Oenologie - Les 10 (fausses) idées reçues à propos du vin - Les Grappes

The 10 (false) misconceptions about wine

Cheese and Meat = red wine; Fish = white wine

Did they always tell you that's how wine and food pairings work? Well, no, they didn't. In fact, many cheeses don't go well at all with red wine, whose tannins sometimes create a very disappointing metallic aftertaste.pleasant...Most cheeses should actually be accompanied by white wines (whose acidity counterbalances very well the fat of the cheese). Certainly, a good red meat will always be a sensation with a red wine, but many white meats (veal and poultry) and lamb go perfectly with white wines! Same thing for fish: try one day 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 misconception! NEVER put a bottle of Champagne in the freezer before serving it. 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 (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 the wine and the air. To taste Champagne seriously, we simply advise you to use "tulip" shaped wine glasses, better adapted than flutes or glasses (rather used in cocktails).

"White on red nothing moves, red on white it all goes away "

Your annoying uncle must have already pronounced this expression at an interminable family lunch on a Sunday lunchtime, between the starter and the main course when he was serving Côtes-du-Rhône for the 7th time. Unfortunately for him, this is not always true. One can very well switch back to a white wine after having drunk a red one (at the time of the cheese for example, cf. received idea n°1). It's all a question of balance, the sweetness of the wines and especially the tannins: simply serve the most tannic wines after the lightest and driest, and finish with the sweetest.

The rosé is a mixture of red wine 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 the grape skins (which contain the red pigments) with the pressed juice. The only difference between rosé and red is that the maceration is stopped much earlier to make rosé: the wine has hardly started to take on its red colour, so it is "rosé". CQFD.

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

Sweet white wines are perfect as an aperitif.

Woe betide you! You will saturate your taste buds! Without exaggeration, after a Sauternes, a Jurançon or other sweet wine with a strong aromatic power and a long finish, it will undoubtedly 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 risk cutting off your appetite for the rest of the meal... So put away quickly this Sauternes that you had planned to serve with the foie gras as a starter, and bring it out again after dessert for example!

The best time to taste is in the afternoon.

Strange as it may seem, the best time to taste wine is in the morning, and on an empty stomach if possible! At this time, your nose and palate are neutral, your senses are awake, and hunger makes you particularly sensitive to smells. 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 effective and enjoyable.

The older a wine is, the better it is

This is of course not always true. While there are some 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 talk about "vins de garde", among which the great red Bordeaux wines for example), but some are made to be drunk at an early age (the Beaujolais to name but a few). Wines in this second category will not be better after 10 years in the cellar, or 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 wines, very interesting and good to keep. Not all rosés are made to be mixed with grapefruit and drowned in ice cubes on the beach... (and fortunately!).

Screw cap = poor quality wine (even bad)

Have you ever refused to buy a bottle of wine (often from abroad) just because it was closed?It was closed with a screw cap, and not with a classic cork, because "it's less quality" and you doubted the quality of the wine. FALSE! In most of the New World wine producing countries (Australia, New Zealand, USA, South Africa), we mostly use these screw caps rather than our European cork stoppers, for 2 reasons :

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

- Practical reason: cork comes mainly from Europe (Portugal, Spain), and is therefore very little accessible for all these countries. But there are also some very great wines in these countries with this rather special cork format.

A good wine is bound to be expensive.

And no! And this is precisely 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-YABLE (and often at very good prices). On the other hand, the price is not always a guarantee of quality, we sometimes find wines that are far too expensive compared to what they are worth from a gustative point of view (thanks to the brand image and reputation...). So go to a wine shop and try to find THE rare nugget that will satisfy your palate and your wallet!

Charles Henon (for Les Grappes)

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