With an enriching history of over 10000 years today wine is produced in almost every country of the world where the law permits. It’s not surprising to see how wine cultures are different from one country to another but alongside these differences there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding wine. While every country would have its own I have listed below some of the most commonly heard myths surrounding this drink of the gods.
Old is Gold
While there are some wines which do mature over the years when stored correctly, majority of the wines today are meant to be consumed young. Most of the wines available in the market today are best consumed within a couple of years of the harvest or the vintage mentioned on the bottle. Be it red or white each wine needs to have certain characteristics to be able to age them and unless you are sure about that do not store your wine away for long.
White Wine, White Meat and Red Wine, Red Meat
It’s funny how people reconfirm this with me during our interactions and I often answer this question for them from a vegetarians point of view. This statement can be considered a guideline but can never go down as a rule. Some of the most popular fish delicacies match red wine perfectly while there are many other meats which can be paired with a red or a white wine. Wine and food is all about experimenting and exploring a combination that culminates your dining experience.
Leaving a bottle open allows it to breathe
While some wines do improve with breathing hoping to achieve it through an open bottle is being over optimistic. The little surface area of wine in contact with the oxygen will not allow the wine to reach the desired results. Wine breathes a lot better in a decanter or even a wine glass. These days there are wine aerators which can be used to aerate one glass at a time.
Screw Cap means indicate inferior quality
Natural corks have been a preferred choice for
sealing wine bottles for centuries now however it was a shortage in the supply of quality corks in the 80’s which led to popularity of cork alternatives such as synthetic corks and screw caps. These days screw caps are a closure of choice for many wineries across the globe (including the premium ones). Just like the natural corks, some screw caps also allow the wine to develop in the bottle through micro oxidation.
Red wine is best served at Room Temperature
Who ever made that statement was sitting in a cool location somewhere in Europe many years ago. What they actually meant was 18 – 20 degree Celsius, which is the ideal temperature for having full bodied wines like a Shiraz or a Cabernet. Lighter bodied red wines are best enjoyed at 14 – 16 degrees Celsius. So if you are living in the unforgiving heat of Delhi (like me) it’s best to give your red wine about an hour to chill in the refrigerator once you get it from the store (do not put the wine in the freezer, be patient).
It’s true that the world of wine is like an ocean (deep and wide) but just like you don’t do an analysis of the ocean before taking a cruise you don’t have to be a connoisseur to enjoy a glass (or bottle) of wine. Just like you don’t need a professional course in culinary arts to enjoy and appreciate a good meal you don’t need to know everything before appreciating a wine. For some of us these experiences do drive us to learn more about the subject, but this is not a pre requisite.
Just remember what you like and stick to it but if you are an adventurous kind(like me) this beautiful world of wine has a lot to offer.