6 Most Common Mistakes Wine Drinkers Make: Wine 101
We all make mistakes! Even experienced wine drinkers are guilty of making mistakes with their wines, but most of these errors are easy to sidestep if you know how.
Of course, we’re always big proponents of the idea that the best way to drink your wine is however you enjoy it most. That said, making wine is a complex, time-consuming process. Quality wines can be pricey, more of a splurge in most households than a staple. If you’re going to indulge in a nice bottle of wine, why not take a few simple steps that will help you get the most out of it?
There’s nothing conceited about taking a little extra time and effort to serve your wine in a way that showcases its best qualities. In other words, you don’t have to be a wine snob to avoid these six most common mistakes that wine drinkers make.
You Serve Your Wine Too Cold
This is one of the least problematic wine mistakes you can make, and it’s pretty easy to remedy. Just let your wine warm up a little!
Over chilling wines may make them refreshing, but it also tamps down the aromas and flavors of the wine while highlighting the tannins. Dull, chewy reds and insipid whites are the result of serving your wines too cold.
Make sure you’re serving your wines at the right temperature. How? Use our handy chart!
You Serve Your Wine Too Warm
Serving wines too hot, though, is much worse than serving them too cold. The temperature doesn’t do any favors for the wine, and it also tends to be indicative of mistreatment. Wine can be durable when it comes to storage temperatures, but care should still be taken to keep them cool.
While storing wine at 70 degrees or so for somewhat extended periods of time may not necessarily disturb that wine, anything hotter and you’d be cooking it. The damage will show up in time in the form of caramel and molasses flavors, and premature aging will be accompanied by a change in the wine’s color.
Furthermore, while storing wines around 75 degrees is probably all right, serving them that hot is a big no-no. The high temperatures stimulate the evaporation of alcohol and volatile compounds in the wine, marring the nose while making the wine feel soft and flabby in the mouth. To find out more about wine storage and how it affects wine, click here.
You Don’t Let Your Wine Breathe
Letting a wine breathe is often thought of as pompous, but nothing could be further from the truth. Wines have been bottled with durability in mind, often being produced in a reductive or oxygen-free environment. Wine needs to take a few breaths of air in order to stretch out and relax.
Do you ever think that the last glass of wine from a bottle is the best? That’s no coincidence. Letting a wine breathe helps to stimulate the development of aromas and soften tannins.
To learn the proper way to decant a wine, check out our guide to decanting.
You Choose the Wrong Wine Glass
Glassware does matter. Simple glassware — tumblers even — are fine from time to time. But there’s also a right time to choose a specific glass for a specific wine — for instance a glass with a large bowl for a big red wine.
A nice, big bowl, at least 10 ounces, gives the wine drinker room to swirl their wine and release the aromas, which can make a wine easier to enjoy. A glass that exposes the wine to air also allows for those aromas to emerge quickly, upping the aromatic intensity even more.
If you’d like to expand your wine glass collection but you’re on a budget, check out our Guide to Affordable Wine Glasses.
You Pair the Wrong Food with the Wrong Wine
While it’s easy to promote a “drink-what-you-like-with-your-dinner” attitude, some wines simply don’t work with certain foods and vice versa. The examples may be limited, but a few include wine with artichokes (which make wine taste bitter); oily fish paired with big reds (where the wine tastes like tannin and metal); and salad with low acid wines (where the dressing makes the wine taste sad and flabby).
You Dismiss a Wine after One Tasting
Assuming you know enough about a wine to dismiss it after trying it once is the biggest mistake we make with wine. There are so many things that can make a wine show poorly, from the five mistakes that lead up to this one to things like bad corks, dirty glassware and even an off taste in your mouth.
It all boils down to having an open mind and realizing that we all make mistakes, so the next time you don’t have a good experience with a wine, don’t be so quick to blame the wine! So why not hone your wine-tasting skills and get to know what it is you’re looking for as you taste wine with our Guide to the Five Key Wine Components.
– Gregory Dal Piaz, Snooth.com
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