12 Common Wine Myths, Debunked

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In this post I want to debunk a number of common wine myths. The current coronavirus, has resulted in a rise in sales and consumption of alcohol. We can attest to that, here in Green Acres, particularly the sale of wines.

Despite the increased consumption though, many common wine myths prevail. I did write a piece on Controversial Myths and Misconceptions in the Wine World a few years ago, so it is probably timely to revisit the topic anyway.

Many common wine myths and beliefs may have originated either in custom or with an atom of truth, and over time grew into tradition. Let’s dispel these myths one by one.

Myth 1: Wine is for Older People

Popular wisdom would have you believe that young people drink cheap beer and spirits. And that they only appreciate wine later in life when they’ve settled down and increased their income. According to research, however, millennials have surpassed all other generations in terms of wine consumption.

Myth 2: You Must Know a Lot About Wine to Enjoy it

As I’ve said in many posts heretofore, of course, understanding can enhance enjoyment, but you don’t have to know anything about wine to enjoy the way it smells and tastes. My advice has always been to try to determine why you like a particular wine. Then just keep a mental note of why you do.

Myth 3: Only Buy Fine Wines from Vintages that Critics Say are Great

This may be a fine strategy for investors who have the intent of reselling for a profit.  However, for people who simply want to enjoy good wines, it is a mistake, and sometimes a costly one.

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Myth 4: Cheese Goes Best with Red Wine

The issue with red wine, especially a full-bodied red, is that it can overpower all but the most robust of cheeses. White wine, fortified wines and lighter red wines are often a much better match. What lot of people don’t realise though is that white wine is actually a much better partner for many types of cheese.

Myth 5: White Wine with Fish and Poultry, Red Wine with Meat

For the beginner this is not a bad place to start. However, as people become more confident, they quickly find the exceptions. Personally, I like Northern Rhône Syrahs with chicken, and a South African Shiraz with duck. Seafood is another matter, and certain meatier specimens like salmon or tuna go well with light reds like pinot noir.

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Myth 6: Wine is Mainly Drank by Women

Wine appreciation is by no means gender specific. You might hear of men relishing a ‘cool pint of lager’ for instance, but that doesn’t stop them cultivating a taste for wine. People of all genders find it gratifying to look at a wine list with confidence and understanding.

Myth 7: Fine Wine can only be Enjoyed with Fine Food

I’m sure this myth arose from ‘special occasions’ such as weddings, other celebrations, and fine dining restaurants. However, I do believe that nowadays, people realise that wine goes with everything. No matter what you’re eating, you’ll be able to find a wine to go with your meal.

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Myth 8: Red Wine Must be Old to be Good

Aged wine is not necessarily a sign of quality and good taste. Did you know wine is perishable? Certain wines should be be consumed within the first five years after their release. They will not improve by standing in your kitchen press.

Here is a quote from my previous post guide to collecting wine, “95% percent of the world’s wine does not need cellaring. Most wines are in fact at their peak the day they are released.”

Myth 9: Blends are Mediocre and not Worth Considering

In a way, I can’t fault someone for believing this because there are some terrible blends out there. Usually, these are the extremely cheap wines for sale, which give blends a bad name.

This doesn’t mean all blends must be ignored, it simply requires more selective purchases. Many of the greatest Bordeaux wines are blends.

Myth 10: You’ll Want to Sleep After Drinking Red Wine

The funny thing here is that typically, you might look for a red wine when you want to relax. When you want to be refreshed you prefer a white wine. You can take it from me that nothing in the chemical setup suggests that red wine makes you more fatigued than other wines.

Myth 11: If You Buy a Faulty Wine You’re Stuck with It

After popping open your bottle, you believe that there is something wrong. It might be a smell or the taste. Most people in this situation simply pour the bottle down the drain, but don’t do that; instead take the bottle back. Any good wine retailer, that cares about the customer will take the wine back, and replace it.

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Myth 12: Screw Cap Wine is of Lesser Quality

For many the screw cap still seems to signify lesser quality wine. But this could not be further from the truth. Many winemakers of high regard are bottling their wine under screwcap because it protects the wine from cork taint (see myth 11). It can also be a less expensive method of bottle closure.

Conclusion

There are many more wine myths that I could address and perhaps I’ll revisit the topic again in a future post. For example, boxed wine is portable, durable, and cheap. This is why so many wine experts still turn their noses up at it. However, the thing to note is that any costs that are avoided, come from shipping and packaging, and not from cuts made to the quality of the wine itself. 

I’ll finish on just one last common myth that annoys me a lot. Some wine afficionados believe that you should be ashamed of putting ice in your wine. Here are three reasons why you need not be: a) it can be used to adjust a wine that’s especially alcoholic, b) chilling your wine can help bring out its subtle flavours and nuances and c) it makes for better sipping on a sweltering hot day.

If you come across anybody claiming that any of the above wine myths are true, please advise them that the “rules” of wine consumption have changed. Forget the myths and regulations and enjoy the wine experience.

As always – enjoy the wine and friends you’re with (in moderation).

#StaySafeSaveLives – Talk Soon – James.

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