Top Five Common Misconceptions About Wine

Thursday, August 9th, 2007 at 12:00 am

red wineWith an increased consumption of wine in the US, so does its myths and misconceptions that are associated with it, especially there is not much mainstream media that educate the general public about wine. Here are some of the most unusual myths that we try to dispel.

Wines that come in screw caps mean they are cheap.

Or worse, wines that come in screw caps are a bunch of swill, made from grape concentrate instead of actual grapes. In reality, wine experts actually believe that a screw cap, or stelvin enclosure as they are called, is merely ensuring the precious vintage of wine. Sure, it may not possess the flair compared to opening a wine sealed with a cork, but natural corks may also carry chemical compounds, called TCA, that is very harmful to the wine.

Most wines that come in in a cork are prone to having the cork’s "essence" seep into the wine, creating an aroma that is best described as that of wet cardboard. So don’t pass judgment right away if you encounter a wine packed with a stelvin, or a plastic cork even.

Sweetness and fruitiness are the same.

The wine’s sweetness is often confused from its fruitiness. Truth of the matter is that there are a few wines than can be considered as sweet, although many can be called fruity. A wine’s fruitiness comes from how we get to smell the wine.

This is where phrases like "notes of ripe apples, red cherries and pears" come into the picture. But just because a wine smells like pineapple, for instance, doesn’t mean it is sweet. Some white wines can be considered sweet, but spotting a sweet red wine is rare since most red wines are vinified dry.

Red wine gives you the headaches because of its sulfur content.

Unless you have a rare allergy to sulfites, the headache you get after drinking a glass of vintage red wine can be blamed more on dehydration rather than sulfites. These sulfites are actually beneficial to wine making, as these act partly as preservatives.

This means that those wines that are being marketed as "sulfite-free" have actually a much shorter lifespan. So before sipping a glass of red wine from South Africa, try popping in an aspirin pill and take a tall glass of water. By the way, white wine actually has more sulfur than reds.

White wine isn’t made for aging.

But that doesn’t mean all red wines can be aged for a very long time either. White wine and red wine are produced in almost the same manner. The main difference of the two is that white wine is manufactured from fermented grapes (including red ones) whose skin is separated from the fruit during fermentation, while in red wine the skin is very much intact during the same process. Just like red wine, white wine can be aged too, sometimes even for more than a decade.

Cooking wine should be the cheapest kind of wine.

You don’t sacrifice your dinner by pairing it with a cheap, unappealing wine, so why do the same when cooking food? Cooking a liquid, like wine, causes it to reduce thereby concentrating its flavor.

On that note, concentrating a cheap wine by cooking would only highlight its not-so-good taste and adding that to your food preparation is not appealing at all. Try adding up a buck or two and spend on a wine that taste so good, it would be better tasting when being cooked.