During my time attending and giving Argentina wine tastings, I have seen and heard (and of course, tasted) some of the most interesting wines, some surprising, occasionally shocking but most of the time monotonus…it is the one point that always surprises me; the number of repeat questions or beliefs about wine that I come across over and over again. It appears that you folks out there all have similar queries about the basic aspects of the world of wine. What is right? What is wrong? What is the truth…or did that wine waiter tell me a load of codswallop? Well, I’m going to examine some of these more popular questions and clear it up for once and for all, determine the real myths and truths of wine. 

“Wine is best enjoyed from a wine glass” – YES!

The aromas of wine can “escape” easily from a tumbler glass; however they remain concentrated in a wine glass due to its rounded form allowing the consumer to obtain the best perception of the characteristics of the wine. Wine glasses should be filled no higher than half of the glass so the empty upper half can act as a chamber to capture the aromas, enhancing the different scents, giving more of them to waft up your nose!

Another essential aspect of the wine glass is the way in which we drink from it and how the glass itself delivers the wine to the mouth, entering on the tip of the tongue and continuing down the centre. The tongue is a very important tool for judging aspects of the wine such as sweetness, acidity, bitterness and sourness.
The tip of the tongue is where sweetness is perceived. When tasting wine, the idea is to try to get an idea of the the level of sweetness first, and then let the wine pass to other sectors of the tongue to obtain a fuller picture of its characteristics. Imagine drinking from a wine glass versus a tumbler glass. When drinking from a tumbler you open your mouth wider, while the glass delivers liquid to the mouth quickly and in larger quantities giving you a “full mouth”, therefore wine would miss the tip of the tongue and be concentrated in areas to the sides of and below the tongue where we have more perception of acidity in the wine, which is not always as pleasant.

So it is…the Truth. Wine is best enjoyed from a wine glass!

“Wine should be drunk at room temperature.” 

Define what room temperature is. Certainly the sweltering room temperature here in Buenos Aires during the summer is not the same as the chilly winter room temperatures that we can experience back in the UK. 
This basic element of wine service is one of the main problems that can affect the outcome of red wine in particular. Full bodied red wine should be served between 16 and 18 ° C, where by it should be drank at that or no more than 20 ° C. If you do receive a warm wine in a restaurant, ask for an ice bucket to cool it. Why you ask me? That sounds like it’s is going against everything I’ve been told about red wine? Well, it is necessary due the manner in which aromas, tannins and alcohol function at different temperatures. If a full bodied red wine is too cold the aromas will be suppressed as will the alcohol, but the tannins will be very apparent whereas if the wine is served too warm then again your will have lessened aromas but heightened the perception of alcohol whilst lowering the tannins giving the consumer very unbalanced and unpleasant wines on both accounts. Tannins, aromas and alcohol can work in equilibrium when they are at the correct temperature of 16 and 18 ° C for red wines, however lighter red with less tannins and whites are served at cooler temperatures to suppress the alcohol and to bring out more fresh characteristics of the wines.

The ignorance of this temperature fact contributes to one of the main problems that lead to consumer dissatisfaction, mainly for women, who are naturally more sensitive to high alcohol/tannins in red wines.

So what temperatures are the ‘right’ temperatures?

Sparkling wines: 6-8º C

Sweet white wines:  6 to 10º C

Dry white wines: 8 to 12º C
Rose: 8 to 12º C

Light Reds: 14 to 16º C
Full Body Reds: 16 to 18º C

For those who do not carry a thermometer around in there pocket all day long, the best way to judge if a full bodied wine is acceptable or not is to simply touch the bottle by hand. It should feel neither hot nor cold and it should be fresh. If the wine is too warm, 15 minute in the fridge is normally enough to bring it to the optimum temperature.

So it is….a myth!

There are more myths and truths to come so keep an eye out and (possibly) the wine in the fridge!