We do love an old wife’s tale here at Xtrawine. And we’re willing to bet that your own mothers and grandmothers have plenty of pearls of wisdom to share with you, many gleaned from generations gone past.
We’ve all heard things like how breaking a mirror gives you seven years of bad luck or how you shouldn’t put brand new shoes on a table before wearing them. Some will see these as silly superstitions, and we suppose they are.
But when it comes to the much more serious issue of Italian wine, this silly little myths can damage the drink itself.
In this article, we look at some of the most common myths about Italian wine and explain why you shouldn’t listen to any of them. And we’re going to start with a big one…
A Teaspoon in a Sparkling Wine Helps it to Keep its Bubbles
You’ve cracked open a bottle of bubbly but you haven’t drunk the whole thing. Sparkling wine is notorious for losing its fizz if it’s left open for a day or two, but you’d love the chance to keep the wine alive for just a little bit longer.
Then, you recall an old trick. You don’t remember where you heard it but it goes a little like this.
If you place a teaspoon in the wine, handle down, it will somehow keep its bubbles for a day or two longer than it otherwise would.
We’re not exactly sure where this myth originated from but we can say without a doubt that the air is not afraid of your cutlery. The presence of a spoon on the wine isn’t going to stop oxygen from doing its thing. If anything, it’s going to give the wine a metallic taste that isn’t appetising.
There’s a much simpler solution to the loss of bubbles problem…
Keep the wine cool.
As any carbonated/bubbly beverage heats up, it loses the bubbles that are inherent to it. By keeping the wine on ice, you give it a much better chance of lasting for a long time than you would by dumping a piece of metal into it.
Corks Are Better Than Screw Caps
We can already here the traditionalists getting the pitchforks ready on this one.
But the simple fact is that there’s no real evidence to suggest that corking a bottle leads to a better taste that using a screw cap. In fact, using cork can occasionally ruin the wine if it’s a bad batch of cork or the bottle isn’t sealed properly.
Cork taint, oxidation, and simply allowing leakage are all problems that are more likely with cork than with screw caps.
Now, we’re not going to say that screw caps are better either. Some may argue that wine that comes into contact with a metal cap could lose some of its quality too. But we’re standing steadfast in the opinion that it doesn’t matter which you use. What’s more important is that the wine’s properly sealed to prevent air from getting in and properly stored in a cool place away from the sun.
Expensive is Always Better
There are plenty of less expensive wines on the Xtrawine website alone that prove that cost is not the determining factor when it comes to the quality of a wine. What really matters is the love and attention that’s put into the wine by the people who produce it.
Now, more expensive wines certainly tend to have a higher level of prestige. And they tend to come from companies that are more established in the winemaking world. But that doesn’t automatically make them better.
For example, an up and coming winery might price its wines a little cheaper just to get some more exposure. This doesn’t mean that the wine isn’t any good. It simply means they’re looking to establish their own niche.
And this is without talking about the subjective aspect of drinking wine. A more expensive wine may have a combination of notes that you simply don’t enjoy. And now, you’re left with a hole in your wallet and a wine you don’t even like to show for it.
Quality is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. But we can say for certain the price is never an indicator of quality.
Wine Always Gets Better With Age
This is a tough one to argue with as it’s one that pervades wine culture to a huge extent. And in many cases, Italian wines will develop new qualities and become “better” if you allow it to age.
But it’s not the case every single time.
Some wines could even be better when they’re young than they are when they’ve aged a little while. And again, the subjectivity of drinking wine comes into play here. Sometimes, the changes to a wine as it ages may lead to you not enjoying it as much anymore.
And of course, there’s always the danger of a wine ageing a little too much. There’s a fine line to walk between perfectly aged and over-aged.
The point is that ageing isn’t always the best policy when it comes to Italian wine. Research the ageing potential and figure out what happens to the wine as it ages. The trick is to find the perfect age for your own palate, rather than simply ascribing to an idea of older is always better.
The Final Word
Those are four of the most common myths in the world of Italian wine well and truly busted.
Every single one of these myths can cause issues for wine lovers. In the case of the spoon in the bubbly, you’re having no positive effects and may even damage the wine. Other myths on this list could stop you discovering great wines because they don’t cost as much as you think they should or they’re not as old as you think they need to be.
All we can say is that you shouldn’t allow any of these myths to affect your wine buying, or drinking, experience.