Wine Importer | Wine List Consultant | Speaker
Over the year or so, thanks to Covid- 19, I've had the privilege of hosting a number of virtual wine events for individuals and corporate entities. It was a load of fun but one thing I found quite common were the amount of myths out there about wine.
I frequently encountered questions like; "The legs mean the wine is better right?" or "the darker the red wine, the better it is?" or "red wine can age for 10 years plus", "shiraz is always a heavy red" and so many more.
It occurred to me over the last few months how many myths really are out there. So, I thought I'd collate some of these for a little debunk session.
Myth 1: "The thicker the legs, the better the wine"
Nope. The thicker the legs, the more alcohol in the wine. That is simply it. Nothing else. Viscosity=alcohol content. If you are someone who tends to get headaches from wine, try and find wines around 12.5-13.5% rather than 14 and above. I have reason to believe those headaches will either stop, or be less severe.
Myth 2: "All Red Wine should be aged for 10 years"
Vehemently disagree. Red wine needs a few things to be able to be rested or aged for 10 years plus. Those are; a high alcohol content, loads of new oak, a bucketload of tannin and acid (or obviously, a lot of sulfur) Without those, wines should be drunk now or upon release. I'm also a believer in what you put into your body is what you get out of it so why not put wines with more youth into your body? Story checks out right? I also believe your palate changes over time. If you are at a cellar door and really enjoy a wine, why not drink it? Who knows whether in 10 years, your palate hasn't moved from enjoying Shiraz to simply loving Pinot Noir?
Myth 3: The Darker the Red wine, the better it is"
Sorry no. It's important to understand most red wine is bottled young and is a deep purple colour in it's youth. As a red wine ages, it loses colour (whereas a white wine gains colour as it ages) and you will see it progress from purple to ruby red (perfect time to drink it in my opinion), to garnet and then it starts to fall into a brick red colour (and eventually vinegar). Don't be fooled in thinking dark coloured red wine is 'better' than light wines.
Also, wine variety is important. For example, Pinot Noir is a thin skinned, red grape with white flesh so it is always going to be lighter than a thick skinned, red fleshed Cabernet Sauvignon for instance.
Myth 4: You need to own an expensive decanter
Ok, this might be the most controversial thing I write today... but let me tell you, you don't need a fancy decanter. To decante is simply to move something from one vessel to another. You can literally pour wine into a bowl and back into the bottle and that will be enough. However; I have a better trick. I want you to try this at your next dinner party.
Get 2 glasses and place then in front of your guest. Cover a bottle with aluminum foil or a paper bag. Open the bottle of wine, pour some in the first glass. Head back to the kitchen for "the other bottle" but rather than grab another bottle, I want you to shake the heck out of the same bottle you just poured from....and I mean, give it a hectic shake.
Then pour the wine into the second glass. Ask your guest to choose which wine he liked more. I can almost guarantee your guest will think you have poured two different wines.... try it, I dare you.
Shaking a bottle of wine (make sure the cork is in it and the screwcap is on) after a glass has been taken out of it will do just the same job as an expensive decanter... I'll now wait patiently while all the precious wine-o's come at me with hate mail!
Myth 5: Wine bottles with a big punt (a deep hole in the bottom) means it's going to be a better wine.
No. One thing it is is a more expensive wine. Wine bottles cost money. The heavier the glass, the bigger the bottle, the more expensive the wine. I've tried some remarkable wines out of boring, cheap Bordeaux bottles and a lot of average wine out of remarkably expensive, big wine bottles. Don't be fooled.
Myth 6: Red Wine shouldn't go in the fridge.
One, Australian room temperature is too hot for most wine so I always recommend people throw a bottle of red into the fridge to bring it to approximately 18 degrees celcius... European Room Temp is what I like to call it. Also, if you are someone who doesn't finish a whole bottle of red wine in an evening, I recommend putting the wine in the fridge to slow down the oxidation process and bringing it back to room temperature the next night. I also believe wine should be enjoyed so if that means you chill your red wine, so be it. Want to put ice in your glass of Chardonnay? You do you boo!
So, I hope that's changed your perspective on a number of wine myths. Perhaps this makes me sound a little jaded about the wine world but I assure you I'm not. I just want people to really enjoy wine in all forms and not let other people tell them what they should or shouldn't do. Drink wine and be Merry!