Wine Myths and Legends

   The first wine fallacy that we will explore is the old raspberry that red wine must be served at room temperature. To begin with, most of the wine rules were developed centuries ago; before there was central heating and air conditioning. The rooms, in those days, were cold. Storage areas for food and wine were mostly underground and were also cold; actually about 60° Fahrenheit. Is a picture starting to form? Red wines are best at about 63° to 68° and it is our custom to put them unto the fridge about one half hour before opening. Give it a try; we are sure it will make a big difference in your wine drinking enjoyment.

            Another little known fact about red wine is that you should NEVER serve it the same day that you bring it home from the store. Red wines are very complex and the shaking up that they receive while they are being transported is enough to make the wines develop some “off flavors.” This is called “bottle sickness” and it can change a very enjoyable meal into a disaster.

            Are you a cork sniffer? Why? Sniffing the cork can tell very little about the quality of the wine that is in the bottle. One sniffs the cork to detect mold. Mold on the cork will indicate mold in the wine or as it is known in the wine industry as a “corked wine.” Another cork fallacy is that squeezing the cork will give an indication on how the wine was stored. Stuff and nonsense. Today corks come from many sources and are all of different consistency so unless you are a cork maven; you will learn nothing from squeezing the cork.

            Another wine fallacy that really gets our goat is that white wine should be served cold. White wines should be served cool. 58° to 68° is best temperature to serve them at. If the wine is too cold, you loose the fine and subtle flavors that white wines are famous for. Domestic commercial beer is served Ice cold to hide its off flavors. And if you don’t believe that, let a common commercial beer warm up to room temperature and see what it tastes like; you may have trouble keeping it down.

            Let us now switch to a wine fable. The town of Krov in Germany is one of the producers of excellent Riesling wines. As the story goes, two young boys sneaked into the winemakers cellar and helped themselves to a substantial quantity of his wine. The winemaker returned unexpectedly and caught the youngsters at their libation. Incensed, the winemaker bent the boys over his knee, pulled down their pans and gave them a sound paddling. From that day since the Riesling wines of Krov have been labeled Krover Nakedarsch which if very freely translated as “the bare bottom of Krov” with the label illustrating the winemaker performing the act of punishment.

Then there is the tale of the good Bishop Fugger. In the year 1111AD the Bishop was on a pilgrimage from his native Austria to visit the Pope in Rome. Bishop Fugger, being a wine connoisseur, sent a servant ahead of his party to check out the local inns to determine just where the party would spend the night. The servant was instructed to write the Latin word EST for “it is” on the wall wherever the wine was best. In the town of Montefiascone, just north of Rome, the servant was so impressed with the wine that he wrote EST! EST!! EST!!! on the wall in chalk. Now here is where the story gets fuzzy. It is unknown if the good Bishop finished he trip to Rome and returned to Montefiascone or that he never left the town. Either way the Bishop spent the rest of his life in Montefiascone and was buried there. The wine of the town took on the name EST! EST!! EST!!! and every year the local winemakers pour a cask of the wine over the tomb of their favorite Bishop.

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