26 Responses

  1. Maitri
    Maitri at |

    Great list! I received a moldy cork a couple of times and immediately had the wine taken away. Sure enough, moldy cork = yukky wine.

    Also, I've lived in very warm places where red wine goes over quickly. My trick has been to refrigerate an opened bottle of red wine and bring it back to room temperature before serving. Sacrilege, I know, but it works in the tropics & subtropics.

    Reply
  2. Jathan
    Jathan at |

    Hi Maitri,

    Thanks for the compliment. You're right, if the cork is totally bad the wine will be too, since that is the weak point of the bottle. Other than that, the cork isn't telling you anything about the wine, so there is no need to smell it.

    Also, you did a good thing putting the wine in the fridge, the myth is that it needs to be at room temperature, which is obviously wrong. Sounds like in the area you live you would benefit from keeping your bottle on ice.

    Reply
  3. Eric
    Eric at |

    Hi there!

    I take exception to #1…

    I make Pinot Noir in the Russian River, and you can absolutely diagnose a "corked" bottle by smelling the cork (actually the long side) … it's not moldy, but the off smell is def there..

    It may be that us folks ITB, can do this easier than most, but I'm not only one who can do this, and it's a normal part of opening a new bottle up here.

    About 1% of bottles have this issue.

    Reply
  4. Jathan
    Jathan at |

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for the comment. I guess this is still somewhat a debated topic. You're right, a completely tainted bottle will show up in the cork first, and that is good as you pointed out 1% of the time. But, the more corks I smelled, the more I learned that sometimes what I thought it was a bad smell/bottle, when smelling the wine I found that the cork lied and the bottle was actually fine. If TCA or VA or Brett are present the cork won't always tell you, so I feel it's always in your best interest to smell the wine.

    Reply
  5. Cabernet Drinker
    Cabernet Drinker at |

    This article was enjoyable and debunked the wine legs myth for me. Also thank you for bringing up the aging wine issue, that can't be said enough.

    Reply
  6. brzle
    brzle at |

    Outstanding list, I don't know how many times I've heard that legs on the glass after swirling it indicate quality FROM THE WINEMAKERS THEMSELVES. Now I can finally be the one who acts snooty!

    Thanks again for this great post,

    Brian

    Reply
  7. brzle
    brzle at |

    Thanks for this list, I wasn't aware of all these!

    Reply
  8. Jathan
    Jathan at |

    Cabernet Drinker,

    Thanks for your comment. It's our duty to educate others once we've learned.

    brzie,

    Oh, and there are more, this is just the tip of the bottle!

    Reply
  9. Jathan
    Jathan at |

    Brian,

    With great knowledge comes great responsibility. Put those snooty wine makers in their place!

    Reply
  10. Jennifer
    Jennifer at |

    Great site! I really enjoyed the myths! I find it especially interesting since I'm a wine importer. Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Jathan
      Jathan at |

      Thanks Jennifer, I'm glad your enjoyed this post!

      Reply
  11. Greg
    Greg at |

    I thought that aging doesn't mean that wine "keeps", it means that wine changes. So if a twist-off doesn't let in much air, the aging process slows to the point where there's little change over time. Less reduction of tanins, etc.

    Reply
  12. Jathan
    Jathan at |

    Hi Greg,

    Thanks for the great comment. You're absolutely correct about air aging wine. I think it remains to be seen how twist offs handle the process.

    It's important to remember though that air and oxidization can be the enemy of wine. Since corks (especially less expensive ones) varry in sealing ability, consistency in aging seems to lack. Perhaps you've experienced this yourself when opening two bottles of the same wine and finding variation.

    Since twist offs have proven to be consistent while still allowing trace amounts of air in, we may find these to be the best for long term storage of fine wine yet. Or maybe something else will strike the perfect balance. My advice is always to test things out for yourself. The cork industry is trying to protect their monopoly, so just be cautious when reading anti-alternative closure propaganda.

