No topic is burdened with more myths and fear than wine. We love it, but it scares us, and we have a million questions we’re afraid to ask for fear of sounding ignorant. The critics bombard us with advice, wine stores exhibit scores as if this was the Olympics, sommeliers in dark suits tell us what we should like this season. Well, I am here to chase away all your wine fears and myths in 2015!
Myth # 1: You should like wines with high scores by critics.
There has never been a more false belief. This is like saying we should all like the same kind of birthday cake. I love custard cake with strawberries, you like chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, my friend Michael prefers pie on his birthday. So why would we all like the same wine? We have different tastes, so we like different wines. This not only frees us to like what we like, but also makes dinner parties more interesting as we discuss our preferences, make our case, learn other points of view. So, to make things spicier, I free you to like whatever wines you like no matter what he critics say!
Myth # 2: Expensive wines are always better.
Sure, there are many high-priced wines that are great, but many of my favorite wines are around $10. There is nothing wrong with loving my $10 Salice Salentino or your $15 Sauvignon Blanc. After all, just because ganache cake costs more, doesn’t mean that’s what I am having on my birthday. Remember, I love custard cake with strawberries.
Myth # 3: We should listen to sommeliers, they know wines best.
Yes, sommeliers know wines. I learned much of what I know about wine in sommelier school. But the most important judge of a wine is you. You need to like the wine because you are paying for it. And you need to enjoy it. When a sommelier tells you she or he likes a wine, ask why. Don’t order the wine just because they like it, order it if you think you’ll like it.
Most importantly, have fun when learning about wine. Wine is about enjoyment and pleasure, so don’t take it too seriously. Don’t worry too much about reviews or what someone told you you should like. Go to tastings, taste, taste, taste, ask questions, then taste some more. Find wines you enjoy and share with friends.
To kick off your wine freedom, join me for next month's The Building Blocks of Wine: What's in a Sip? where we demystify wine and have fun tasting. Cheers to a great new 2015 in wine!