» 5 Wine Myths- Busted! Or Not.
By Gregory Dal Piaz
Curious about what wines you should to have on hand at all times? Check out our list of the six you should have, and make sure you stock your cabinets!
Gregory Dal Piaz,
Wine and food pairing has never been as simple as often presented. Red with meat and white with fish is a basic as it gets. Method of preparation and sauces are important factors. Personal preferences also enter the picture.
Sweet wines and deserts should really be sweet wines and foods (desert is really just a course)--as a rule the wine should be sweeter than the desert/food. (whether you desert is double chocolate cake or stilton.
The critic issue is surprising. A good critic has one main responsibility and that is to accurately describe the wine and place into some context. This is NOT opinion, it is objective observation and indicates to the consumer what the wine's flavor profile is.
After this, the rest is certainly opinion. There is a difference between opinion and informed opinion though.
Sep 19, 2012 at
I would suggest that you place red wine in the fridge for at least One Hour, 15 minutes is not going to bring the wine from 70 plus degree to the preferred lower 60ties. Unless you place it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Aways remember you can warm the wine in the glass with your hand. No way to cool it unless your iceman!
Sep 19, 2012 at
And another factor: Location, location, location.
Sitting at a table buried in various foods and facing east out toward the setting sun from a portside restaurant in Pozzuoli or Procida or Positano, it is no problem to enjoy some prosciutto or saltimbocca alla Romano with a crisp, dry, cold falanghina or prosecco or similar dry Italian.
Similarly, when you are inside on a chilly day or up at a bit of campania altitude, all sorts of raw, steamed, dried, and fried fish go well with a local red, a bit chilled, out of a pitcher. This could be why it is so hard to replicate that moment, and you may find that a wine you had in lone location with one food no longer does it quite as well as that one time.
Advice about serving temperature rarely takes into account the fact that the temperature in the glass is a changing factor. If wine accompanies a 20- or 30-minute meal, it will warm up along the way. At home I deliberately start with the wine on the cool side, and by the end of the meal it's a little warmer than ideal. Probably the most common error is to start with the wine too warm.
Sep 19, 2012 at
Been drinking and tasting wine for about 50 years and it's nice to seen a concise expression of reality versus myth. mjapka's comment about location fits in perfectly: that wine at that location and that moment will probably not be the same at the next location and moment. Your closing comment is as close to truth as any adage in wine: trust your own palate. (Okay if I reproduce this article for my next tasting?)
Sep 19, 2012 at
"trust your own palate"
This is IMO, the single most idiotic piece of advice imaginable. Think about it. It implies that people are idiots who would try something someone else has liked and upon not liking it themselves would continue drinking it.
Do people hear a critic (or uncle Fred) or anyone tell them that Wagner is wonderful to listen to then upon listening to Wagner and not liking the music themselves go out and buy the entire CD collection and continue listening?!
Many people enjoy caviar. I tried it and don't like it. Do I continue to eat it because others rave about it?
When offering advice in buying a car do we end with "remember buy the car you like" or "I love silver in that car but remember, you should buy the color you like.." and so on.
As for the temperature thing.
There is far too much obsessing about this. "Serving wine at room temperature" is not a myth. Eventually all wine will arrive at room temperature. No glass of wine remains at one temperature below or above room temperature for more than a minute or so.
If anything most white wines should be served colder than optimum.
location, location, location is partially true. Where we are when eating and drinking has a lot to do with the overall experience to be sure. It has little to do with specific wine and food pairing. The examples mjapka offers work either way. The lightly chilled red would work as well in both scenarios as would the whites mentioned.
Sep 20, 2012 at
Mjapka’ final thought in his post is an accurate thought for most of us who travel: “This could be why it is so hard to replicate that moment, and you may find that a wine you had in lone location with one food no longer does it quite as well as that one time.” Trentonpet says: “trust your own palate.” And may I add to this: enjoy the wines that give you the flavors you like.
