Wine myths 4-26-2023

Wine can be complicated—hardly a dumbfounding revelation. It does explain why there are some false rules about wine. Let’s bust some myths.

• Champagne is only for weddings, New Year’s, and special occasions.

While Champagne may be above your pay grade as an everyday drinker, Champagne—and sparkling wine in general—is one of the most versatile wines. It goes with almost every food. It is appropriate before, during, and after a meal. It almost always elevates the tenor of a gathering.

And—against conventional wisdom—it can be argued it should not be the choice for weddings and New Year’s because those typically are boisterous affairs where the focus is on partying, not deep appreciation of a beverage. Spanish cava or Italian prosecco is more affordable and still delivers inhibition-lifting fun.

Save expensive Champagne for intimate special occasions. Your wedding anniversary, landing that new job, or an intimate evening with someone you love.

• Holding a wine glass by the bowl heats the wine.

Well, yes, but not enough to significantly influence enjoyment depending on how long you hold the glass. When you hold a glass for a significant period of time, the warmth of your hand and the ambient temperature will warm the wine. It is unlikely to ruin the wine. Holding by the bowl does leave oil from your skin on the glass, which negatively impacts visual appreciation.

Holding the glass by the stem or foot is a more refined method of securing your goblet, but it is not unforgivably gauche to hold by the bowl. Do whatever you want. Wine exists to be enjoyed. You are not striving to earn a gold star from Miss Manners. You are striving to enjoy wine time with friends.

• The more expensive, the better the wine.

Sure, the higher the cost the more likely the wine quality. But certainly not always, and the average person may not discern the difference between a good wine and a very good wine. Do the math. Would you rather have a very good wine that costs $120 or four bottles of good wine that cost $30 a bottle. In broad terms, $15-25 can get you a delicious wine and $25-35 may get you a wine a click better.

In any event, it is gauche to brag about the cost of the bottle you are pouring. 

Last round: The police told me they would arrest me if I kept telling bad jokes. I stopped because I was scared I would end up in the punitentiary. Wine time.