Wine is pretty dang delicious on its own, but you can also use it to add flavour to many dishes, from "drunken" pasta to sauces and stews. You might think you can grab any wine and toss it into a dish, but you should put a little more thought into it before grabbing any bottle you have.
Image from m0les.
Firstly, don't switch between red and white if a recipe calls for one or the other. Red is more tannic than white, which means it gets bitter faster as it reduces, so you'll actually get a huge taste difference if you swap red and white wine. Keep the red wine to a 50 per cent reduction or less to avoid bitterness. Besides that, Bon Appetit lays out some other things to pay attention to when cooking with wine:
- Price doesn't matter. Since you're changing the flavours a bit by cooking the wine, it makes little difference if you use a $7 bottle or a $70 bottle, so you should probably save the expensive stuff for drinking.
- Choose a wine you like to drink. You won't use the whole bottle to cook, so pick something you like to drink and pour yourself a glass or two! If you don't have a strong preference, merlot works well for just about any recipe that calls for red wine and sauvignon blanc is a good choice for white.
- Skip cooking wine. It can often have salt or preservatives that can affect your dish, plus since you're cooking off the alcohol anyway, you don't really need cooking wine (which usually has the alcohol removed).
You can use wine that's already been opened, but it shouldn't be too old since that can start to change the taste, which will change how your dish's flavours turn out.