Wine Myths and Fallacies

| August 3, 2012 | 0 Comments

By Ben Bodenstein –

There are enough wine myths, fallacies and misinformation to intimidate or scare off the average buyer and we think it is about time to blow the top off of them. Most of these wine bloopers have been around for decades, some for centuries.

Let’s start with wine temperature. The old raspberry about serving red wines at room temperature has been around for a very long time and is just a bunch of hooey. The rooms that they are talking about were in 18th century homes that had no central heating or air conditioning; that means hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The solution for keeping their wine safe was to store them in their cool basements which were about 60 degrees Fahrenheit all year long; and so grew the room temperature rule. While cooler temperatures will help preserve the life of a red wine, most of us drink it soon after we buy it, so there is no need for cool storage unless you are a collector and plan to worship them rather than drink them.

Now that we got the temperature problem solved let’s look at wine storage. Wine racks are great if you plan to show off your wines rather than enjoy them, are usually expensive and take up a lot of room. Wine bottles with natural cork closures (and how do you know what kind of closure is in the bottle with the metal or plastic cover over the top) usually have to be stored on their side to keep the cork moist. Again that is true only if you plan to store the bottles over a few years. For the rest of us poor souls who plan to drink their wine within a few days, hours or months, if you can keep your hands off of it for that long, upright storage is fine. For wines without natural cork closures, anything goes.

A good rule of thumb is to NOT drink a red wine the same day you bring it home from the store. Red wines develop “bottle sickness;” off flavors that will disappear in about eight to twelve hours. White wines should be served cool, not cold. If the wine is too cold, you lose many of the aromas and flavor attributes that you bought the wine for in the first place.

Wine glasses, now there is a subject for argument and debate. There is no question that a proper wine glass will directly influence the flavor and aroma of a wine. First and most important is that the glass should not have a raised rim around the top. The raised rim deflects the wine rather than direct it to the wine tasting portions of your tongue. The answer is fairly simple, buy enough good wine glasses for the people that normally sit at your table, One company has even produced a series of wine glasses specially designed for each wine grape variety; very good but very costly.

The question often arises, how long will a wine last in the bottle? For red wines it’s three to five years under average household conditions; much longer if you have a wine storage cooler. For white wines, it is much shorter usually one to three years depending on the variety and again, much longer in a cooler.

Another great fallacy is the opening of a sparkling wine bottle. Never go for the loud pop. This may work for effect on TV but does nothing for the wine. The great explosion of gas as the cork erupts from the bottle takes with it a lot of the aroma and much of the gas that produces the bubbles. This will cause the wine to go flat in a very short time and after all, it was the bubbles that you paid for. The cork should be eased out, preferably with a towel over the top of the bottle to prevent accidents as that cork has a lot of pressure behind it.

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Category: Wine Zombie Articles

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