Myths and legends about wines

Our recently concluded contest, ‘Fact or Fiction’, gave us an idea. We decided to delve a little deeper into the world of wines and dig out some hard truths for you. Often, urban legends gain a larger-than-life status, and many a time, fiction parades as fact. So here we are,trying to debunk some myths.

1. Wine was discovered by accident – No conclusive proof
The earliest references to wine date as far back as 6000 BC (some historians argue that it existed even earlier). This wine may or may not have been made from grapes. But there is one story that pops up quite often with regards to its discovery. It involves a disgruntled member of a harem with suicidal tendencies. This woman, who is believed to have suffered severe migraines, was extremely unhappy. One day, the king discovered that his favourite fruit (grapes), stored in jars, looked rotten and seemed to be frothy. He declared them unfit for consumption, and ordered their immediate removal. This woman, in a bid to end her life with the poisonous concoction, stole a tipple. To her surprise, the concoction didn’t just taste good, it cured her of her headache and even put her in a jolly mood! The king noticed this and tried a bit himself. And thus, wine was “discovered”!

2. Wines are meant to get better with age – Fiction
Not all wines get better with age. Most wines made in warmer regions like India are young (with the exception of wines like Big Banyan Limited Shiraz that can be aged up to 10 years). These wines have a short ageing period, and are meant to be consumed within a year or two of making them. So if you’re saving some wine for a special occasion, you might be in for a surprise…and not the pleasant sorts.

3. You can tell the quality of wine by smelling the cork – Fiction
You’ve seen this in movies. And it has probably happened to you at a high-end restaurant. On opening an expensive bottle of wine, the waiter offers the cork to you. You’ve seen others sniff it, and so do you. But what exactly does this tell you? Nothing. The cork is handed to you for inspection. To see whether the bottle’s seal has been tampered with. And to check whether it is from an authentic source (check for the logo, the name of the winery, etc.).

4. Red wines with red meat. White wines with white meat- Fiction
This is perhaps an oversimplified version of the truth. When pairing wine and food, you need to understand the flavour profiles of both the food and the wine. You also need to ask yourself how you’d like to pair something – do you want a complementary flavour, or do you want a contrasting flavour? With the surge of gastronomical explorations, an evolution in our tastes, and a willingness to try out new flavour stories, wine pairing has been reinvented. So, go forth, and experiment.

5. Global warming has an impact on wines – Fact
Global warming won’t just affect the ice caps. It will affect your wine too. Even the slightest change in temperatures has an impact on the production of grapes. And that in turn will affect the quality of wine. So you might want to rethink your stance on climate change and your carbon footprint.

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