• Red meat=red wine, white meat=white wine. Sort of, with host of exceptions. Better rule: pair wine to place. If you eat Italian food, pair with Italian wine. If you eat French, food pair with French wine. Those folks have been doing food and wine since before Jesus performed miracles. They know what they are doing.
• Serve white straight from fridge, red at room temperature. Whites out of the fridge—usually around 40 degrees—are too cold. Serving wine cold does mask its taste, so this works with bad wine, but why are you drinking bad? Reds served room-temperature can emphasize alcohol over fruit flavor. Optimum strategy: take whites out of fridge 30 minutes before serving and put reds in fridge 15-20 minutes before. Do not feel guilty is you do not do this, but give it a try to see if you enjoy your wine more.
• Only decant old wines. Empathically, no. Almost all reds benefit from decanting. It does not have to be pretty. Take a commodity red, pour half into a blender, run the blender. Taste wine from the blender and wine from the bottle. In almost all cases, blender-battered wines will be softened and more approachable. Decanting is more decorous. Decant red wines.
• Store wine in the kitchen. No. Oh, so no. Wine’s enemies are light, heat, vibration. Your kitchen is your home’s most intense source of light, heat, vibration. Calm closet or basement are better choices. If your kitchen has dedicated wine refrigerator, never mind.
• Expensive wine is better. OK, sometimes there is a relationship, but there are sensational wines under $30 and there are extraordinarily disappointing wines for more than $30. Purest joy is finding great wine bargains. Pursue them in South Africa, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain. Make discovery part of your lifelong wine adventure.
• Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2014: Simple but excellent value; South Africa continues to impress. $14
• The Prisoner Wine Company Napa Valley The Prisoner 2013. Flamboyantly fruity; big, bold, rich, lush, New World blend screams party, party, party. $42
Last round: My liquid diet is going great. Four glasses of wine, I don’t care about how fat I am.