7 Wine Rules You Officially Have Permission to Break
If you think wine is snobby, expensive and difficult to understand, it’s time to forget everything you’ve ever heard right this second. Today, the world of wine is more exciting than ever, so we’re ditching the old adages. Presenting seven outdated wine rules you’re officially allowed to break.
Riesling Is Only For Dessert
While there are plenty of super-sweet Rieslings you can drink along with your tiramisu, this white grape is actually one of the best dry wines to serve with tougher, savory food pairings (think: spicy Asian food). Look for wines from Alsace, where most Rieslings are bone-dry. Or keep an eye out for the word “Trocken” on the label, which indicates a dry Riesling from Germany or Austria.
Pair White Wine with Fish and Red Wine with Meat
While there are some classic pairings that always work like a charm (i.e., oysters and Muscadet or steak and Cabernet), this rule is begging to be broken. If you’re eating a light, flaky fish like sole or fluke, stick to white—but meatier, oily seafood like salmon or ahi tuna can definitely stand up to a red wine with low tannins, like Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo. For meats, it’s totally acceptable (and even encouraged) to pair chicken, veal or pork with a rich, fragrant white like Viognier or Sémillon.
Serve White Wine Ice Cold
Even if you associate white wine with hot summer days, whites should not be served straight out of the fridge. Think about it: You want to enhance wine’s flavors, not hide them like a freezing cold shot of vodka. Serve these wines crisp, giving them half an hour or so to warm up after being stored in the fridge.
Stick to Wine from Notable Regions
Do you drink only Sancerre during the summer? Well, we’ve got news for you: Your favorite bottle is really just Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, and the label alone makes it about $20 more than similar wines from other regions. Experiment with similar styles of Sauvignon Blanc from Austria, Chile or Dordogne. (The same goes for other powerhouse regions, from Burgundy to Napa.)
The Best Wines are From Western Europe
Winemaking originated in the Old World European countries of France, Spain, Italy and Germany. There, you’ll find the most renowned wine regions in the world, like Bordeaux, Barolo and Champagne. But don’t discount wine from the New World, including Eastern Europe and the Southern Hemisphere—these regions are home to some of the most exciting wines in the world. Look to countries like Georgia, New Zealand and South Africa for interesting, delicious bottles at a great value.
Screw-Top Wine is Crap
Just as you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a wine by its stopper. Long gone are the days when a screw cap indicated low quality. The screw-cap initiative, which started in New Zealand, has caught on throughout the rest of the winemaking world. While corks are expensive and can be easily tainted over time, screw caps last longer and prevent oxidation.
The Best Wines Are the Most Expensive
Just like anything in life, price does not always determine quality—it indicates the value other people put on a certain product. So while that $200 Sassicaia Super Tuscan probably won’t disappoint, you can definitely find equally delicious bottles at a better value. In fact, ask a sommelier which wines he is most excited about in his cellar, and he will probably tell you it’s the $30 bottle that tastes like it costs a hundred bucks.