Myths & Facts of Wine You Must Be Aware of

Posted On December ,

Although wine has become more and more popular and accessible over the past few years - there are still a lot of lingering myths out there in the market and the consumers’ mind. Let us debunk the some of the most frequent myths for you.

Myth: You should uncork a bottle of wine to let it breathe a little before pouring it.
Fact: Merely uncorking a bottle of wine only exposes the surface of the liquid in the bottle neck to air, so the amount of aeration is minimal. This will have no perceivable effect on the wine. Instead, decant it to aerate it.

Myth: You can tell if a wine is “corked” by smelling the cork. 
Fact: A corked wine is spoiled by the cork but it doesn’t really smell like cork. A good cork will smell woody with only a slight wine tinge and is virtually indistinguishable from a cork that actually spoiled a bottle. Wine is corked by a bacteria called 2,4,6- trichloroanisole (TCA) which is transmitted to the wine by infected corks. But the wine itself doesn’t smell a lot like cork, more like wet newspaper or damp basement, and you certainly can’t tell anything from smelling the cork. The only information a cork can provide is to confirm the brand of the producer, vintage year and make sure it is sound and not dried out indicating poor storage.

Myth: The finer the bubbles, the better the bubbly.
Fact: Bubble size has no bearing on the quality of Champagne or any other sparkling wine. Much research has been done on the subject already, particularly by Gérard Liger-Belair, associate professor of physical sciences at the University of Reims Champagne- Ardenne in the heart of the Champagne region. Turns out, the temperature of the wine, as well as the size of the impurities and faults on the inside of the wine glass, all affect the size of the bubbles. The warmer the Champagne, the larger and more frequent the bubbles. And without faults or impurities on the glass, such as microscopic streaks left by a dishtowel, Champagne looks like perfectly still white wine that, when drank, feels fizzy. 

Myth: Drink red wine with cheese and meat, and whites with fish and poultry.
Fact: There are many exceptions to this overused rule. Fuller bodied white wines as well as sweet ones can be delicious with cheese. Red wine from Pinot Noir grapes can be excellent with turkey. And a light-bodied red such as Beaujolais or another well- made Gamay goes very well with chicken. 

Myth: Gewürztraminer and Asian foods are a perfect match.
Fact: This aromatic, full-bodied wine would overpower any of the mild cornerstones of Asian cuisine such as dimsum, tempura, or sashimi. Plus, Gewürztraminer is notoriously lacking in acidity, which is the cleansing agent in wine needed to refresh the palate for many of the other staples of Asian cuisine-fried tempura, oily duck, or fatty tuna belly known as toro fish.

Myth: Vintage charts dictate good and bad wines.
Fact: Completely good and bad vintages don’t exist. Wine regions typically charted in vintage guides are huge Geographic areas where weather varies so some producers experience great conditions in so- called poor vintages. Also, a highly acclaimed vintage is no guarantee of quality because grape growing and winemaking practices influence the quality of the wine as much as weather does. Use vintage charts as a general guide only, if at all.

Myth: If it’s popular, it must be good.
Fact: Just because it sells well doesn’t mean it’s delicious. A prime example is 2003 Pinot Grigio in the US. In 2003, Pinot Grigio was the bestselling imported white wine in the U.S., according to the trade publication “Impact Databank”. Yet, at best, it was merely inoffensive and bland. Pinot Grigio tasted vaguely of citrus. Perhaps the collective North American palate got so weary of big, heavy, oaked Chardonnay, that Pinot Grigio refreshed tired palates with its light, clean style. For a similarly crisp, clean style, they could look to Chablis or Muscadet from France; Müller-Thurgau from Austria, Britain, or Canada; or Silvaner from Germany, all of which offered a little more flavor and all the freshness.

Myth: You only decant red wine.
Fact: Many white wines of distinction, such as Sauternes, or white Burgundies from better properties also benefit from decanting because the aeration brings out their aromas and flavors.

Myth: Champagne doesn’t age well.
Fact: Good quality Champagne ages extremely well. One of my friends once described the 1970 Cristal, from Champagne Louis Roederer as mesmerizing aged Champagne. When it was thirty-two years old in London, the wine was a charming kiss of brioche and cooked apple with layers of nuts, fresh bread, crème caramel, lacy acidity, and a long, lively finish.

Myth: Blended wine is poor quality.
Fact: Though sometimes a wine from one type of grape can be very good, blending two or more varieties can produce better balance, complexity, and harmony. In fact, wine laws in most places allow wines labeled as a single grape variety to be seasoned with other types of grapes to let winemakers blend for balance.

Myth: The Old World makes better wine than the New World.
Fact: Both the Old and New Worlds make good and bad wines and although they traditionally made very different styles of wine, overlap is starting to occur. Buying the best wine comes down to understanding your personal taste, choosing wine styles that appeal to you, and buying wines from trusted, quality-minded producers.

Myth: Red grapes always make red wine and white ones always make white.
Fact: Although this is usually the case, red grapes can make white wine. Such is the case with Champagne. The three grapes that 
go into this white sparkler include Chardonnay, which is of course white, as well as Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier-two red grapes. Gentle pressing keeps the red grape skins from imparting color to the wine.

Myth: Old wines taste better than young ones.
Fact: This is seldom true because the vast majority of wine made today is released from the winery at its peak and ready to drink. If these ready-to-drink wines are aged, they will be older but not better because they’re not made to bear the weight of time. Wines designed for cellaring are the only ones that actually improve with age.