7 Typical Mistakes When Choosing Wine
The Agony of Wine Selection
Perusing the wine section of your local supermarket can be intimidating.
If you're anything like me, after about 20 minutes of excruciating choice-making, you pick something in between the cheapest and the most expensive, and hope it doesn't taste like sewage.
A quick Google search confirms the same observation: people are desperately confused about all the "wine rules." What if you're over-chilling or over-warming the wine? Not letting it breathe, pairing it with the wrong food, using the wrong glasses, using the wrong pinkie curvature (straight or semi-circle?) when holding the wine glass or committing other deadly wine sins?
This article debunks some persistent wine prejudices to make your wine experience more enjoyable (and less confusing).
1. Good Wine is Expensive
Inexpensive wine is not necessarily bad.
The scenario that I see repeated over and over again is: people go to a restaurant and their first impulse is to order table (or house) wine. Instead, not wanting to seem cheap, they order the slightly more expensive wine as a "compromise".
There's nothing wrong with table wine, especially if you're traveling in the country that produces wine. I've drank gallons of retsina in Greece (resinated white or rose wine) which is considered a cheaper lower quality wine, and it was probably the best wine experience of my life.
2. Wine Always Gets Better with Age
Many people mistakenly believe that any wine gets better with age. This is not entirely true.There are wines that should be consumed as soon as possible, and there are those that can be stored for many years.
If you buy ordinary everyday wine, it is better to choose the latest harvest. The beauty of a young wine is in its freshness, juiciness, brightness. After three years, it will lose these properties and it will be unpleasant to drink.
Yet other kinds of wine become softer and more elegant with age.
Do you prefer...
3. Best American Wine is Made in California
This is a U.S.-born myth that is perpetuated by the California tourism industry.
When it comes to wine (or food), taste isn't everything. There are other considerations such as nutritional and chemical content of the product and its effect on your health and well-being.
Nearly all U.S.-grown grapes are sprayed with heavy fluoride-based pesticides (cryolite) that are banned in other countries. In fact, that is the reason why many US wines cannot be exported to Europe and other places: because their fluoride levels far exceed the safety standard used in developed nations.
And since California's Wine Country accounts for 90 percent of American wine production, California wines are loaded with this fluoride. If you want to drink domestic wines, try Washington or Oregon wines. They are made from grapes not treated with cryolite because it's "an insecticide that works against pests we don’t have."1
To know more about the effects of fluoride and how to reverse the damage, click HERE.
4. Rose Wine is For Girls
There is a growing trend lately, especially in the U.S., to drink rose wine. All expensive restaurants now have them in their wine lists. And it's not just for women anymore! Everyone enjoys it - young, old, feminine and very very masculine.
Still, you might think of rose wine as something frivolous and uninteresting. Some people even believe that it's made by mixing red and white wines. Needless to say, that's not true.
The most important thing you need to know about rose wine is: it needs to be drank "here and now". Indeed, the majority of rose wines are light, so they should not be stored for long.
5. Pair Red with Meat, White with Fish
The most common myth about wine is that white wine is only suitable for fish and red - only for meat. This is an unfortunate mistake that incredibly limits our gastronomical experiences. For example, some white wine is remarkably suitable for chicken, turkey and even pork.
That's one of the most important parts in any study of wine - how it complements the food, because one without the other is unthinkable. Any simple wine can blossom if correctly paired with the right food.
So don't be afraid to experiment! Your wine experience depends on a number of factors such as time, situation, company, mood etc. For example, I wouldn't drink a heavy red wine on a hot summer day. But on a chilly winter night, by the fireplace or curled up on the couch, it's perfect.
6. Funny Label = Bad Wine
Another common wine prejudice is: wine with funny labels is typically of poor quality. On the contrary, many manufacturers are now moving precisely in this direction - to making bright fun labels, with humor, with pictures of cats, chickens and frogs.
This is particularly true of the New World wines. Do not be afraid of them - most likely it will be a light, fresh wine.
The opposite is true: if you see a French wine with stuffy French names and images of castles, think of it as a cheap PR trick to get you to buy it.
7. Residue Means Artificial Color
A little sediment in wine - that's no reason to panic. It may be a loss of natural tannins and coloring matter in the wine aging process.
In any case, it is a good sign - you're drinking naturally aged wine that has not been through the filtering process, and therefore is not deficient of the substances that make up the very taste of the wine. Just pour the wine from the bottle into the decanter to get rid of the residue on the bottom.
Enjoy, and drink responsibly!
© 2014 Lana Adler