While many of us think we know our wine, there are some quirky beliefs that we just can’t shake. From great wine having great ‘legs’ to preserving sparkling wine fizz with a metal spoon, let’s debunk these popular wine myths.
Wine gets better with age
SOMETIMES: Admit it – even the most astute of wine lovers have chosen to age a wine in the belief it will make it better. However, not all wine is made to go straight to the cellar; in fact, a staggering 90 per cent of wine is made to be consumed within the first two years of harvest. While wines with high tannin and acidity levels, such as Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon are best consumed after a period of aging, most winemakers tend to produce harvests that reach their drinking peak within the first 18 months.
Red wine is best served at room temperature
NO: It’s commonly thought that only room temperature will do when it comes to serving red wine. However, room temperature actually isn’t red wine’s ideal serving temperature – if you want to get the best out of your bottle of red, you need to serve it between 14-18 degrees. For context, the average room temperature during the Australian summer can reach temperatures in excess of 35 degrees.
Serving red wine that is too hot will result in aromas being overpowered by alcohol, while reds served too cold will be stripped of their rich character so you will miss out on the full effect of what the wine has to offer. That is why it is best to store your red wine in an appropriate wine storage solution, such as a Grand Cru wine fridge, to ensure you are always serving your reds at their peak temperature.
You can keep the fizz in opened sparkling wine with a metal spoon
NO: This could be a trick that’s been passed down through generations of wine lovers, but that does not make it true. Despite the fact this tip is not based in any evidence, that doesn’t mean many of us haven’t put a metal spoon in corked bottle of champagne to preserve its bubbles before we store it in the fridge.
While the theory behind this myth isn’t too farfetched – the good conducting abilities of metal means the spoon chills quickly and emits cool air, therefore making it difficult for gas to escape from the bottle – the reality is that many researchers have tried to test this concept to no avail. We say buy a quality sparkling wine stopper instead!
Great wines have great legs
NO: The dribbles that cling to your glass of freshly swirled wine may represent the colour of your drink, but they certainly don’t tell you anything about its quality.
Contrary to what many believe, legs are not an indication of good wine – rather, they can provide you with a clue to the alcoholic strength and colour intensity of your wine.
Reds must be served with meat and whites with fish
SOMETIMES: Meat goes with reds and fish goes with whites, right? We’re throwing a spanner in the food and wine pairing works by telling you that this concept is part myth, part correct.
Dishes are best paired with wines that match their intensity, flavour and boldness, regardless of whether they are red or white. A powerful Cabernet Sauvignon would overwhelm a delicate creamy pasta, while a crisp Pinot Grigio would fail to match a hearty lamb stew. That being said, there is an exception to the rule when it comes to wine and food – meaty fishes like salmon actually pair far better with medium-bodied reds like Sangiovese than white wines, while a hunk of steak will more than meet its wine match with a robust white in the form of a Chenin Blanc.
Wines are named by their varietal
SOMETIMES: While wines lovers from amateur to astute browse the shelves of their local bottle shop by grape, that does not mean they will always find the varietal they’re looking for on the label.
That is because not all wines are labelled by varietal. Each country has different classifying systems for wine, based on labelling laws that require winemakers to list the grapes they use. As a general rule of thumb, wines are named according to whether they are Old or New World. Old World wines, which originate from traditional winegrowing regions such as Europe and the Middle East, are named by region while New World wines, such as those from Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and the United States (pretty much every winemaking country that is not in Europe) are labelled by varietal.
Now you’ve brushed up on your wine knowledge, it’s time to brush up your wine storage game. Find a wine storage solution to nurture your wine collection at Grand Cru.