Cooking with wine can be an enhancement to good food.
When wine is heated, the alcoholic content as well as sulfites disappear, leaving only the essence and imparting the subtle flavor of the wine.
Use only wines in your cooking that you would drink. Never use a wine that you would not drink. If your do not like the taste of a wine, you will not like the dish you choose to use it in.
I do not recommend using the so-called “cooking wines” sold at grocery stores. These wines are usually salty and include other additives that my affect the taste of your dish. The process of cooking will bring out the worst in an inferior wine.
An expensive wine is not necessary. However, a cheap wine will not bring out the best characteristics of your dish. A good quality wine, that you enjoy, will provide the same flavor to a dish as a premium wine. Save the premium wine to serve with the meal.
Wine has three main uses in the kitchen. It should be used as a marinade ingredient, as a cooking liquid, and as a flavoring in a finished dish. The function of wine in cooking is to intensify, enhance and accent the flavor and aroma of food. Do not use it to mask the flavor of what you are cooking but rather to fortify it. Be careful in the amount of wine used when cooking. Too little wine is inconsequential and too much will be overpowering.
The alcohol in the wine evaporates while the food is cooking, and only the flavor remains. Boiling down wine concentrates the flavor, including acidity and sweetness.
As a general rule, wine should not be added to a dish just before serving. The wine should simmer with the food, to enhance the flavor of the dish. If added late in the preparation, it could leave a harsh quality and overwhelm the flavor of the dish. As the wine cooks, it reduces and adds flavor. A wine needs time to impart its flavor in your dish. Wait 10 minutes or more to taste before adding more wine.
Wine does not belong in every dish. Only use wine with your cooking when it has something to contribute to the finished dish.