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Famous wine myths busted

Flutes for champagne? A heavy bottle is best? Many wine 'rules are myths
that do little except create confusion

Pop quiz: Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) adopt a correct drinking
posture in 'Sideways (2004) Photo: film stills/20th century fox

By Victoria Moore
7:00AM BST 22 Apr 2014

Do you drink your champagne at room temperature? A recent study by the University of Reims
suggests that it might be better to do so because champagne served at 64F (18C) is likely
to form more bubbles. Personally, I prefer mine chilled. But there are a few more myths out
there just waiting to be busted
Red with meat, white with fish
Matching wine and food is more about looking at the intensity, or volume, of the flavours involved
than it is about going for red or white. Shouty food needs shouty wine, and vice versa. So it is
true that you might prefer not to bludgeon a delicate piece of steamed sea bass into oblivion by
downing a big fat shiraz or Chilean cabernet with it. But a meaty fish, such as swordfish or tuna,
can work beautifully with a light red say beaujolais, bardolino or frappato. Pan-fried salmon is
delicious with pinot noir. Cod wrapped in prosciutto with Puy lentils goes well with Italian reds,
and if you have a hearty, tomato-based fish stew then how about a rustic red from Portugal or
Spain? As for the meat side of the equation: what if you had lamb cooked Greek style, with
lemon juice, oregano and olives? Might you consider an oaked assyrtiko a white from
Santorini? Go on
The heavier and more impressive the bottle, the better the wine
No. The heavier and more impressive the bottle, the bigger the winemakers ego.
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Old wine needs decanting

Hold back. Put that decanter down. Its true that more expensive wine can sometimes be
improved by decanting it might have intense concentration and tight tannins that will ease and
open if they are given time and air. But older wines can also be fragile. They have already aged,
slowly and gently, in the bottle, and may, like a griddled steak, have reached the moment at
which they are point. Swilling them around in a decanter may send them over the edge.
Old wines, decanted, sometimes just fall apart in front of your eyes. My advice is to open the
bottle a couple of hours before serving, pour a small amount into a glass and recork the bottle.
Taste the wine immediately, and again when its been in the glass for 10 minutes or so. You will
know if it needs decanting.
Beaujolais is thin and old-fashioned dont touch it
Okay, the gamay grape makes red wines in a lighter style that you might want to drink slightly
Its fair to say that beaujolais nouveau, the baby wine that once flooded into this country a couple
of months after harvest, is not the best this region has to offer. Look at the more complex wines
from the 10 crus the likes of Morgon, Julinas and Fleurie where there are lots of single-
minded, focused winemakers, young and old, making great quality wines that are relatively
inexpensive for the level of craftsmanship youre buying.
Wine under screwcap cant possibly be corked
Im afraid it can. The culprit here is a chemical known as TCA and it can infect the winery. I once
had dinner with a winemaker in a restaurant in the Barossa Valley in Australia. One of her (red)
wines clearly tasted corked and she went off to retrieve the screwcap from the bin that would
give her the lot number of the wine, so the rest of the batch could be tested. That said, its rare to
find a corked screwcap wine.
Red wine is best at room temperature
Maybe it once was. Maybe it still is if you go to my parents house where they doggedly set the
thermostat at 57F (14C). But too often red wine is served too warm so that it tastes soupy and
indistinct. Theres no need to get the thermometer out just try cooling it down slightly and see if
you prefer the taste.
Champagne should be drunk out of flutes
Leaving aside the fact that Im not a fan of the word should, in almost any context, I prefer not
to drink champagne out of skinny, straight-sided flutes. I threw all mine in the bin when I moved
house. Better to use an ordinary wine glass you get much more pleasure from the smell of the
wine. Or go for the increasingly fashionable option of the so-called bowed-flute, a voluptuous
flute that shows off the wine but also looks the part.
It is sacrilege to put ice cubes in wine that is too warm
No, its not. You can put ice in your glass if you want to. I did it in a cheap Chinese in Soho the
other night. And at the ballet last week when Id been treated to a glass of champagne that was
too warm. The friend I was with looked a bit put out and said: Id have put ice in mine if I hadnt
been with you. Just do it. Its wine, not holy water.
READ: Victoria Moore's best wines to go with Easter lamb

The world of wine can be full of smoke and mirrors, with many casual wine
lovers not sure what or who to believe.

