In a world as sophisticated as wine you’d think the connoisseurs would have straightened up all these misconceptions by now. But the truth of the matter is many of the generalizations made come from the “experts”! Let’s see if we can’t straighten out a few of those by the end of this blog.
- Professionals Know Best:
Winemakers and consumers alike put a disproportionate amount of emphasis on the so-called “experts” whose taste varies from person to person. In order to prove that point Robert Hodgson, an oceanographer and winemaker conducted an experiment that rocked the wine world. Expert wine tasters were tested with varying wines and would rate them on a scale of 50-100. Unknowingly they would sample the same wine and rate it differently when they first did, and again differently on the third taste! Some were off by a margin of 8 points and only 10% remained consistent at a rate of a 2-point swing. This just goes to show that not even the experts know what they’re talking about.
- Size Matters
Bottle size that is. This myth started years ago when France and Italy would use darker and heavier bottles to denote a more serious wine. This practice got around and now marketers are doing the same thing! Although the extra dollar you pay is not because the wine is of any superior quality but because their shipping costs are higher.
- Sweet Wines are for Amateurs
No one should be bullied into sipping on a wine they can barely palate and if an earthy wine isn’t your style then that’s why sweeter wines were created! It’s not pedestrian by any means to enjoy a wine that’s a little on the sweeter side. In fact, some of the most expensive wines in the world are sweet such as a Riesling which consistently makes the top 10 most expensive wines list. Kick up your feet and enjoy a dessert wine at the end of the day if it makes you happy.
- Boxed Wines are Plebeian
Once again, we have another example of “experts” trying to force and bully people into enjoying a brand of wine. The only reason boxed wine is cheaper than bottled is a) they’re saving on packaging, and b) they’re saving on shipping. So many other countries have changed their ideologies about boxed wines, Australia, Sweden, Norway, being just a few whose market is comprised of 50% boxed wine sales. The United States is merely 18% but that’s sure to change when people come out of their prejudices against cardboard.
- Spend More
When it comes to differentiating wines, consumers are no more adept at identifying a good wine than the experts. A study was done in which consumers were asked to blind taste a wine and give it a value and most were so off it would have been better if they flipped a coin. Similarly, people tend to enjoy wine more if they are told it is more expensive rather than if they weren’t. Do yourself a favour and buy a cheaper bottle if you really want to and don’t worry about it being “cheap”.
- Corks are Better than Screw Tops
This misconception comes more from traditionalists than anything. Cork is the traditional way to seal wine and there is nothing wrong with it (although if it is not done properly problems like “corking” can arise). Screw tops have become the new norm in new world winemaking because of two reasons. The first is the preservation of cork trees which need to be cut to make cork. And the second is screw tops provide a more complete seal. There is no chance of corking or further aeration of the wine. Both ways have their merits, but no one is better than the other.
- Older Wines are Better
This misconception about wine is so common that my Uncle has bottles of wine in the basement older than I am, and I’m pretty sure they’re just vinegar at this point. 90% of all wines produced are meant to be consumed within the first two years. So, go ahead, drink up!
- Red is for Meat, White is for Fish
This is a general rule of thumb for most dishes but not always the case! Plenty of light bodied reds can be paired with hearty fish like tuna, and salmon. And likewise, a nice full-bodied white will pair wonderfully with pork and yes even some red meat. Do a little research into your wine!
- Champaign for Special Occasions
Why limit your palate to only once or twice a year? Champagne pairs perfectly with so many dishes and can be purchased in the $10-$20 range. Vegetables and seafood would go very well with such a versatile wine and who needs to wait for a celebration?
- Blended Wines are Inferior
This was a myth I believed for years and forced myself out of it once I realized that so many of the classics are blended wines. Bordeaux, Chianti, Rioja where would the wine world be without this array of blended wines. Blended wines make the top ten most expensive list regularly! Take a chance on a blended wine and fall in love with a new mix of grapes.
If you want to learn more about wine ask us at Macedo Winery, we would love to hear from you.