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All wine gets better with age
- This is definitely a myth and in actual fact, only a small number of wines (most of which are red and almost all over $20) actually have the proper structure to hold up and age well.
- Research has shown that most wines are actually consumed within a few months of purchasing; therefore, winemakers tend to make the wine in a ‘drink now’ style.
- Definitely white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris should be enjoyed young, while Chardonnay might age for a few years but not beyond. Riesling will age gracefully but the flavour profile will change dramatically. For reds, Cabernet Sauvignon ages well due to the tannin structure, but again, only if is a good wine to start with. It’s always best to check the label or ask the producer directly before laying your wines down to cellar.
Screw caps are not as good as corks
- Screw caps (or stelvins as some call them) are more consistent at sealing the wine than cork and let in less oxygen over time, which results in longer bottle aging.
- Screw caps also eliminate the chance of the wine being effected by TCA which is a bacteria that lives in the cork that spoils the wine, resulting in a more commonly known term ‘corked wine’
Legs are an indication of quality
- Myth. The streaks that run down the inside of your glass are a sign of a high alcohol or high viscosity wine, rather than an indication of quality.
High sulfite levels in red wine will give you a headache compared to the whites with a lower sulfites
- Reds actually have lower levels of sulfites than whites as they are naturally more stable (thanks to the anthocyanin, tannins, etc).
- Lower priced whites (sub $10), especially the sweeter ones, have the highest levels of sulfites (preservatives).
Wine and cheese go well together
- Cheese and dairy products in general are actually a poor wine/food match as the fats in the dairy coat your mouth and taste buds, preventing you from truly tasting flavour and subtleties of the wine.
The fruit descriptors on the label are the fruits added to the wine
– Unless you are buying a wine made from fruit other than grapes, the only fruit in your bottle of wine is the variety of grapes mentioned on the label. The references to fruits (hints of raspberry, strawberry, pineapple) are just descriptions of what the wine smells like rather than what is in it.
Fortified wines once opened won’t last
– The process for making fortified wine is all about the wine being in contact with oxygen over a long period of time. This is no different to what’s happening in the bottle. For the best storage, keep your treasured fortified hidden away in dark place, as sunlight will breakdown the structure.
Once opened, only left over white wines should kept refrigerated
- The cold of the fridge acts as a preservative. So both white and reds (especially in summer) will last a little longer when stored in the fridge.
All red wines need to be decanted
- The vast majority of red wines do not need to be opened to "breathe" or decanted to show their best. The vast majority of red wines can opened and immediately poured to be fully enjoyed.
Worth a look:
Pooley Coal River 2011 Pinot Noir – TAS
Willunga 100 McLaren Vale Shiraz Viognier 2010 – SA
Nepenthe Adelaide Hills Ithaca Chardonnay - SA
Last week: What makes a good Pinot noir
Alex Trescowthick has been winemaker at Nepenthe in South Australia since 2011. Alex is passionate about wine-making and relishes the opportunity that each new vintage brings to produce even better wines.