Thank you both, very much indeed. That was something new to learn, and quite a relief! Actually, with regard to my own faculties, since I don't drink and don't like to put alcohol in my mouth, it becomes difficult to judge anything about wines; I also do not like the taste and burn, so that confounds things further, about being able to judge even something that is about to spoil, unless it has become vinegary.
Someone once told me, vermouth is the only way to go when cooking with wine for day to day use because it does not spoil easily; and I did, just because I cook only very occasionally and then just to satisfy my curiosity. Then another person came along and declared, you are such an idiot! Vermouth, even the non-bitter sort, should never be employed. So I wondered why two admitted experts would differ so greatly. I am not going to spend $10-15/bottle of wine just to evaporate its alcohol away!!
I cringe when the real, expensive traditional mirin is thus de-alcoholized for the sake of its sugary fractions in good Japanese cooking as well! One is paying for the difficult brewing process that creates the alcohol, plus the tax on the same. Amazake makes for a similar if slightly less complex range of sweeteners, being rice starch broken down by microbes into simpler sugars [one half of the mirin process].
Anyway, thanks for clearing up this problem so neatly.
Edited by v. gautam, 07 March 2009 - 12:42 AM.