I'm sure you've had to sit through many a dinner party where one of group
has tried to impress the table with their bountiful knowledge of wine. Often
this person will spout wine rules and jargon which can sound impressive,
even if they don't really make any sense.

So we thought we'd put your mind at ease and help you ignore Mr or Mrs
know-it-all by busting a few of the most common myths that are still trotted
out at dinner parties all over the world.

And once we've ticked them off, we've got a wine palate quiz for you to find
out your top 3 recommended bottles for your unique tastes.

Myth 1 - Expensive wine is always

While this is really quite a big myth, the opposite - that very cheap wine is
very, very rarely any good at all - is almost always true. In order to
understand this, we have to take a moment to think about the real cost of

If you break it down, and think about the cost of the labour that goes into
wine production, the time it takes to make the wine itself, the bottle, the
import and export duties, the alcohol tax which exists in almost every
developed country and then the profit that the shopkeeper has to make
from selling you the wine; there is no way in hell a $5 bottle of wine is going
to be worth drinking, because the winery itself will make hardly any money
from it.

Im not saying it never happens (it happened to me once in Fitzroy, but I

strongly suspect that the wrong price label had been stuck on the bottle by
mistake), but its highly unlikely youre going to find anything memorable or
even barely drinkable for your loose change.

If youre shelling out a lot of money for your wine, the chances are youre
going to enjoy it. There are several reasons for this - firstly, the finest
wineries with decades (or centuries) of expertise rise to the top for a
reason, and that reason is usually due to the quality of their produce.

Secondly, if I spend $100 or more on a bottle of wine, I make damn sure I

enjoy it by storing, pouring and savouring it correctly and possibly even
convincing myself that it is better than it is, in order to justify my

I think the most sensible option is to go somewhere in the middle. Unless

youre a seasoned sommelier with an experts nose and tongue, the really,
really exclusive bottles arent going to offer you much more than the mid-
range ones.

As long as you buy your wine from interesting producers who arent aiming
for bulk market saturation, and who use good quality, low-yielding vines,
the chances are, your wines are going to be memorable and enjoyable.

Myth 2 - Family owned,

independent wineries make the
best wines
I just mentioned that you should avoid the biggest winemaking
conglomerates, and I stand by that from both personal experience and
common sense.

I believe that the largest, multinational wine companies are aiming to

please as many people as possible, and flood the market with boring,
inoffensive, middle-of-the-road wines. Theyre the viticultural equivalent of
that band your dad recently started listening to, if you know what I mean.

However, that doesnt mean that the only good wines available are those
from the quirky little guys at the bottom of the ladder. While small,
independent wineries put a lot of love and care into their produce (or at
least do a good job of appearing to do so), the medium-to-large sized
established wineries do have the money and resources to source the best
grapes, and employ talented vintners to craft very good wines.

It would be a mistake to base your opinion of a wine on the size of a

company, and approach new wines with any prejudice. The proof, as they
say, is in the pudding.

Myth 3 - Vintage wine is best

Vintage is one of those words which we see on bottles, and immediately
assume it is synonymous with quality. This isnt really true. Vintage wines
do have a tendency to be more expensive than non-vintage bottles, which
may add to the perception that theyre better, but really, all vintage means
is that the wine is made from grapes which were all harvested within the
same year.

Non vintage wines will use blends from different harvesting seasons - a
different approach, but not necessarily worse when it comes to the tasting.

Myth 4 - Screw cap wines arent as

good as corked ones
You only have to look around the tasting rooms of some of Australias finest
wineries to see that this one is a load of rubbish. Despite this, there are still
plenty of people (especially Europeans) who hold a prejudice against the
screw cap, and actually, there is some (admittedly outdated) logic to this

The misconception that corked wines are better than screw cap wines
comes from the idea that cork allows wine to age better. Tiny amounts of
oxygen are required to get into the bottle over time, in order for
the tannins in wine to break down, the acids to soften, and for the ageing
effect to occur.

While in the past screw caps were more or less completely air-tight,
stopping this ageing process from happening correctly, its been a fair few
years since this was looked into and corrected.

Nowadays, its pretty clear that screw caps are actually superior than corks
for a number of reasons, as they allow the wine to age steadily (whereas
corks shrink and expand in time, leading to erratic ageing) and also they
avoid several of the fungal flaws that are extremely common in corked

Myth 5 - Thicker glass bottles

indicate higher quality wine
Im a sucker for this one, I have to admit. I like the feel of a thick, heavy
glass bottle - theres something luxurious and slightly decadent about them
which you just dont get from more generic bottles.

