There are many common misconceptions about wine that often become unquestioned beliefs. We’re getting to the bottom of five of these fallacies once and for all and addressing some of the most common myths we’ve heard in our 40+ years in the wine industry.
The myth: White wine should be served ice cold
The truth: You may have heard the idea that red wine should be served at room temperature while white wine should be served ice cold. In reality, you’ll achieve the best results if both red and white wines are served in between nearly ice cold and room temperature.
If white wine is served too cold, you won’t be able to taste the nuances in its flavor. If red wine is served too close to room temperature, it could taste flat. So, when it doubt, chill your wine but ensure it’s not too cold. The proper serving temperatures are 49-55°F for white wine and 62-68°F for red wine.
The myth: Sweet wines are for beginners, not educated palates
The truth: Some of the greatest wines in the world are sweet. Sauternes, Ice Wines, Trockenbeerenauslese (a German wine classification for a rich, full-bodied style of sweet dessert wine) are sweet, but are also immensely flavorful and very age-worthy.
For example, our Angel Eis Ice Wine is a beautiful example of this style of wine. Grown in Mendocino County, this 36-year-old Riesling vineyard produces small yields of flavorful grapes of this varietal. To create this wine, frozen grapes were pressed and fermented slowly for two months. This well-balanced dessert wine with hints of peaches, pears, and apricots boasts a long, lingering finish that’s a beautiful sunny day sipper, or pairs perfectly with blue cheese and your favorite crostini.
The myth: All wines worth cellaring are red
The truth: Older wines deliver a different spectrum of flavors from what you would taste in a young wine. Tannins keep wine fresh, which is why red wines that age well tend to contain greater amounts of tannins.
However, the sugar found in white wines helps to preserve the wine and prevent deterioration. Therefore, the sweeter the white wine, the better it will age which is why dessert wines (such as our Angel Eis mentioned above), a Riesling, such as our Jana Riesling, vintage Champagne, Sauternes, and even some dry white wines are just as age-worthy as reds.
In addition to high tannins and sweetness, white wines with a higher acidity level are more likely to last longer because low pH levels prevent any chemical changes that would otherwise break down the wine.
The myth: White wine does not contain sulfites
The truth: One of the most common things we hear in the tasting room is that an individual only drinks white wine because they’re allergic to sulfites. In reality, white wines actually contain more added sulfur dioxide than reds. Sulfites occur naturally during the fermentation process, so all wines — red, white, and rosé — contain some level of sulfites.
That being said, the amount of sulfites in any bottle of wine is actually quite small. In fact, more sulfites exist in common foods like eggs, raisins, cured meats and cheese, and even ketchup. So, if you don’t have any major sensitivities to these items, you’ll likely be able to consume all of our wines just fine!
Myth: Screw-top wines are inferior to corked wines
The truth: In many years leading up to the present day, screw cap wines were a symbol of a cheaper bottle of wine. But, times are changing and these days, winemakers (including Scott) have come around to the benefits of these once-scorned metal closures. Why, you ask? While cork may be traditional, it can come with its share of headaches including a risk of contamination with trichloroanisole (TCA), also known as cork taint, which is a chemical compound that can leave the wine with a damp, musty smell or mask its flavors all together.
We hope we’ve helped to ease your mind by debunking these wine myths, and leave you feeling more confident with your wine knowledge so you can share with your friends!