Should red wines be drunk at room temperature and white wine chilled? Is cheese really the perfect partner to wine? Allan Mullins shows us the true way of the wine.
CLICK HERE FOR DEBUNKING WINE MYTHS PART 1
Myth: Wine doesn't age under screw-cap closures.
Quite the contrary. Extensive tests have shown that quality screw caps allow far less oxygen penetration through the closure than do corks. Screw cap technology has improved to the extent that an increasing number of top producers are using them to close their best wines.
The romance of drawing a cork is soon lost when the wine is affected by cork taint, a problem which affects six to eight percent of corks currently used.
Screw caps have the added advantages of making the wine resealable and becoming a life-saver when a corkscrew cannot be found.
Myth: Single vineyard wines are superior.
When a wine is given the name of a specific vineyard it is understandable that the consumer thinks that it is something special. To be fair this can be true. There are some spectacular single vineyard wines throughout the world.
However there are equally many that would have a wider range of flavours and be more balanced if blended with wines from other vineyards.
Myth: South African Sauvignon Blanc should be drunk within its first year.
What a pity that so many South African wine drinkers miss the pleasure that good Sauvignon Blanc can give with a few years in the bottle.
This certainly doesn't apply to all Sauvignon Blancs and in fact most are made in a style that is best enjoyed soon after bottling. Young Sauvignon Blancs express flavours of freshly cut grass, green pepper and nettle and are crisp with tingling acidity.
Lesser examples lose the flavours after a year or two and become dull. With top-quality Sauvignon Blancs the scenario is different. As they mature, they develop more complex and interesting flavours including gooseberry, passion fruit, asparagus and a touch of honey and they become richer in texture, making them exciting food partners.
Some of the best are Cape Point Vineyards, Ataraxia, Oak Valley, The Berrio, Constantia Glen, Graham Beck Pheasant’s Run, Spice Route and Highlands Road.
Myth: Cheese is the perfect partner to wine.
There are certainly exceptions, but the creamy texture of a great many cheeses coats the palate, making it impossible to enjoy the finer nuances of wines.
Myth: Red wines should be drunk at room temperature and white wines chilled.
In warmer countries, like ours, it is sinful to drink red wines too warm. They give off volatile flavours and it is almost impossible to enjoy the finer tastes of the wine.
On a warm day or evening, there is nothing wrong with lightly chilling your red wine before serving it. It is entertaining to serve a cooled red wine in normal temperatures. As you drink it, pay attention to the new flavours that emerge – you will learn a lot about the wine this way.
Another mistake is to serve white wine too chilled – it will kill the flavours and will taste bland. The ideal serving temperatures for South African white wines are: sparkling
wine at 6°C to 8°C, white wine at 11°C to 13°C and red wine at 14°C to 16°C.