However, to claim it has any effect or gives any indication on the contents
of the bottle is a bit ludicrous. Bottles in this style tend to be a bit pricier
(again, giving the impression of quality), but this is because - no shit,
Sherlock - the packaging is a bit more expensive to produce. Its a
marketing ploy aimed to part you from your cash, nothing more.
Connected to this myth is one which I remember hearing from a young age,
and thats the idea that the depth of the punt of the bottle (the concave
dimple at the base) also correlates to quality. Again, this is an aesthetic
decision taken by the winery, and has no connection with what youre
actually going to be drinking.

Okay now that we have tackled some wine myths surrounding the wine
industry, it's time to get to the fun stuff ...actually drinking it. Head on over
to our wine palate quiz and answer so we can recommend three bottles
we'll think you'll love. Click on the link below.

Next up: Take our Wine Palate Quiz and we'll match your personal tastes
to our top three recommended bottles just for you

It seems just about everyone I meet has a variety of opinions about wine. I
never know what to believe. Should I stick to Paul Giamattis advice and
not drink Merlot? When I tilt my wine glass and it appears to cling to the
side like Spider-Man is that because of the tannins? Are blended wines just
a mix of whats left over?

There are a lot of myths and urban legends floating around. I talked to
Mariana Onofri, the Sommelier and Wine Director for The Vines of
Mendoza, to learn what is true and what is an urban legend. Here are some
of the most common myths I have heard and the real facts.

Myth #1: I Dont Want Any F#@!ing Merlot

Truth: Some lines from certain movies really stick. The Merlot myth stuck
so much that it caused sales to plummet. This is not the first time movies
had this unintended impact. Check out the 75 percent of the shark
population that was killed after Jaws. While we cant defend the honor of
sharks, the truth is that Merlots are quality wines. Petrus is one of the most
expensive and prestigious wines in the world. The composition is mainly
Merlot and comes from Pomerol, France. Sometimes people drink blends
such as a Bordeaux and dont even realize it is largely comprised of Merlot.
Of course, as with any wine, you should be sure it is a quality wine before
purchasing a bottle, but you shouldnt misjudge the entire varietal.
Myth #2: ABC-Anything But Chardonnay
Truth: This catchy statement came about, because people have a belief
that Chardonnays are typically oak tasting and not crispy or fresh. Dont
give up on Chardonnay. Depending on the style of winemaking you can
find Chardonnays that dont have any oak and offer a refreshing flavor. If
you enjoy a crisp white wine, you can certainly find a Chardonnay to suit
your tastes.

Myth #3: The Legs of the Wine Mean _________________________

Truth: Its so common to see someone get a glass of wine tilt it, look at
whats left on the glass and come up with some theory. Its the tannins. Its
the alcohol. Its the quality of the wine. Its a secret plan to help digestion.

The reality is seeing the legs can be affected by the thickness of the glass,
the type of glass and how it was washed. They are not a sign of quality. In
some cases, glycerol, a type of alcohol found in wine, can be a part of
identifying the legs. However, this is not always the case.

Myth #4: Blended Wines Are Not As Good As Non-Blended Wines

Truth: When given the choice between a Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon,
Syrah etc. or a blend, a lot of people will choose the single grape wines.
Blends can often be the best mix of all of your favorites or what I like to call
the ice cream sundae of wines. I love cookies and cream ice cream, but
mix that with some brownie and coconut ice cream and its amazing. When
winemakers take a Malbec and mix it with a Cabernet Sauvignon or any
other grape it can be so much better than one of them on their own. Blends
are definitely worth exploring.

Myth #5: Dont Drink Wines With High Alcohol

Truth: A wine with high alcohol content doesnt mean it will be like taking a
shot of vodka. There is a belief that a higher alcohol percentage will cause
the wine to burn the throat or nose, but that isnt necessarily true. Argentine
wines are high in alcohol, because the grapes are grown in a warm, dry
climate. It is not uncommon for a wine to be as much as 16 percent alcohol.
However, when winemakers deal with high alcohol, they make the other
elements of wine (acidity, tannins and fruit flavor) high as well to give the
wines a balance and hide the alcohol. Dont be afraid of high alcohol
contents, but rather pay attention to the balance of the wine.

