Wine Myth Busters
By Jimmy Quaile, Certified Sommelier
The old cliche, â€œDonâ€™t believe everything you hearâ€ is never more true than in the world of wine. Some of these â€œfactsâ€ have been passed down through so many generations of wine drinkers youâ€™d think there was no doubt about them...and youâ€™d be wrong. Here are a few long-held myths and their realities.
Â - All wines get better with age.
Not true. Then again, wine doesnâ€™t get worse either. Lets put it this way, wine changes over time; The fruit deteriorates, the acid calms down, and the tannins, if there are any, get softer. Actually, over 90 percent of wine is best upon release. Only those wines with sufficient tannins are able to age and â€œget betterâ€. My rule? It is best to drink a wine a year early than a day late!
- Smelling the cork at a restaurant tells you if the wine is bad.
Not true. Cork smells like CORK! You are presented the cork to see if it is "sound", meaning dried out or broken. A dry, crumbling cork would tell you the wine was not stored properly. And even then, the smell of corkÂ could
Â blow off in a short amount of time. That does not mean that cork doesnâ€™t ruin wine, sometimes it does. That is why some winemakers choose screw cap. But serving you the screw cap in a restaurant would be weird.
- A â€œbad vintageâ€ means that no wine from that year was good.
Not true. A good producer can make good wine in a bad year....just less of it.
- The â€œlegsâ€ in the glass is an indication of a good wine.
Not true. The lines that fall slowly on the inside of the glass is an indication of alcohol. The thicker and slower the streams - the higher degree of alcohol. The temperature and humidity of the room, the surface of the glass and residual sugar also play a part in the viscosity of the wine. But saying you like the wineâ€™s viscosity doesnâ€™t sound nearly as cool as saying it has nice legs.
- The better wines have a deeper hole in the bottom.
Not true. The hole in the bottom of a wine bottle, called a â€œpuntâ€ is solely the result of glassblowing techniques back in the day. It prevented the bottle from having a sharp corner and made it easier to stand upright. The only reason they have a punt these days is to make buyers think itâ€™s a better wine. In other words, marketing.
- Just opening the bottle lets the wine â€œbreatheâ€.
Not true. Well, kinda not true. Yes, a wine that is exposed to air changes the components of the wine in the same way a cut apple begins to turn the exposed flesh brown. The unexposed part of the fruit remains unchanged. Simply opening a bottle will have virtually no effect. You would have to decant the wine thereby exposing ALL of the juice to oxygen.
-All Rieslings are sweet.
Nein! This assumption had validity at one point, but modern day styles of Riesling can be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet. Even the German terms used to describe the wine (Kabinett, SpÃ¤tlese, Auslese, etc.) are indications of ripeness and not necessarily residual sugar. As in all wines, balance is the key. If sweetness is balanced with acidity the perception of sugar wonâ€™t be a factor.
- A screw cap means itâ€™s a cheap wine.
Not true. Yes itâ€™s true that many inexpensive wines use a screw cap, however, there are expensive wines that do also. Itâ€™s the winemakerâ€™s choice. Some wineries will use both depending on the varietal. A wine with less age potential, say Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, may simply require a screw cap, whereas other wines, lets say Bordeaux or Cabernet, may benefit from a little oxygen that the naturally porous cork allows.
-Organic wine does not have Sulfites.
Not true. Sulfites occur naturally inÂ all wines
. A wine that is â€œCertified Organicâ€ means that noÂ additional
Â sulfites were added.
-All Sommeliers are wine snobs.
Not True. We just like good wine. Now that I think about it, that one may be true. Lol
Top 10 Most Mispronounced Wine Names
Cotes Du Rhone - (Coat-du-rohn) No S sound.
Poully-Fuisse - (Pwee-fwee-say) No L sound.
Pinot Gris - (Peeno-GREE). No S sound.
Semillon - (Seh-me-yhon) No L sound.
Meritage - ( Meri-tidge) Like Heritage.
Viognier - (VEE-oh-nyay) No G sound.
GewÃ¼rztraminer - (Guh-VERTS-tra-mee-ner) No W sound.
Graves - (Grahv) No S Sound
Meursault - (Merr-so) No T sound.
Tempranillo - (tem-prah-NEE-yoh) No L sound.