Misconceptions about wine run rampant. Luckily, experienced “oenophiles” (a fancy word for those that love wine) have gathered enough experience to set the record straight. Skip “drinking the Kool-Aid.” Instead, explore some uncharted territory and try new varietals from many of the emerging wine regions to find your personal favorites. Watch as we debunk these wine myths!
Top 5 Wine Myths:
1. Corks are GOOD! Synthetic corks and screw cap closures are BAD! For years, there has been an ongoing debate about the best way to close wine bottles. The ceremonial act of opening a bottle with a cork and hearing the “pop” is obviously lost with a screw cap, but many vintners, including high-end producers in the United States, are choosing screw caps to maintain the integrity of their wine. Cheap “jug” wines typically used screw caps, so this method of bottle-stopping became synonymous with cheap swill. But nearly 10 years ago, many commercial winemakers in Australia and New Zealand began using screw caps, a trend has since spread throughout the U.S., with producers like Cupcake and the high-end Plumpjack Wineries using this form of closure for their premium wines. Why the change? Stelvin screw caps alleviate some of the issues associated with cork closures, such as the fact that corks can go bad and ruin the wine, and also because the cost is low (often just 50 cents per cork). Cork closures can produce Trichloroanisole (TCA), which can turn a once-great vintage into little more than vinegar. A 2005 Wine Spectator study found that 7 percent of wines with corks were tainted. What’s more, with a screw cap, you'll never have to search for your corkscrew again!
2. Opening the bottle of red wine and letting it breathe will enhance the taste. Baloney! Unless you aerate the wine or decant it into a wide bottom decanter that enables the surface to gain access to oxygen, opening a bottle and leaving it open for an hour will do nothing to enhance the wine.
3. Cheap wine is bad wine. This myth is phooey! Choose wine to suit your individual tastes. That’s not to say splurging on an expensive, high-quality bottle isn’t a great experience, but for everyday drinking, there are great finds under $10.
4. Sweet wines are for beginners, not a sophisticated palate. There is no validity to this belief at all. Again, it all depends on each individual’s palate. There are some incredible sweet wines currently on the market, including many sweet dessert varieties that are the perfect way to end a meal. Some of the top-selling options in this category include Moscato and various ice wines.
5. Serve red wine with meat and white with fish, ALWAYS. There is actually some truth to this belief because a big hearty Zinfandel may overpower your shellfish or delicate fish recipes. However, a light red, like a Pinot Noir or Bardolino, may be the perfect accompaniment to grilled salmon. Most veal and pork dishes can go well with red, white and even rose wines depending on how they are prepared and the sauces that are served.
The most important thing to remember is to choose the wines that you prefer. Attend some wine tastings to discover what you like and experiment with different pairings. It’s not only fun, but will help you discover your favorite wines and the dishes you like best with them. Before long, your friends will be asking you for your wine opinions!