Exploding some of wine’s most flagrant myths:
• What grows together, goes together. Often true, but there are many exceptions. Thai food goes great with German riesling—they are half a world apart. Yes, Italian food goes great with Italian wine, but that is nowhere near the whole story. If you want to explore wine, experiment, blaze new trails, embrace adventure.
• White wine–fish, red wine–red meat. As a general, very general rule, this works, but as iron clad rule, no way. Pinot noir pairs wonderfully with salmon, shrimp pairs with barbera, there are many other examples. Bold steaks pair with bold reds, delicate white fish pairs with delicate whites, but everything in between is wide open for adventure.
• Rosé is only for summer. Oh, please, no. Rosé stands shoulder-to-shoulder with reds and whites. There are three colors of wines, and rosé is one. Some rosé wines are treacly sweet plonk—so are some red and whites—but there are so many rosés that are so much more. Explore rosé.
• Expensive wine will be better than wine that costs less. Not even close to true. Wine that costs more gives you better odds it is superior, but there is absolutely no guarantee. Joy of wine is discovering nice bottle, nice price.
• Boutique wineries make better wines than big corporations. Small producers produce splendid wines, that does not mean mass-market winemakers cannot produce quality wine. Small producers hit exceptional highs when they know what they are doing and all goes right—key, when all goes right. Mass producers consistently produce quality year over year at affordable price points—that is their mission. Appreciate each for what they do. Kendall-Jackson may not soar to Olympian heights, but KJ delivers good wine year after year. So do other mass market makers, and you are much more likely to be able to find them.
• Il Bastardi Rosso di Toscana Sangiovese 2015: Pizza night fun pour. $8
• Browne Family Vineyards Tribute Columbia Valley 2013: Consistent higher scorer, loads of fruit. $30
• Chateau Ste. Michelle Ethos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012: Power, finesse, balance. $40
Last round: I read that if you drink wine every day, you are a wino. Thank goodness I only drink wine every night.
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