There are certain myths about wine half-truths and old ideas that range
from mild misinformation to downright falsehoods.
Here are five of the most commonly believed wine myths in desperate need
of clearing up, along with recommendations of what to drink to help you bust
those myths wide open.

MYTH: Red wine goes with meat.

White wine goes with fish
Its the first rule of wine everyone learns. And its completely untrue. Wines
can be separated not only by white and red, but also by light vs. full, silky
vs. stern, and bright vs. brooding. Plus, there are elements like saucing,
seasoning, and preparation to consider not just the protein on the plate.

Here are two suggestions to start stepping out of the mold:

Blue Mountain Gamay Noir, 2014 Okanagan Valley, BC (approx.

$25.00 private stores)
Pair this juicy, local gem with a pan-seared fish like trout, char, salmon, or
sturgeon. Finish with a simple red wine jus and youll see how certain reds
love fish.
Yalumba Y Series Viognier, 2014 Barossa Valley, Australia ($17.99
Braise a lamb shoulder in aromatic spices and finish it with dried apricots and
fresh herbs. You have a dish thats ready to take on a rich and exotic
aromatic white wine. Yalumbas Viognier is one of the benchmarks for the
style and will show how certain whites dont cower before red meat.

SEE ALSO: "Like that? Try this!" 6 alternatives to familiar wines

MYTH: Red wines are better than
white wines
This is a myth and a mindset that people should shed, mostly because I cant
bear to think theyre missing out on some of the greatest wines in the world!
Listen up red-only drinkers: Among my colleagues in the wine trade, white is
probably consumed at twice the frequency of red. Its pure and refreshing
and can be dazzlingly complex. Instead of trying to draw you into the light
with a white wine that mimics a red, I suggest you go for a wine that defines
what white wine lovers love about white wine.

William Fevre Champs Royeux Chablis, 2014 Burgundy, France

($27.99 BCLDB)
Its all about seamlessly fresh acidity and a chalky, mineral-driven quench
with this Chablis.

MYTH: All Riesling is sweet

First of all, whats wrong with sweet? Some of the best Rieslings arent dry,
but you only need to sip them alongside spicy or sweet dishes to understand
their magic. More importantly, not all Riesling is sweet. There are plenty of
racy and electric styles without a drop of sugar.

Von Winning Diedsheimer Paradiesgarten Riesling, 2014 Pfalz,

Germany ($32.99 BCLDB)
For something that will pair remarkably well alongside our springtime coastal
cuisine, try this shatteringly original version that delivers a surge of lime leaf
and mineral spring.

MYTH: Wine has to be expensive to be

This myth will never die, probably because its not totally false. Some of the
greatest wines in the world are very expensive, but the reality of the modern
wine world is that we now have access to some of the most original and
authentic wines at very good prices. There has never been a larger gap
between the cost of a wine and its intrinsic quality. Unfortunately, no one
pays as much as British Columbians do for our wine off the shelves, so you
have to be even more selective to discover the great buys. But they are

El Petit Bonhomme Verdejo, 2014 Rueda, Spain ($13.49 BCLDB)

Cave Saint-Desirat Syrah, 2013 Ardeche, France ($12.49 BCLDB)
Consider these two under $15 as great examples of affordable, high-quality
wine. Ones a snappy and fresh Spanish white and the other is a meaty and
rustic French red

SEE ALSO: 5 wine resolutions to make 2016 your best vintage

MYTH: You need to know a lot about

wine to appreciate it
Too often I hear people claiming they wouldnt know a good wine from a bad
one. Just like you dont need a culinary degree to enjoy a good meal or a
music background to enjoy a concert, you dont need anything beyond a
nose and a mouth to enjoy a bottle of wine. Taste it. Do you like it?
Whatever the answer, you know all you need to know about appreciating

Fattoria Rodano Chianti Classico, 2011 Tuscany, Italy (approx.

$29.00 private stores)
I love leaning on the wines of Tuscany to provide immediate connoisseurship.
They offer deliciousness, a complexity, and a spirit that captures wine in the
most joyful way. This Chianti happens to be one of the best.

#Winederland - Five common wine myths

Drink | 12 May 2017, 10:10am
Elriza Theron
The best wines areold, expensive, come in bottles with corks, have fancy names and even fancier
labels, and should never, ever, even catch a glimpse of a block of ice.

