By: Jeremy Glass
Wine is a difficult scene to break into. Like coffee, spouting of too much information on the subject can make you sound like a snob -- especially if said information is technically false. With that in mind, we called upon Food & Wine Magazine's 2014 "Sommelier of the Year," Patrick Cappiello, to dispel the biggest wine myths out there and clear up any lingering misconceptions -- so you won't sound like a chump at your next twee dinner party.
1. White wine should be served ice cold
Wrong. In fact, no wine should be served ice cold... or lukewarm for that matter. As Cappiello puts it, you should keep basic chemistry in mind when you drink wine. "The colder a wine, the more restrained and tightened the molecules will be. When it's warmer, it'll be more aromatic." A good temperature for white wine is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Red wine should be served at room temperature
One huge misconception is that red wine cannot be refrigerated under the penalty of lashing. However, Cappiello tells us that serving red wine at room temperature can accelerate the aging process and make it taste unfavorable. So feel free to throw that bad boy in the fridge, no one's gonna get mad.
3. Red wine will give you a horrible headache
If you think you're allergic to red wine, there's a good chance you're also allergic to not being an idiot. Honestly, the reason your wine is giving you a headache is because you aren't treating it like every other alcohol. Red wine is the same as any other alcohol and will cause dehydration when consumed, thus making your head hurt if you have too much of it. How do you prevent this? Same as any whiskey or beer: take it in moderation, drink lots of water, and never apologize for partying. Never.
4. You should never pair white wine with steak
Good news, everybody! You totally can drink a white wine with your delicious slab of meat. Best wine myth distillation yet! As our sommelier explains, a nice red will always taste incredible with a steak, but that doesn't mean you should discount a bottle of well-chosen white. Patrick suggests going for a chenin blanc or another full-bodied and fruity white wine to pair with steak. The goal is to find a white that mimics the robust qualities of your typical reds.
Credit: Wikicommons/Mick Stephenson
5. You should let your wine breathe in the bottle
Simply uncorking your bottle to let the wine "breathe" isn't going to do much, as the shape of the bottle doesn't allow much air to enter. If you want to let your wine get that precious oxygen, it's better to use a decanter.
6. Boxed wine sucks
Aside from my own personal love for boxed wine, there are myriad reasons to branch out and try wine in a box (or can). Our sommelier friend told us that serving wine from a box is actually pretty common in Europe -- where culture was born -- and there are some incredibly delicious boxed wines you can be drinking without guilt.
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