Spending over a decade working as a retail wine shop manager, I was exposed to a vast sea of different wines, being fortunate enough to have tasted upwards of 20,000 of ‘em! Yet, before I even reached my 100th sip, one aspect of this noble beverage became obvious: Wine encompasses a broad spectrum of regional diversity. With more exposure, it became clear that there are good and bad examples from every region, and among the good examples, there are stylistic variations to sort out.
After years of comparing my impressions of wine with those of others’, and bouncing from one camp to the other with my own stylistic preferences, I had finally settled on what I liked. But without an open-minded palate, balanced by the decision to trust my own senses, the process would not have been as organic, limiting my wine viewpoint and perpetuating established myths. The best wine advice I could give to my customers (and to you, the reader) is to approach wine with the same open mind that I used as a professional. Allow me to do some more wine myth-busting for you, to give you a fresh start on the road to genuine wine enjoyment.
Myth: Good Wine Needs To Be Expensive
While it’s true that some expensive wines are so for legitimate reasons, we must remind ourselves that price doesn’t always correlate with quality. Furthermore, many expensive wines will simply be too young to consume upon purchase, setting you up for disappointment. A good general rule for any wine budget is to be sure the wine is in a style that you’ll enjoy. If that means spending only ten dollars a bottle, celebrate it, but remember to mix it up a little.
Myth: Bubbly is Only for Special Occasions
The pricing of true Champagne has really hit the roof this decade, the result of many houses fighting to maintain their prestige and market status. Factor in the celebratory nature of sparkling wine, and the unfortunate outcome is a consumer mindset that drinking bubbly is reserved for special occasions. Nonsense! Outstanding sparklers also hail from Burgundy, Jura, Loire, Alsace, and even Spain, Italy, and USA for a fraction of the price of Champagne. Explore any of these categories, and you’ll no longer be waiting for that anniversary to roll around as an excuse to sip pristine bubbly.
The screw cap revolution is in full swing, and it’s a blessing for all of us. Thanks to this nifty, neutral closure, which is no longer exclusively associated with ‘cheap’ wine, we will soon leave behind the days of vulnerable, moldy corks, which are spoiling nearly 2 bottles of wine for every case. Leading the screw cap charge is New Zealand, which closes 95% of their wines with it (that includes the $50+ bottles!). Never shy away from screw-capped wines for fear you’re getting an inferior product, when in fact the opposite is true.
The debate about the 50-to-100 point wine scoring system continues, but among wine professionals and many wine lovers, a consensus has been reached: Use the descriptive reviews as a guide, but ignore the numbers. Advertisers love using high critic scores as promotional devices, but the only thing such numbers convey is the impressions of one person’s tongue….a person who may enjoy wine much differently than you do. Also, keep in mind that many wine publications who are scoring wines are also taking advertising dollars from the very producers they are scoring. The bottom line: develop a relationship with a reputable wine retailer who can learn to understand your palate far better than a magazine can.
Link Here to read Wine Myth-Conceptions Part 2.