Youve no doubt heard these stories before, but which ones are true and which ones are just tall tales?

Share this story

Haute Cabriere cellar master Takuan von Arnim sabers a bottle of bubbly, but it may seem a bit extreme for casual lovers of
the good stuff. Photo courtesy

We delved into Platters brand new wine guide, Everything you wanted to know about wine but were too
afraid to ask, to find out.

The more expensive the wine, the better it is

Unless done in massive bulk numbers, winemaking is generally an expensive exercise. Even a young
wine can take as long as five years to produce, and earn itself a pretty price tag in the process. And
other factors, like the producers overheads, for example, can also influence the price of the wine. It is
for these reasons that price is not necessarily a reliable indicator of quality.

Adding ice to wine is a serious faux pas

While its true ice prevents the release of the flavours and aromas of your wine and waters it down,
there are occasions when its perfectly acceptable to add an ice block or two to your glass. These
include if youre drinking a dry white wine on a very hot day and the wine has not been chilled, or if
youre drinking a spritzer (one part white wine to one part soda). To speed-chill warm white wine, add a
block of ice to your glass of wine, stir it for 10 seconds, and then quickly take the ice out.
Red wine should always be served at room temperature

Its commonly accepted that this advice hails from Europe, where room temperature for much of the
year is pretty cold. In South Africa, warm red wine especially in summer is not much fun. Its
perfectly acceptable to chill red wine in the fridge for 30 minutes on a hot day.

Wine in boxes and screwcap bottles is inferior

Contrary to popular belief, papsakke (as opposed to glass bottles) and screwcaps (as opposed to
corks) do little to change the quality of the wine inside. In fact, cork stoppers can become tainted and
mouldy, and can crumble. Screwcaps, on the other hand, are believed to help wine retain its natural
fruit elements, keep disease out and keep wine fresh for longer. So, dont judge a wine by its

Older wines are best

It depends on how old is old. Red wines matured to between six and 10 years (depending on the
cultivar) are actually at their peak and usually magnificent, smooth and seductive. Wines older than that
can become vinegary simply because they are too old. The vast majority of wine is meant to be enjoyed
within a year of its release to the public.

Wine has always been an area of great debate, as so much of the information surrounding it is
subjective. Ultimately, there are a handful of ground rules governing the drinking of wine and for the
rest, its a matter of personal choice. As long as you enjoy the wine youre drinking, you cant go
wrong! says Andrew Douglas, TOPS at SPAR Wine Show owner and wine marketing disrupter.

If youre looking to further your knowledge of those ground rules and pick up a couple of bottles to enjoy
(any way you like!), pop in to Winederland at the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show presented by The Star,
between 25 and 27 May 2017 at Montecasino.

More than a hundred wines will be available for you to try and buy.

For more information go to

To book tickets click here

1. If a wine is
expensive, it must
be good?
Verdict: Bullshit.

Caviar is bloody expensive,

have you tasted that crap? Im
not super fancy, but I do
suggest using your cask wine to
play Goon of Fortune in your
mates backyard. Its similar to
Wheel of Fortune, but instead of
winning a new car, youll
probably get Peking ducked
and forget where you live.
South Australia has 18 grape-
growing regions, its not hard to
find a crowd pleaser for around
20 bucks. Dont knock the goon
bags too hard though, they blow
up into great pillows when you
need a little nap.

2. Putting a
spoon in a
sparkling bottle
keeps it fizzy.
Verdict: Bullshit.

If you think Im wrong, try it.

Leave the open bottle in the
fridge overnight, and as
punishment for doubting me,
Ill make you drink it for
breakfast. In any case, if you
cant polish off a bottle of
bubbly in one session, youre
an amateur and we cant be

3. Drinking
makes you fat?
Verdict: Bullshit.

Eating a whole pizza while

drunk makes you fat.
Smashing a box of 24 nuggets
in the Uber on the way home
will also make you fat. Share
them with friends, but if you
dont have any, at least save
some for breakfast.
4. Drinking from
a wine bottle is
not acceptable?
Verdict: Bullshit.

Vikings used to drink from the

skulls of their enemies.
Humanity has conquered the
vine and forced its fruit into
submission, so why not drink
from the bottle? What if you
dont have a glass and youve
run out of straws? You could
head to the nearest bottle-o
for a six pack of tinnies, but
that sounds like a lot of effort.
So bottoms up, I say.

