The 5 Biggest Wine Etiquette Myths
Traditionally there has been a certain amount of pretence, pomp and ceremony, and a sprinkling of snobbery surrounding wine and wine etiquette. While there are some points you should take into consideration to ensure you get the best experience, always remember wine enjoyment is highly subjective, so learn as much about wine as you can, but never feel intimidated or overwhelmed.
We’ve listed five widely held, but mistaken notions to help you separate wine fact from wine fiction.
Theatrical sniffing, swirling and sipping
When tasting wine, it is true that swirling the glass does help to incorporate air and release the aromas of the wine, but it should be done subtly and you don’t have to be over the top. The same goes for checking for colour – this can be done against any white background like a table cloth or napkin, you don’t need to wave it around in the air.
Screw caps means cheap or inferior quality
Certainly, in Australia and New Zealand where the majority of wine is now bottled under screw cap, this statement is absolutely false. While there is a romance surrounding the slight pop of a cork easing out of a bottle, the great advantage of a screw cap is that the wine can’t be corked. This is particularly important in white varietals that benefit from ageing including Hunter Valley Semillon which was traditionally bottled under cork and often suffered from oxidisation.
Always drink white wine cold and red wine warm
Most of us serve white wine a bit too cold and reds a bit too warm. When a white wine is too cold you can’t appreciate its aromas, taste its flavours nor pick up on the texture. It’s best to give chilled white wine a little time to warm up, that way you’ll experience its true characters.
On the other hand, in climates like Australia, some red wines can often be served way too warm, especially in the summer months when a hot glass of Cabernet is not a pleasant experience at all. Serving red wine with a little bit of chill (about 30 minutes in the fridge) enhances the fruit, rounds out the tannins and will help make the alcohol level more seamless. Lighter reds with bright acidity and those made from thinner-skinned grapes like Pinot Noir really benefit from some time in the refrigerator.
Wine always gets better with age
Not all wine is made to age, in fact, today most wines are crafted to be enjoyed when released and while they are still young. There are now two very distinct wine styles, those made to be aged and those that are drink-now styles. Those wines that should and can be aged usually have high tannin and acidity, and don’t generally drink-well until they are aged fully and reach their full potential.
The Champagne glass tilt
Most of us naturally tilt the glass when pouring Champagne. This practice is really just to ensure the glass can be filled in one pour. The better option is to make the first pour, allow the bubbles to settle, then top the glass up.
With these wine myths exposed, you can confidently explore the big wide world of wine. Let’s all raise a glass to wine – discover it, share it and enjoy it!