine and stock mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids (optional - if you leave shallots in there will be some texture, and sauce won't be smooth, but its great for dipping.)
Whisk in 5 teaspoons butter, 1 teaspoon at a time, stirring until butter melts.
In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch with warm water to create a slurry. (optional, to thicken sauce).
Add slurry to sauce by bringing to a boil and whisking in vigorously.
When sauce has thickened and reduced, it is ready to serve.
For the grilled cheese:
Shred cheeses and add to a bowl, toss together to mix well.
Generously slather one side of each slice of bread with mayonnaise.
Add one slice, mayonnaise side down, in a cold pan on the stove.
Layer cheese on top of bread and top with second slice, mayonnaise side up (the mayonnaise helps the bread crisp, so you want it facing out so it can cook off and crisp up.)
Turn heat on to medium, and let cheese start to melt as pan heats up, about 5 minutes.
When cheese has just started melting, and the bottom side is golden brown, flip to other side and cook another 5 minutes.
Watch to make sure pan doesn't get too hot.
Flip sandwich occasionally until cheese is soft and melted.
When grilled cheese has melted, remove from pan and slice in half.
Spoon red wine sauce over sandwich or serve alongside in a bowl for dipping.
Amount Per Serving Calories 1046Total Fat 65gSaturated Fat 28gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 33gCholesterol 122mgSodium 1678mgCarbohydrates 48gFiber 3gSugar 6gProtein 37g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.
Sweet C’s Favorite Recipes
If you loved this grilled cheese, be sure to check out my other favorite recipes!
They are all quick, easy, and loaded with flavor!