5. Drinking
keeps you
Verdict: Bullshit.

Drinking makes you think

youre warm. It will also make
you think the person youre
flirting with at the bar is a solid
nine, and its only the next
morning you realise theyre
barely a three. But a solid 10
in a completely dark room, for

6. Leftover wine
can be turned
into ice cubes?
Verdict: Maybe bullshit.

I was genuinely confused

when I heard this one. I didnt
get the term, leftover wine. At
first I thought it was a new
brand on the market, but a
quick chat with my sponsor
set me straight. Let me know
if youve tried this, because
honestly, it sounds gross.

7. Sulphites in
red wine give
you a hangover?
Verdict: Bullshit.

Multiple bottles consumed in

quick succession give you a
hangover. Same goes with
organic or natural wine drink
enough of it and youll wake
up with the sweet, lingering
flavours of regret and shame.

8. Removing the
cork from a
bottle of fizz
should imitate
the sigh of a
Verdict: Not bullshit.

Fellas, if you dont know what

Im talking about, yank that
cork out and pour a couple
of glasses. Then take your
lady by the hand, and get

10 Wine Myths Busted

Think of wines and there is so much information and MISinformation out there. This
leaves simpleton drinkers in so much confusion.

So here are 10 myths surrounding wines debunked!

Vintage is age of the wine
Vintage simply means the year grapes for the wine were harvested. Also, each year is
a vintage. It is not the expiry date of the wine. It is not the age of the wine, more like
its birth year.
Wine with screw caps are inferior
It is a baseless myth that wines in a screw cap bottle are inferior. They are just as good
as those under cork. Use of screw caps means that the wines arent necessarily meant
to be aged in a cellar.
Ros wine is blend of red and white wine
Ros wines, pronounced roz-ay and not rose, are not a blend of white and red wines
but they are made from red wine grapes. Ros wines also have nothing to do with
roses either! Read here about Indian ros wines.

Topping up a wine glass
Yes, we know you absolutely loved that red wine but do not fill the glass to the brim.
It is supposed to be half full, that allows the wine and its aromatic to open up. And
you will save yourself from dipping your nose in the wine!
Red wines are served at room temperature
Red wines served at room temperature is all well and good if youre in Europe. Here
in India and in summers, where room temperature will never go down below 25
degree C you need to chill your red wine. One hour in the fridge before you serve is
more than enough.
You can any wine to make sangria
You cannot make good sangria with bad wines. 50% of sangria is wine after all, and if
youre scrimping on the quality of wine, the end product will not be great. But that
does not mean you need to splurge and use expensive wines either.
Open a sparkling wine with a flourish
Its okay to pop open a bottle of bubbly with all the flourish only if youre a F1 Grand
Prix winner. Sparkling wine bottles need to be opened as noiselessly as possible and
you do not spray the precious wine around. You want to keep all that beautiful
effervescence for your glass.
Expensive wines are always good
Definitely not true. Imported wine in India are always priced more than Rs 1000, but
that does not mean all of them are worth the price tag. There are plenty of quality
Indian wines which are priced reasonably and can beat these imported wines hollow.
You need to lay your wine bottles down horizontally
This is only true if you have wines with corks in them. If your bottle has a screw cap
you can easily store them vertically. This is one of the many benefits of screw caps.
Drink red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat
With world becoming flatter, were exposed to wide variety of cuisines from across
the world. In such a case it is difficult to stick to this rule, especially when pairing
with Indian food. Rather consider the richness of the sauces and spices used in the
dishes when thinking of pairing wines with food.
One of the benefits of having a sommelier in your circle of friends is that you can ask
all the wine questions that seem silly, strange, or obvious to ask without getting
embarrassed. (That, and they usually bring pretty tasty wines to dinner parties.)

But we love getting these questions. Wine professionals enter the field because they
are passionate about wine and, quite frankly, can talk about it for hours on end (this
fact has been verified by my husband).

