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Avoid Common Wine Myths

Posted January 19th, 2010 | 0 Comments

If you have ever wondered what is fact or fiction regarding all of the many preconceived notions about wine, you are not alone. There are a staggering amount of theories about wine and many of them change on a regular basis and depending on who you ask and what day it is. 

Better Tasting Wine decided to take a closer look at some popular myths about wine. 

1. Wine goes best with cheese?

Contrary to common practice, great wines should not be accompanied by cheese. Cheese's heavy texture and taste rid the tongue of its ability to fully enjoy the richness and balance of a good wine. 

2. Vintage wine means expensive wine?

Vintage wine is a wine with a “birth year”. The term has been commonly misused to describe expensive wine. When in reality, most non-sparkling wines are vintage wines.

3. Slow dripping wine legs indicate a better quality wine?

The wine's legs (the "tears" that flow down on wine glass when you swirl) indicate the full-bodiness of the wine but give no indication of the wine's quality. Fuller-bodied wines generally have slower dripping legs.

4. Letting a bottle of uncorked wine sit for an hour can make the wine taste better?

Uncorking a bottle of wine and letting it sit for an hour is surely the worst way to treat yourself and your wine. Not only can you not drink the wine for an hour, the aerating method is ineffective. The narrow bottleneck simply prevents air from opening up the wine.

5. France is the country that produces the most wine?

Italy though smaller in size than France and California is the world's largest wine producing country. With ~20 wine regions stretching from its north and south end, Italy also offers the most variety of wines. 

6. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most planted grape?

“Cab” might be the most well-known type of red but definitely not the most planted grape. There are more merlot grapes planted in the world than any other red or white grapes.

7. Wine tastes much better with age?

This is true for premium, high quality wines, but not true for many wines. As a general rule of thumb; Inexpensive, dry white wines should be consumed within one to three years of its production year. Inexpensive red wines should be consumed in one to two years.

8. Red wine causes more headaches than white wine because of its higher sulfites content? 

Contrary to popular beliefs, sulfites (or sulfur dioxide) do not cause headaches. Our bodies produce sulfites each day. Sulfites can also be found as a preservative in many common daily foods. However, to those with asthmatic issues, sulfites can induce an allergic reaction.

Red wines have less added sulfites than white wines as their grape skins have natural preservative ability. Cheap, low alcohol white wines require more sulfites to prevent oxidation.

9. Storing an unfinished bottle of wine in the fridge is an effective way to preserve it? 

While great for white wines, putting intense red wines into the fridge will tone down its flavour and acidity. Even after warming, the wine will not taste the same.


( Article slightly adapted from Better Tasting Wine. Photo Credit: Abigail Emerson)

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