Wine has the power to awaken the senses, tickle the imagination and even spark the wildest of dreams! Local preferences and winemaking traditions vary from one region to the next, each with their own terroir, grape varieties, cuisine and climate.
But it would appear that some sommelier recommendations and wine tasting rituals have been misinterpreted and skewed over time, resulting in myths taken out of context.
When it comes to the golden rules of oenology and pairing food and wine, there are lots of clichés and misinformation out there! Here is an array of the most common misconceptions about red, white, and rosé wine, as well as champagne.
A Few Misconceptions About Red Wine
Red wine is always associated with meat and cheese… sometimes wrongly! There are so many different aromas, flavours, notes and tannins that not every red wine can be painted with the same brush. Here are a few myths about red wine that we don’t recommend following!
Red Wine Goes With any Cheese
This is a common belief when it comes to pairing wine and food. Although lots of red wines complement cheese, it’s not a hard fact. Take fresh goat cheese or fromage blanc, for example. They are far better suited to a white wine or rosé. In other words, red wine does not go with all types of cheese.
© Philippe Goron
Always Serve Red Wine at Room Temperature
That depends on the temperature of the room! If you want to enjoy a glass of red wine with lunch in the summer, keep the bottle out of the sun and the heat, preferably between 14°C and 18°C, until you open it. Some red wines should actually be served lightly chilled, whatever the season, to be fully appreciated.
All Meat Dishes Should Be Served With Red Wine
Absolutely not! Poultry, veal and lamb dishes are much more flavourful when accompanied by a carefully chosen bottle of white wine. As for red meat, depending on what you’re cooking and which ingredients you’re using, make sure to choose the right red wine among the many Burgundy, Loire, Bordeaux and other vineyards.
Common White Wine Myths
White wine offers a wide range of tastes and flavours, whether dry and crisp or sweet and mellow. It would be a shame to miss out! So, don’t let misconceptions about white wine spoil your tasting experience.
© Alexandre Couvreux
Fish Should Always Be Accompanied by White Wine
Fish and seafood is almost always served with white wine. But some fine red wines and rosés taste surprisingly good with fish-based dishes. For example, a light red wine, chosen with the help of an experienced sommelier or oenologist, can enhance the flavours of a tender, fleshy piece of salmon. Which not everyone knows!
Sweet White Wines Are Best Enjoyed as an Aperitif
Careful not to spoil your appetite! We don’t recommend drinking a Sauternes or another very sweet white wine at the beginning of a meal, so as to not saturate your taste buds. The high sugar levels might also make you feel full!
Foie Gras Should Only Be Paired with a Sweet White Wine
Not at all! You can pair foie gras and its melt-in-the-mouth texture with other types of white wine, or an aged red grand cru with mellow aromas and woody or spiced notes.
© Philippe Goron
A sweet white wine is best served at the end of a meal, whereas drier, more acidic wines can be served with foie gras as a starter. Jurançon, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscadet, Médoc, Châteauneuf du Pape, Saint-Emilion… there are so many to choose from! Have fun experimenting with different combinations to see what you like best.
The Biggest Misconceptions About Rosé
Rosé is probably the wine people know the least about, especially in terms of fermentation and winemaking. It doesn’t always get the best press, yet there are some truly fine rosés out there, that are the pride of French winemakers. Here are a few myths about rosé to debunk whenever possible!
Rosé Is Poor Quality Beach Wine
This ridiculous cliché has harmed the reputation of more than one vintage rosé. You can enjoy a glass of chilled rosé wine in the summer, but also all year round. Of course, mass-produced “wine”, with added grapefruit or other citrus flavours, should be avoided. But rosé produced by vinifying grapes, with genuine winemaking savoir-faire, is worthy of the respect of all wine lovers and oenologists.
Rosé is a Mix of Red and White Wine
False! With the exception of a few authorised AOCs, such as Champagne. Most rosé wine is produced by direct pressing (short maceration of grape juice and skin, followed by direct pressing) or using the saignée method (extraction of grape skin during the maceration phase). Both these techniques explain its pink colour: light and clear rosés are made by direct pressing and the more tinted, aromatic rosés are obtained with the saignée method.
Rosé Is for Barbecues and Pizza Only
There are so many varieties of rosé and different wine-food pairings. Shrimp salad, Niçoise salad, mozzarella and tomatoes, grilled or baked fish, couscous, ratatouille, a spicy chicken dish, goat cheese, melon… Find your favourite combo! Of course, rosé goes well with grilled meat too (except beef) and homemade pizza, but you’ll need to choose between a light, dry, crisp, round, fruity or vinous wine.
© Philippe Goron
The Best Champagne Myths
Do you want to improve your wine knowledge? Check out our informative quizzes and books, published by L’Atelier du Vin. But first, let’s debunk some myths and misconceptions about champagne and sparkling wine!
Champagne Can Be Chilled in the Freezer Before Serving
This is a very bad idea… Sudden changes in temperature are bad for all types of wine, including champagne and sparkling wine. Chill your open bottles of bubbly in a champagne bucket or cooler instead.
Champagne Should Always Be Served in Flutes
Not necessarily. You can serve champagne in tall wine glasses too. Some people argue that champagne flutes maintain a balance between the bubbles and subtle aromas, whereas others prefer more rounded or narrow rim glasses. The truth is any occasion is good for champagne! As long as you treat yourself and share an enjoyable moment with your loved ones. Discover our collection of Bubbles Celebration champagne and sparkling wine flutes.
© Alexandre Couvreux