Like Trentonpete, I have been drinking wines for a long time, over 60 years started in 1953 in a little town outside of Paris at grade school and on spring and summer Sundays at the picnics the Japanese Embassador held at his home. We lived on a country lane across from his home. In 1967 started work as a sommellier after returning form the French University at Grenoble. Drank a lot of wine at cafes, bistros, and in family dinning rooms. Also had the pleasure of drinking good french bordeaux and burgundy in Turkey while at school and Beirut while on Vacation. Drank wine for over 12 years while living in Japan and visiting Hong Kong and Singapore on regular business trips setting up purchases of wines for the Tokyo and Osaka Market. As for me the enjoyment of the wine is enhances by the surroundings and situations of the times. Be it on a French country side hill with the sun in on your face and the breeze cooling you down or on the Champs looking at the ladies pass by. Your palate will receive the wine as it likes.
Wine is a living substance which our palates enjoy or are put off by. We enhance this experience with our attitude and how the surrounding enviroment effects our emotions. I drink all sorts of wines and try to appreciate them all, and if not, then I will add water and get on with my meal and conversation. Pairing wines as an exact science is very foolish in my experience when dealing with customers. My palate is very well experienced with wine and very forgiving but another’s can be very restrained by whimsical rules which does not allow exceptions or he may not have a lot of experience and just wants to drink a wine he enjoys and not be bothered by what the Wine Brotherhood strongly suggests that he drink. He wants to enjoy the moment. He is not worreid about seeking the Brotherhood’s approval or anyone elses. He is getting on with life and allowing his wine and surroundings embellish the moment.
Sep 22, 2012 at
Obviously, one's environment impacts one's enjoyment or lack of enjoyment. However, a sommelier or retailer can't very well impact the environment in recommending a wine. This has little to do with myth, it is a given.
However, there are reasons behind recommending any wine and food pairing. (there should be). Some are scientific ie tannins and certain seafood and acidity in the wine and.......
One can reject or amend these "tried and true" pairings--Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin has noted he like Red Bprdeaux with oysters. The horror! That's what he likes and he readily admits it is hard to make any "sense" of it. Fine.
The rules always allow for exceptions! But rules are important. They are at the least a starting point.
My point is, in the end, most everyone trusts their own palates. I know of few who cower drinking wines they don't really like with or without food.
Here are some greater and more pervasive myths among the cognoscenti:
Minerality is the result of literally tasting the soil.
White Zinfandel (or pink or blush) is an inferior wine drunk by people who don't know better.
Americans talk dry but prefer sweet.
Fruit bombs do not express their terroir.
Lighter, minerally (there's that word again) "earthy wines do.
Sep 23, 2012 at
Winemaven, I enjoyed your response and believe that your concepts are closer to the true nature of wine drinker’s thoughts about wine then the wine advertisers and wine department marketing people would care to admit in print.
I prefer seeing Pairing as a guide line rather than a rule. As all wine drinker’s pallets are on a scale of development. The pallet development is not static one but forever expanding as new flavors are tasted. What tastes good today may change after a few more bottles of different wines that could improve the taste of the food.
The real problem I see in the wine world is the intense effort by media, and that includes a lot of bloggers, to put all wine drinkers in the same category of somewhat experienced drinkers. People who need to follow the media’s guidance to know what is good and what is really good and all the rest which is not spoken of be relegated to inferior substance.
I believe that 88% of Americans do not drink wine on a regular basis from a survey I saw recently. I do not know how the study was made so I am not taking it with anything but a large grain of salt. But I believe that it confirms what I have known since I began selling wine as a sommelier and later as a salesman, that the American public has little interest in exploring the different wines available and the different qualities available as it is all too consuming in effort and money. They expect to be experts in wine in a very short time or else they do not get involved in the study of wine.
The joy of a life time of learning and the fun of discovering wines in different stages of development in the bottle as the bottle ages has always been a fascination for me. It gives me guidance to the nature of that wine in the bottle and possibly what to expect with more bottle aging or in some cases what I missed because the wine as aged to much or has been mishandled.
I prefer to think of some of these rules people banter about in news print and on websites as more of guidelines to inform the wine drinker of what he might expect to find as he experiences more different wines with foods he likes. Eric Ripert preference to Red Bordeaux with oysters is an excellent example of a person familiar with wines and pairing but letting his taste buds and pallet dominate his selection of wine for a meal. Our pallets are so varying from anything thing people could identify as a norm that people starting out to drink wine should be encourage to drink what they like not what educated, well read, well meaning wine writer or a sommelier has to offer to comply with ivory walled wine educated opinions he has studied under.
