Top 10 Wine Myths Debunked
Is expensive wine really better? What about wines that are old? There are so many myths surrounding wine, and wine drinking, many of them false. We’ve investigated some of the most common myths surrounding wine and come away with some truths that may just surprise you.
1. Myth: The more expensive a wine is, the better it is.
Truth: Truth be told, this is often the case, but the price of wine is impacted by several factors. Location, how long the bottle has been aged, and even the wine’s marketing, can impact its price. Wines from less familiar grapes, places, and producers—especially imported wines—can offer surprisingly impressive quality for your budget-squeezed dollar.
2. Myth: Better wines are always sealed with a cork.
Truth: Screwcapped wines can age just as well as wines finished with a cork. Many wineries have been experimenting with screwcapps and attest that quality control is much easier with screwcapped wines. With screwcapped wines for instance, you don’t have to worry about the cork spoiling a perfectly good bottle of wine.
3. Myth: Boutique wineries make wines that are more authentic.
Truth: Consumers often have idyllic images of boutique wineries, and widely assume that the wine produced at boutique wineries is inherently more “authentic.” Boutique wineries make wines in small lots, often focused on particular vineyards. But are such wines really better, or just different? You’ll have to answer that question as a wine drinker.
4. Myth: Old wines are better.
Truth: When you see old and rare bottles of wine being auctioned off for thousands of dollars, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that the older a wine is, the better it is. In reality, most wines are made to be consumed within a year or two of their release. There are, of course, rare exceptions, and old wines require knowledgable caretakers, who know how to store them properly, and how to monitor them.
5. Myth: “Legs” are evidence of a high-quality wine.
Truth: Legs, or “tears,” as the streaks that run down the glass are called, are actually indications of viscosity, which relates to the wine’s alcohol content. The higher the alcohol, the fatter the legs. Therefor a wine’s “legs” have nothing to do with its quality.
6. Myth: Only leftover white wine should be refrigerated.
Truth: Cold acts as a preservative as much for red as it does for white, the main difference is you’ll have to warm up the red a bit at room temperature before drinking it. If you can’t drink the remainder of a bottle within a few days, then you should put it your freezer to store it.
7. Myth: White wine goes with fish, red wine goes with meat.
Truth: If you are new to wine pairing, this guideline isn’t a bad one, but it is not a rule, and there are some definite exceptions. The best wine for a grilled salmon steak is probably red, like a Pinot Noir, for instance. Veal and pork work well with both red and white wines depending on how the dish is prepared and the sauce that comes along with it.
8. Myth: “I am NOT drinking any f****** Merlot!”
Truth: This line, uttered in 2004’s Sideways has really stuck, and since, merlot sales have plummeted. The truth is there are many quality merlot wines. Petrus is one of the most expensive and prestigious wines in the world. The composition is mainly Merlot and comes from Pomerol, France. Blends such as a Bordeaux are largely comprised of Merlot. It is a myth that the entire varietal is bad.
9. Myth: Blended wines are not as good as non-blended wines.
Truth: When given a choice, most people will choose single grape wines like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah. Blends can often be the best mix of all of your favorites. 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. So don’t put your nose up to blends.
10. Myth: You should serve red wine at room temperature.
Truth: It really depends on what room temperature is. Red wine is best served between 57-65ºF (14-18°C) depending on grape variety. Cabernet Sauvignon is best served at 65ºF (18°C), whereas a light Chinon should be served at 57ºF (14°C).