Once open, an expensive bottle of wine begs to be drunk - beyond a couple of days, your pinot noir morphs into pinot blah. But just because it can't be drunk doesn't mean a turned wine shouldn't end up in your stomach, says executive chef Paolo Monti of Gaia Ristorante in the Grand Millennium Plaza, Sheung Wan. 'Cooking with wine ... is a part of growing up in Italy. My grandmother kept an old wine bottle under the sink, and each time we had leftover drink, she'd add that to it ... It was like a 'master' vinegar. Grandma used to cook and make salad dressings with it. 'In my kitchen, deglazing pans with red or white wine is common. The simplest example would be scaloppini di vitello. A thin, lightly floured piece of veal is sauteed on both sides then a splash of white wine in the pan will start the process of making a simple sauce by releasing the flavour stuck to the bottom. 'The right wine often adds its own nuances to complement the ingredient ... seafood and quick cooking like pan-frying would benefit from a fresh, white wine. Darker, heavier meats can take deeper, older reds. 'We use about one ounce [25ml] of wine per serving during heated cooking. Most of the alcohol will have been cooked away - we just want the added flavour and acidity. Desserts are a different story: the wines and liqueurs are put in at the end and there is little to no heating - which means the alcohol is retained.'