The higher the cost, the better the wine.
If the cork is flawed, so goes the wine.
A cork can be a signifier of a good or flawed wine, but it doesn’t have to be the end all, be all. If the cork crumbles while opening a bottle of wine, there is a good chance the cork was beginning to dry out, which could lead to oxidation. However, you cannot be sure until you taste the wine. A cork could be wine soaked halfway up, which could mean the bottle may have become too warm, expanding the wine and forcing it up into the cork. Still, you cannot be sure until you taste the wine. A cork may have a literal half-inch of sediment on it, meaning the wine may be getting over the hill. Yet you cannot be sure until you taste the wine! Some of the best wines I ever had in my lifetime had the worst corks. Even if the cork crumbles and falls right in to the wine bottle, please, I implore you not to discard the wine! Get out a wine strainer or even a coffee filter and strain out the cork bits. This wine may still be heavenly.
Older wines taste better.
This has got to be one of my favorites, simply because it is something I often deal with. This myth comes from decades ago, when many European wines could take generations to develop. Even today, some wineries retain these winemaking processes, yet most wines that are produced today have a peak time to drink. That peak time is between 3 and 5 years. Now, I’m not saying that if you find a bottle of 2002 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon in your basement, it won’t be good. It will probably be delicious. What I am saying is that most everyday wines are best consumed within 5 years of their vintage. Higher quality–read pricey–wines are made to last longer, developing over time and with age. In general, if you do choose to age a wine, what you are expecting is for the tannins to fall off, creating a softer, more elegant wine. Vintage has a lot to do with the quality of a wine, too. If you are looking for an excellent bottle from our extensive cellar that has already been aged, you want to choose a 2002 vintage over a 1998 vintage since the 1998 vintage was quite difficult and created wine with vegetal overtones.
This blog is no joke. I hope everyone learns a lesson from this. Wine is a delicate issue and needs protection from these horrible rumors that could lead to bottles being dumped in the sauce, or even worse, down the drain! There are so many other misconceptions about wine out there that I feel it’s my duty to debunk! But it’s late, and this Super Somm is tired. Tomorrow is another day, and another wine to save (or sell.)
– Jennifer Laurie