Les Grappes magazine with le parisien
The magazine Les
Grappes & Le Parisien
Everything you always wanted to know about wine but never dared to ask

Cheese and Meat = red wine; Fish = white wine

Have you always been told that that's how food and wine pairing works? Well, no. No. In reality, many cheeses do not go well with red wine at all, whose tannins sometimes create a very unpleasant metallic aftertaste... The majority of cheeses should in fact be accompanied by white wines (whose acidity counterbalances very well the fatness of the cheese). Of course, a good red meat will always make a sensation with a red wine, but a lot of white meat (veal and poultry) and lamb go perfectly with white wines! The same goes for fish: one day try to serve a light and fruity red wine with your grilled salmon, you won't be disappointed!

Champagne in the freezer and served in flutes

Probably the most dangerous preconceived notion! NEVER put a bottle of Champagne in the freezer before serving. The reason is simple: there is nothing worse for wine than sudden temperature changes. It is important to avoid at all costs to subject a bottle to strong temperature variations before opening. If your Champagne is not fresh enough, it is better to put it in the fridge one or two hours before serving it (but no pity freezer!). As for the flutes, despite their aesthetics, they are not suitable for fully appreciating the aromas of this type of wine. They do not facilitate the diffusion of aromas and limit too much the contact surface between wine and air. To taste Champagne seriously, we simply recommend "tulip" shaped wine glasses, better suited than flutes or glasses (more commonly used in cocktails).

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"White on red nothing moves, red on white everything goes away"

Your embarrassing uncle has necessarily already pronounced this expression during an endless family lunch on a Sunday afternoon, between the starter and the main course when he is enjoying Côtes-du-Rhône for the 7th time. Unfortunately for him, this is not always true. You can very well switch back to a white wine after drinking a red wine (at the time of cheese for example, see preconceived idea n°1). It is all a question of balance, of the sweetness of the wines and especially of the tannins: it is simply necessary to serve the most tannic wines after the lightest and driest, and to finish with the sweetest.

Rosé is a blend of red and white wine

As you can imagine, this somewhat naive idea is false (only 99%!). Rosé wine is generally obtained - just like red wine - by macerating grape skins (which contain red pigments) with the pressed juice. The only difference between rosé and red is that maceration is stopped much earlier to make rosé: the wine has barely begun to take on its red colour, so it is "rosé". CQFD.

PS: the remaining 1% are found exclusively in Champagne, where it is sometimes possible to make rosé Champagne by directly mixing white and red wines (quite rarely).

Sweet white wines are perfect as an aperitif

Unhappy! Unhappy! You'll saturate your taste buds! Without exaggeration, after a Sauternes, a Jurançon or other sweet wine with strong aromatic power and a long finish, it will probably be difficult for you to appreciate the next wine, especially if it is a subtle white or a light red. And with all this sugar, you might cut your appetite for the rest of the meal... So quickly put away this Sauternes that you had planned to serve with foie gras as a starter, and take it out again after dessert for example!

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The best time to enjoy is in the afternoon

As strange as it may seem, the best time to taste wine is in the morning, and on an empty stomach if possible! At that moment, your nose and palate are neutral, your senses are awake, and hunger makes you particularly sensitive to odours. On the other hand, if you eat in the morning on an empty stomach, don't forget to spit it out! The tasting will be all the more efficient and enjoyable.

The older a wine is, the better it is

This is not always true, of course. While there are excellent very old wines that have aged well and improved, this is not the case for all wines. Some wines are made to be kept and opened in several years (we speak of "wines for keeping", among which are the great red Bordeaux wines for example), but some are made to be drunk from an early age (the Beaujolais to name but a few). The wines of this second category will not be better after 10 years of ageing in the cellar, or even they will have lost their splendour if you wait too long to open them!

Rosé is an easy wine for the beach

Again, beware of generalizations. The real problem with rosé wine is that there are many more bad references than good ones. But some estates make very great rosé wines (in Provence or Roussillon for example), which can sometimes be very complex, aging, very interesting and good wines. Not all rosé wines are made to be mixed with grapefruit and drowned in ice cubes on the beach... (and fortunately!).

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Screw cap = poor quality wine (or even bad)

You have already refused to buy a bottle of wine (often from abroad) just because it was sealed with a screw cap, not a classic cork, because "it is less quality" and you doubt the quality of the wine. FALSE! In most of the New World wine producing countries (Australia, New Zealand, United States, South Africa), the vast majority of these screw caps are used rather than our European cork caps, for 2 reasons:

- Cultural reason: these countries being quite young in wine production, they do not have this used to cork, and prefer to favour an easy export of their bottles (the screw cap allows the wine to travel without risk).

- Practical reason: cork comes mainly from Europe (Portugal, Spain), and is therefore very difficult to access for all these countries. But very great wines also exist in these countries and with this rather special cork format.

A good wine is necessarily expensive

And no! No! And that's exactly what makes this beautiful product so interesting! In all regions, we can sometimes come across real nuggets, small vintages from unknown domains that are IN-CRO-YABLES (and often at very good prices). On the other hand, the price is not always a guarantee of quality, one sometimes finds wines much too expensive compared to what they are worth from a gustatory point of view (thanks to the brand image and reputation...). Then go to a wine store to try to find THE rare nugget that will satisfy your palate and your wallet!

Charles Henon (for Les Grappes)

Member of the Sup de Coteaux association of EM Lyon

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