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Three Wine Myths – Debunked!

There are many common misconceptions about wine that frequently become unquestioned truths. Unfortunately, sometimes these beliefs can alter one’s outlook on wine and ultimately limit individuals from trying some truly incredible wines due to these fallacies. From the cork vs. screwtop debate to the hotly disputed “I’m allergic to sulfites” bit (we get this a lot), we’re here to debunk three common wine myths once and for all.

Myth #1: Ageworthy, higher quality wines are always sealed with cork

We’re not partial to screwcap versus cork as we use both to enclose our wines. To put it simply – screwcapped wines can age just as well as wines finished with cork.

A wine cork and a wine screw capCorks have been the preferred choice for sealing wine since the beginning of modern Europe in the 1400s. Why? Because cork bark is one of the few natural products that is malleable enough to hold the contents inside a glass bottle.

Meanwhile, screwcaps have only been used in wine since 1964, but they’ve rapidly become a large share of the market. Cork alternatives became popular due to a period of decreased quality cork manufacturing during the 1980s. Essentially, winemakers were tired of getting low-quality corks that would cause TCA ‘cork’ taint, so they switched. 

The longtime argument that corks are better because they breathe has been eliminated, as “breath” is now emulated in both screwcaps and cork alternatives. Today, screwcaps with calculated levels of oxygen ingress (the entrance of oxygen into the wine bottle) over time are available. Ironically, real corks are actually quite variable with their oxygen ingress rates. So either way you slice it, both screwcapped and corked wine options have the ability to produce beautifully aged wines.
Photo courtesy of Wine Folly


Myth #2: White wines are served with fish, red wines are served with meat
 

Glass of red wine and nicely plated fish on a table outdoorsWhile many wine lovers both new and advanced know, generally speaking, that white wine pairs well with fish and red wine pairs nicely with meat, there’s a wide spectrum of wonderful pairing options that don’t coincide with this belief.

Instead of this ‘whites with fish, reds with meat’ idea, a better rule of thumb is: what grows together, goes together. Whenever we consider wine and food pairings, we think about what we’re eating from that region. 

Surprisingly enough, one place with a high steak consumption is Bordeaux, France. Of course, they have largely Cabernet and Merlot-based reds, but they also have richly textured, smoky whites made from Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc which pair beautifully with a bite of steak. 

A glass of white wine and a dish of chicken pene in a room with natural light

Our Sauvignon Blanc has a mid-palate that boasts a creaminess and a textural depth that flows into a finish that’s framed with perfectly balanced acidity, making it an excellent complement to your meal. Chicken dishes are also an easy pairing with whites, particularly if it’s accented with lemon zest!
Photo courtesy of The Wine Buzz

When it comes to fish, you need something that is bold enough to stand up to the flavor of whatever meat you’re eating. For example, a fatty, meaty fish like tuna, salmon, or swordfish pairs much better with a medium-bodied red than it would with a lighter white wine.

No matter your pairing, wine is actually much more forgiving than one would think. Next time you’re whipping up a dish, try to branch out and opt for a wine you wouldn’t normally pair it with and see what you think!

Photo courtesy of Delicious Meets Healthy


Myth #3: Sulfites give you headaches

Person holding red wine glass with wine swirlingWhile we’re not debating people can certainly be allergic to sulfites, more often than not they are not actually the culprit of your headache after drinking wine. If you’ve ever finished off a few glasses of red wine only to experience the sensation of a pounding headache, you may have been told that sulfites were to blame and may choose to steer clear of it altogether.

Sulfites are a chemical byproduct of sulfur dioxide (SO₂), which has been used to preserve wine for thousands of years. When SO₂ dissolves in wine, it produces sulfites. In the United States, any wine that contains 10 parts per million (ppm) or more of sulfites must be labeled as such. But, even organic wines and wines that say “no added sulfites” often contain naturally occurring sulfites.

If you can eat dried fruit or deli meat without issues, you probably don’t have a sulfite sensitivity as many of these foods are much higher in sulfites than red wine. In fact, even white wine can have more sulfites than red wine! The likely cause for your headache is some degree of dehydration, so make sure you drink plenty of water with your wine. 

While there are many wine myths out there, we encourage you to enjoy your favorite wines thoughtfully and as educated as possible. Try our beautiful wines hailing from the renown Rutherford AVA (both screwcapped and corked!) and let us know your thoughts by tagging us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter @scarlettwines. Happy sipping!

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