So, when a friend begins with, Can I ask you a question, it almost always means
that we are about to chat wine. I suspect I know how doctors must feel at a cocktail
Photo by James Ransom

Now, the most common questions start with Is it true that With all the
mystery, confusion, and ritual surrounding wine, its no surprise that wine myths are
so prevalent. Navigating this quagmire can require a trusted guide, and if you didnt
have a sommelier in your contact list before, you do now:
(Thats me, by the way.)
Ive compiled a short list of some of the most common wine myths out therethose
that have a direct impact on the wine and/or your ability to enjoy it at its maximum
potential. Plus, once you understand the myths, you can make simple changes to have
a more pleasurable drinking experience.
Photo by James Ransom

Myth #1: A great place to store your wine is in the

When I walk into a friends kitchen and see the wine rack on their counter or above
the fridge, my palms begin to get clammy. I try not to offer unsolicited advice, but in
this instance I usually cant help myself.

While there may not be a handier place to store wine than in the kitchen, it is the
vinous equivalent of storing tomatoes in the fridge (this doesnt apply if your wine
is stored in a temperature-controlled wine fridge).
The biggest enemies of wine are heat, light and vibrationdaily occurrences in any
well-used kitchen. If you dont have a wine fridge, the best place to store wine is in
a dark closet away from direct heat or in a basement, if you are lucky enough to
have one.

Myth #2: Decanting is only for old, expensive wines.

This is a myth that comes up often, and I always enjoy responding with a quick
demo. Ill grab my blender, throw in a young, red, tannic wine and blend it up
for 30 seconds. Then I will have my friend taste the wine from the bottle and then
from the blender. The difference is astonishing.
The wine from the blender is softer and smoother. Its been hyper-decanted, which
means that oxygen has been introduced into the wine to soften the tannins and mimic
long-term aging. So, while you decant old wines to remove sediment and introduce
oxygen, you should definitely try decanting young red wines to help them open up.

Photo by James Ransom

Myth #3: Whites should be served from the fridge and

reds from room temperature.
The most important factor of enjoying a glass of wine is temperature. I dont
make that statement that lightly. It is more important than the glass you drink it from
or the food you eat it with. Temperature influences how a wine tastes and smells.
Whites straight from the fridge (around 40 F) are too cold and many of the flavors
get masked. The ideal temperature is around 50 to 55 F, so your best bet is to take it
out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before serving.

Reds from the counter (around 70 F) are too warm, which emphasizes the alcohol in
the wine. The ideal temperature is around 60 to 65 F, so if its at room temperature,
place it in the fridge for about 15 minutes before drinking.

Photo by James Ransom

Myth #4: Expensive wines are better (says the guy that
sells expensive wines).
We equate quality with price. The more expensive an item is, the higher the quality
and the better it is. While there is definitely a correlation between price and quality
when it comes to wine, the truth of the matter is that there is great value to be found in
areas that have less expensive land and labor, along with reduced demand. South
America is a prime example. You can find great quality Cabernet Sauvignon in Chile,
Malbec in Argentina, and Chardonnay in Uruguay.

More: Find out what high-quality, low-price wines sommeliers drink at home.

Photo by James Ransom

Myth #5: Red wine with meat, white wine with poultry or
Frankly, this myth is a bit dated and I think most people accept that you should just
drink what you like. That being said, wine can be a valuable tool to enhance a meal,
and a well-matched pairing can be the glue that brings everything together.
There are many different theories and methods on pairing food and wine, but there is
one basic rule I employ that has never failed me: If it grows together, it goes
together. Basically, if I am eating a cuisine from a specific area, I try to select wine
from that area as well. The flavors often work together and you can spend more time
enjoying the meal and less time over thinking it.
Do you have a wine question? If it feels too ridiculous to ask, just send me a note or
post it in the comments below (of course it goes without saying that you are asking on
behalf of a friend).

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Tamara Lover, D.W.S.

Tamara Lover, an accredited sommelier, is Co-Founder of a start-up called Bottle Rush, a company
democratizing wine by giving everyone their personal wine expert to help them find wines theyll love, not
like, but love. Tamaras passion for wine began like most wine love affairs with one delicious bottle of
wine. While dining at a restaurant in New York City, the sommelier recommended a wine that would
forever change her life. One sip of the Pinot Noir blew her away. By the end of the glass, Tamara knew
how she wanted to spend every moment of her spare time - finding that next great bottle of wine. In 2008,
Tamara graduated with her WSET Diploma of Wine and Spirits (DWS) from the International Wine
Center (IWC). She was also a weekly wine columnist for the Gothamist for five years and inducted as an
honorary member of the Compagnons du Beaujolais, a historic Burgundian wine society. Tamara resides
in NJ with her husband and two children. Feel free to ask her any wine related questions especially about
her favorite wine hacks.