    Reply
  13. Martin
    Martin at |

    All wines don't get better with age is very true with fruit wine. Especially after 5 year or more lose some if not most of their original fruity flavor. The acids in different fruit break down over time making the flavor of the wine change and may not taste as fruity it once did. Even this is debated because all fruit wines age differently. I know from making peach wine not aging long can make it smell a little like a fart if the malic acid is not aloud to turn some to Lactic acid lol. I hope I got my chemistry right in saying that I just make the stuff not a wine chemist by any means.

    Reply
  14. Jathan
    Jathan at |

    Hi Martin,

    Great comment. It's nice to have input from someone who has experienced this firsthand. It seems that most American wine drinkers prefer big up front fruit flavors and consume their wines within the first few years.

    But oh how lovely an aged wine can be….

    I wonder if the same is true of peach wine?

    Reply
  15. Martin
    Martin at |

    Maybe a good myth would be that the more expensive the wine the better it is. On the show wine with Andrea Zimmer she is always stating you can get a good bottle of wine for just over 15 dollars and sometimes the wine is a lot better than the more expensive bottles. You think this is true. Just a funny note dose anyone think she is a little drunk on her shows because she always has a really funny grin and her cheeks are always very red lol.

    Reply
  16. Steve
    Steve at |

    Learning about wine definitely supports that old say that goes something like… "The more you know, the more you realize how much you do not know."

    Reply
  17. Jathan
    Jathan at |

    Martin,

    You're right, that would be a great addition to the list. In fact I've heard it said that even the most expensive wines to make don't cost more than $20 to produce, so you're really just paying for the brand name, just like any other high priced item.

    Steve,

    Thanks for the comment. So true.

    Reply
  18. Giovanni
    Giovanni at |

    Actually, #4 explanation is wrong. The “legs” or, as we call them here in Italy, “archs” that you see is mostly glycerol (propan-1,2,3-triol) that, because of its viscosity, goes back to the bottom of the glass later than the other components; plus, it adheres to the glass surface more than the other components because of stronger molecular interactions that it forms with the glass.
    To make snow fall slower in snow globes, they put glycerol!
    Wine has got glycerol too but don’t worry, it’s harmless and comes from natural reactions during fermentation, we don’t add it.

    Long story short:

    * You can’t determine the overall quality of the wine by ONLY looking at the “archs”, but you can predict its SOFTNESS (viscosity), that will be verified later by tasting the wine. *

    By the way, thanks for busting the other myths 😉

    Reply
  19. Jathan
    Jathan at |

    Hi Giovanni,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Physicist James Thompson identified the cause of this effect in 1855, now known as the Marangoni effect: The mass transfer of fliuds on an interface due to differing surface tension. Glycerol, as well as over 1000 other components are found in wine. However, the primary component responsible for the Marangoni effect in this case is between the ethanol (C2H5OH) and water (H2O).

    Here is an article you might find interesting on the subject: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marangoni_effect

    Reply
  20. Giovanni
    Giovanni at |

    I’ve found that article interesting, indeed. I’ll discuss it with my professors, thanks for sharing it.

    Reply
  21. Chuck P.
    Chuck P. at |

    The higher the cost and the cutest label does not always mean the best wine. As one person told me it is all in ones taste buds. Castoro Winery in Templeton CA is a great winery to enjoy tasting reds especially…..great blends they have there.

    Reply
  22. Jathan
    Jathan at |

    Hi Chuck,

    Thanks for the plug, I too am a fan of Castoro.

    The best thing a person can do to learn what they like is to taste a lot, regardless of package, closure, label, price, popularity, etc.

    Reply
  23. John
    John at |

    Very informative. I was not aware about some of this wine facts. thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  24. Prakhar
    Prakhar at |

    I have taken to wine drinking in recent years and i must say i’m thoroughly enjoying it.This article actually has quite a simplistic approach to it.Very unlike wine tastings and tasters.;-)

    Reply
  25. kk
    kk at |

    Gr8 article…have to agree i was almost under all 10 myths…MYTHBUSTERS!!!…though i feel you got nine out of ten right…#5 WINE LOVERS AS SNOB still feels right…isn’it?

    Reply

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