When I study with and talk to people now no longer with us: Andre Simon, Frank Schoonmaker, Louis Martini, August Sebastian in Sonoma, Karl Wente, Martin Ray and Brother Timothy, you got a scense that wine was for enjoyment and that a wine maker had to be sure to make wine for people to enjoy. This had nothing to do with chasing after connoisseurs by concentrating on one style of wine at the winery. This style of making a connoisseurs wine to be collected for future drinking was to be secondary in importance to building a public following to your ordinary every day drinking wine labels.
Martin Wray was interested in concentrating on two styles of wine, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but he did not add ingredients or reduce flavor or substance to create a wine acceptable to so called Wine Experts who popped up in the mid 60’s. His wines were natural and if they did not age well in the bottle and turned south, well that was the nature of that vintage and we should experience it and appreciate it. He wanted his wines to be what mother nature allowed them to be under his wine making theories. He wanted his followers to appreciate all the wines he made so they could learn about the changes in wines and that wines were not static in flavor year after year but living elements of life and should be enjoyed that way.
Now this idea has been reversed for the reason of individual pride, profits and fame. See if wine bloggers in general talk very much about the wines made for the general public, I mean to say are they addressing what new wine drinkers can enjoy without all the analysis of the wine and critical comments good and bad? We make it difficult for people to understand wine these days and often intimidate them with comments beginning with: “You should drink this if you want to be like him”, or “don’t think of drinking any wine less then 90 points.” Or “ The proper way to drink this wine is precisely like this or else you just can not capture its’ true essence. Drinking a wine without capturing its’ true essence is a Faux Pas unacceptable to me an old timer who strived to bring joy to the table through wine selections that pleased many at the table not only the host.
This forum of Snooth I find very interesting because it is made up of some well educated writers and researchers who are more interested in presenting wines truthfully rather than promoting ideas and fashions more suited in the way 5th Avenue acts for its’ clients. And the readers are very knowledgeable about wine in general and often present sound judgments towards the Snooth articles or fellow readers comments. And so I see from time to time interesting discussion about the Myths of Wine from the Cognoscenti as Mr. Winemaven points out in his response to my comment and other’s.
These Myths are important to the many who feel the calling of life is to write and research about wine and step up upon a soap box to pontificate all day long. However there are many of us who are also teachers of wine and wine making philosophy whether it be in the Classical sense or the Nouveau Style. We have, if we chose carry it, a responsibility to assist people to enjoy wine and who want to learn more about it, to be able to work through the Myths on to a more truthful stage of understanding.
I feel that Snooth does a very good job of this and so do the readers who participate with their comments for discussion purposes.
People like myself, who have been in the business since the 50’s and 60’s can bring to light much of what existed and was accepted as truisms in those days before the mid 60’s and certainly the 70’s when technology and money change the world of wine making in American and Australia. But our stories as also filled with Myths that need to be unraveled with common sense and research.
I think we all like to think of wine as a drink to be enjoyed by all who enjoy eating well, that many of us here in the Snooth forum, want to help ourselves and others enjoy wines by allowing them to experience the road in the vineyards of wines. But we need not use a cattle prod to drive our listeners and students back onto the true path as we see it.
They need to wonder off to a hill side to enjoy the spring flowers and sun or follow a small bubbling brook through endless reeds and moss covered stones. Who are we to judge what they will experience and enjoy on these side trips from the made road to the Utopia World of Wine. Let them have the freedom to roam without hard fast rules or even strong suggestion until their pallets reach a level of understanding from which they can apprehend the suggestion and comprehend the way acid and tannin work on the food flavors while chewing the food. Until them allow them to be uneducated by The Word and Written Text and be informed by flavors of wine and food coming together on their own pallet. We just need to encourage them to drink different wines. To explain what they are tasting when they are confused. Give them guidance to different wines without paddling their hands with a ruler. A thing of my days in French and American Catholic schools
Sep 23, 2012 at