Those snobby myths about wine which actually prevent you from loving it

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Maria Sergeeva
February 5, 2018

If you think you don’t like wine, this is probably because you didn’t find yours. No need to be a master sommelier to know wine. At least, the most important is to understand which wine do you personally like and stop being victim of common snobbish myths.

When traveling, you try to discover the country by all possible means, including local food and wine. How to avoid disappointment, especially if you are not an inveterate wine lover? The same answer, just say goodbye to those stereotypes and meet wine open-minded.

You have to spend a lot of money to drink delicious wine

If you hear somebody saying “I don’t drink wine that costs less than $30 per bottle”, be sure, dont even know what they pay for. You don’t need to spend a fortune to drink good wine and vice versa you can’t be sure that you will like wine which costed you hundreds of dollars. The saying “you get what you pay for” doesn’t quite work with good-value wine.

The most important is to know what you are searching for, what is a price range per bottle and to try not to buy wine in supermarkets.

When you are not searching for a specific wine, specialists advice
spending around $12 to reach an optimal ratio of «price - quality». This price range is true for almost any country.

Old wine is good wine

Most of us tend to romanticize wine cellars and collections and are convinced that the older the wine the better. In fact, almost 98% of all wine are not meant to last long. Most of the wine we buy in the store is meant to be drunk immediately, with a shelf life of only about 3-5 years.

The ageing process is a little more complicated and primarily depends on the quality of the vintage, the characteristic of the varietal and the region of origin or the producer, which doesn’t correlate with the price of the bottle. However, if the wine you purchased was under $30, you’ve got a bottle meant to be popped soon after you bought it, tasting its best young.

The bottles you buy in supermarkets will never get better with age because of the conditions of storage, the wine meant to drunk young. Too much light, the position of the bottle and the most often the bottle itself make the wine only spoil after a certain period of time. To ensure an older wine’s quality once you receive it, there are some important steps to allow the wine to show at its best. A wine that has reached its plateau of maturity can be simply magical—offering nuances and textures unimaginable in a young wine. Such perfection may be reached only if the wine slumbers in a cool, dark place on its side. So don’t wait years until your red bought in Auchan for $200 improves.  Drink it with pleasure before it deteriorates.

White wine goes with fish and red wine goes with meat

A good but not universal way to choose the color of whine is to pair it with the color of the dish. Anyway, you should better take into consideration other factors like grape, acidity, age, oak – rather than just the colour of the wine.

A fatty, meaty fish like tuna, salmon, or swordfish pairs much better with a medium-bodied red than it would with a lighter white wine. A fruity, robust white like Chenin Blanc would perfectly highlight all the tints of taste of a bloody beef steak.

Sweet wines are for amateurs

Those who confess their love for sweet wines are automatically classified as unsophisticated, as sweetness is often associated with cheap jug wines. Even some advanced wine lovers regularly associate sweet wines mostly with fortified wines or German wines, with the exception of dessert wines, which many people think must be consumed with or after dessert.

You might be surprised to find out that in fact, some of the most high-quality and award-winning wines in the world land on the sweeter side. Riesling appears on the list of most expensive wines more than once, and French Sauternes and Italian Amarone rank up there with the best wines money can buy.

Whites should be served chilled, while reds should be served warm

You should face the truth: the most often, you have your white wine served too cold and red wine too warm, which can seriously affect the taste of wine. This fact is easy to explain. It is true that white wines should generally be consumed cooler than reds, but nowadays when we have refrigerators and ice all year round, our whites have become ice-cold. Reds, meanwhile, are to be served at “room temperature,” the principle appeared at a time when many rooms had thick stone walls, and the indoor temperature was around 15 degrees.

Serving whites too cold seriously compromises good bottles, hiding nuances and complexities. At the same time, the temperature will mask any flaws of a mediocre white. So if you order a glass of white at the corner bar, make sure the bottle comes directly from the refrigerator, it could save your evening,

For a fine white, however, take it out of the fridge a good half-hour before serving, and in restaurants, do not allow to put the bottle on ice before taking its temperature.

Reds are a bit  more complicated, depending on the age and texture of the wine. Ideally, a bottle should be slightly cool to the touch.. If a bottle seems too warm, 15 minutes in the fridge — or, at a restaurant, 10 minutes in an ice bucket — can work wonders. But remember tannic wines served too cold can seem tough and unpleasant.

Screw caps are used only for mediocre wine

Corks have been the preferred choice for closing wine since the beginning of modern Europe in the 1400’s. Screw caps for wine bottles are used around since the late 1950s. Originally associated with cheap wines, today screw caps can hide very good wines, which is especially true for wines from New Zealand and Australia.  Increasingly, winemakers prefer screw caps for white wines and reds meant to be drunk young. And its logical: corks are expensive (2-3x), need a limited natural resource, 1-3% affected by TCA ‘cork’ taint, natural corks breathe at variable rates. Cork alternatives are better simply because of the quality for the price, so why pay more if corks are indispensable only for wine which is meant to be aged, as it allows a little oxygen to pass naturally trough the cork and one aspect of aging has to do with the reaction of fruit acids with the alcohol. Don't judge a wine by how it's sealed.

Professional wine tasters know wine

This is a marketing trick, but both producers of wine and consumers are guilty of relying too on  the “magical” palates of professional judges. Customers see a golden seal on a bottle as a sign of high quality, when in reality they’re doled out based on junk science and subjective opinion. To pick up the bottle that fits you the best, you should make sense of your own preferences and not trust tastes of others. Several wine tours and tastings would be enough to have an idea about general characteristics of different grapes and lands, general rules of serving and tasting and to start developing your tastes. Concentrate on your own sensation and don’t forget to make notes.

Sulphites cause hangovers

And the funny most obvious myth for last. Let’s be straight. Too much alcohol causes hangovers, not sulphites. Sulphites are used to stabilize and preserve the wine. Low-sulphite wines drunk beyond measure will give you the same headache, don't even dream to come clean

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