5 Common Wine Myths
If there is one generalisation we can make about the wine world, it is that there are no easy generalisations that can be applied across the board when it comes to wine knowledge (if only it were that easy!). There are some tendencies we can talk about, of course, to better understand characteristics of certain varietals and regions, but sometimes these get stretched to the point where they become truisms, ultimately creating widespread myths about wine. Here are a few of the most common assumptions about wine that you can throw out the window.
1. Red wine goes with red meat, white wine goes with you seafood
If you’ve read any of our posts on wine and food pairings, you’ll know this claim simply isn’t true. Not all of the time anyway – maybe if if you tallied it up it would be true more often than not, but it isn’t a rule you should live by, because there are many seafood dishes that do better with red wine (such as Cioppino, an American-Italian seafood stew, which is ideal with a light, dry Sangiovese or Pinot Noir), and a number of red meat dishes that simply call for a white wine, particularly when they are prepared in a creamy sauce or have delicate flavours – think slow cooked pork with a full bodied Pinot Gris or a spring roast lamb with a lightly oaked Chardonnay.
Despite the common assumption, you don’t necessarily need to have red wine with red meat, nor do you need to reserve white wine for seafood dishes
2. Red wine should be served at room temperature, and white wine should be served chilled
Again, this is something we covered in our article on what temperature is best to serve wines, but the takeaway is that you should certainly invest in not adhering to this! It’s important to consider what wine you are drinking – some red wines, like Gamay and young Pinot Noirs, are just lovely when they’ve been chilled a bit. Moreover, it’s an absolute injustice to serve some whites cold (in fact most are usually served too cold), which masks their flavours and aromas. Try a Chardonnay out of the fridge and then again at room temperature and you’ll see how much more wonderful the wine is – you can actually taste what’s going on in the glass!
3. Sulphites in wine give you a headache
This is one is pretty straightforward in that there is currently no scientific evidence backing the theory that sulphites in wine give you a headache. You can learn more about the role of sulphites in wine here, but in short, if you have a headache you’ve probably just had too much wine…period.
4. Wine gets better with age
True… in some cases. Not true in others. Some wines are meant to be consumed fresh and young (in particular, Beaujolais Nouveau), and many simply aren’t made to last, so it’s not worth cellaring them. In particular, natural wines should be consumed immediately because their lack of preservatives makes them less stable.
Though some wines are meant to get better with age, others are not, and will in fact not last more than a year or so
5. Old World wines are better than New World wines
Because the Old World (Europe, mainly France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain) is where wine was originally made, many traditionalists perceive wines from these countries, along with their more old-school approach to winemaking techniques and systems, as superior. However, this is a rather dated perspective. Of course these traditions are respected for good reason, and wonderful wines come from these long-practiced techniques, but that is not to discredit those made in the New World – there are general differences between the Old and New World terroirs, but the same goes for terroirs from region to region within each of these categories. These days, there is also a range in winemaking techniques, from traditional to innovative, in both the Old and New World. In short, there are premium, execellent wines and rubbish wines that come from both.
To step up your wine knowledge, check out some of our other helpful blog articles.
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