MYTHS AND LEGENDS
As much as I like talking about dragons, there are other, funnier legends that I would like to discuss today.
- Sulphite-free wines
There are none: never existed, never seen, never sold. Hence, stop going around asking for them. I will not comment on how sulphur is now considered to be the new phosgene since I will address that in a future occasion. For now, it suffices to know that alcohol fermentation produces sulphites. You may alternatively find wines where no additional sulphurs have been added, which means that the wine producer personally chose not to add any during the wine production stages.
- The more expensive the wine, the better
A cork of average quality costs around €0.30, so how can a good bottle of wine cost only €3.00? It is widely known that quality has its price: the experience of the winemaker, the fortune of a soil, the risky choice of keeping wine to age, etc. - this clearly raises the cost of the wine. However, there certainly is a threshold after which it is no longer a question of quality, but rather one of speculation and marketing.
- A farmer's wine is always the best
Even if our neighbour has been producing wine since forever and he claims he has never used any chemicals, he still does not have to comply with the same standards of a winery. Moreover, he cannot rely on all the agronomists, oenologists and technicians who continuously control the production stages of the wine in the winery to know its every aspect and really guarantee its quality.
- Table wine sucks
Whenever someone mentions table wines, you may directly think of Tavernello, Ronco et alia. However, there are many winemakers who choose not to have their wines catalogued under the different legal denominations for wine (IGT, DOC/DOP and DOCG), but rather keep their product labelled as table wine. In this sense, allow me to remind you that the much appreciated Supertuscan wines are all table wines.
- In southern Italy wine is corrected with fishy products
March 1986, methanol scandal in PIDEMONT, northern Italy!!!
- Screw cap = low-quality wine
When winemakers choose to use caps made of cork for their bottles, it is never random. The underlying principle is that these caps allow for the micro-oxygenation of the wine, which will lead to an evolution of the product, be it positive or negative. On the other hand, if the wine is to remain unchanged as much as possible because it is not meant to be left ageing, then the winemaker may choose to use other types of caps. This includes for example caps made of silicon or glass, Stelvin screw caps, crown caps, etc.
In recent years, Stelvin screw caps have developed as to allow for micro-filtration, just as corks but without the problem of trichloroanisole (informally known as sentore di tappo cork taint).
A short historical overview on the matter: drawing his inspiration from the drinking bottles that pilgrims used in the France of the 17th century, Benedictine monk Pierre Pérignon turned the world of corks upside down.
- Re-closing bottles of sparkling wines
It is everywhere now. It is even worse than Freddy Krueger, appearing in your darkest dreams whenever you least expect it. The teaspoon! Yes, indeed, I am referring to that teaspoon you use to close your unfinished bottles of sparkling wine. The question that is bothering me about it is pretty straightforward... WHY? The answers I hear are often unclear and they are typically as reliable as people claiming that the Earth is flat. If you have an open bottle of sparkling wine, the only right thing to do to re-close it is to use the kind of cap that has been designed specifically for that task. The rest is silly talk.