Vamp’s Bistro Debunks Wine Myths
As more and more people join our Wine Lovers’ Club some fantastic myths surrounding wine and wine drinking re-emerge. It is not surprising that many of them are false. Just a few days back, for example, we had a client ask us “if the better wines we served were always sealed with a cork?” Of course not, we urgently clarified. But this piqued our interest and we decided to investigate some common myths for everyone’s benefit. On the way we discovered some truths that may surprise you:
It is never a good idea to believe everything you hear and if in doubt, the internet is a great place to start with research on some basic information. The above video for example, ‘Wine Myths’ by The Art of Manliness, sheds light on the misinformation rampant in the market. ‘Smelling the cork tells you if the wine is bad’ is a classic myth (as common sense would tell). It is vital though, just as a precautionary measure, to inspect the cork when it is offered to check if the winery’s name, logo, or other branding information appear on the cork. Or if the cork has been damaged, compromised or has allowed seepage in any way. “The thicker the legs, the better the wine” is another one we hear often, and is nicely dispelled by the sommelier. The ‘legs’ or ‘arches’ that you see on the wine glass are mostly glycerol from the wine that, because of their viscosity, go back to the bottom of the glass slower than the other components and thickly adhere to the surface of glass. This very concept is utilized in making snow fall slower in snow globes by the addition of glycerol!
The Wikipedia article (link details below), offers a detailed explanation of the scientific process behind the formation of ‘legs’ on a wine glass.
One myth not covered in the video is that “Red wines cause more headaches than white wines due to the higher sulphite content”. Sulphites (sulphur dioxide) can also be found as preservative in many food items that we consume. Contrary to popular belief sulphites do not cause headaches. And red wines have lesser sulphite added to them than white wines since their grape skins already have a natural preservative. More sulphites are added to the white wines with lower alcohol content to prevent oxidation. As for the headache, dehydration appears to be the primary cause! By the way, Mediterranean food uses a lot of grapes and additional flavourings that go well with wine.
It is also important to note the fallacy of “Keep the bottle open to let the wine breathe” notion. Uncorking a bottle of wine and letting it sit is surely the worst way to treat your wine as this aerating method is grossly ineffective. The narrow bottleneck prevents the air from opening up the wine. Use a decanter to aerate the wine. Or simply pour your wine into a glass and let it open up slowly there. Allowing a wine to breathe is generally only necessary for those wines that need further aging. Breathing allows the wine to be exposed to air and to soften the tannins. By the way, we also serve wine whenever you come over to one of our events, together with the food at the event.