When I first read the Joha´s Table blog, I was surprised to find so much more than just recipes. I discovered stories that transported me to places and moments in Joha’s history that made me feel like we’ve been friends for a lifetime. I felt like I was sitting, eating at her table, savoring her tremendous anecdotes.
Much akin to Joha, I am a faithful believer that wine and food unite people and, as Joha says, "food is a common denominator." So is wine!
So I was excited when she invited me to collaborate in Joha’s Table. Just as I felt her presence while I read her blog, I thought my experience as a sommelier paired with her recipes could make any evening magical!
With that in mind, I gladly accepted her invitation, and I would like to share my love for wine and its culture, and also some tips to learn how to drink it properly.
So, let’s demystify some hindrances many people have about enjoying wine:
3 Myths about wine
1. Good wine is expensive.
While it is true that there are very well known wines whose status is reflected in their price; it is also very true that there are many wines whose quality is not reflexive of their prices.
There are some very expensive wines that are poor in quality. People pay for the designer label, the historical value of the estate, the reputation of a celebrity, etc. There are also less expensive wines that reflect the impeccable work of the winemaker by designing a wine with the precise characteristics that the winery wants to transmit and whose audience needs to receive.
My advice is to not get carried away by the price, or other characteristics such as the country of origin, or if the wine is red, rosé or white.
I encourage you to try and discover new types of wine, the wide variety of grapes and what kind of flavors your paladar prefers. After all, it is about getting the most out of the experience.
2. Wine improves over age.
Yes and no.
Yes, in the case of some exclusive wines that can be acquired through auctions, heritage, waiting lists or by buying them directly from the wineries, these wines usually remain “aged” in barrels or bottles under very specific conditions, and constitute between 5 % and 10% of wines worldwide. The other 90% -95% are the wines we get in restaurants, boutiques, supermarkets, etc.
Those easy to access wines will actually not improve much over time. Maybe a couple of years, but only the most "robust" wines – those that are made with certain types of grapes and with a certain style of winemaking, and usually have been aged in oak barrels at least 1 year – can last up to 8 years in good conditions. After this period, the process of “oxidation” will start (especially those with 100% natural cork), or even a type of disease that will ruin the wine.
One tip is to try to buy the bottles of the most recent vintages and those that are less visible (less handled and with less exposure to light).
Another recommendation to keep wine at home is to store it horizontally or at a 45-degree angle, in a place without humidity and away from heat sources.
If you are one of those who has saved a wine bottle since your wedding day or the sweet sixteen of your now-30-year-old daughter, you’re probably only keeping its emotional value!
3. Red wines with red meat and white wines with fish
What makes a red wine acquire that color as opposed to a white color, is the grape skin better known as the “exocarp.” That is what gives tannins to red wine.
Tannicity is the characteristic that makes a person’s entire mouth dry when tasting a wine, it is the sensation of astringency. It’s the same thing that makes it seem better to only pair red wines with red meat. Nevertheless, among the red vines there are all kinds of intensities, and there are even more intense white wines and lighter red wines, this is also due to other particular qualities (such as the time spent in the barrel).
There are some whites that are aged in barrels, and develop intense and persistent flavors, which is very pleasant when pairing them with red meats as long as they are lean.
On the other hand, what goes well with the very tannic reds (Cabernet Sauvignon, Tannat) is fatty meats, since they are perfectly balanced on the palate achieving a glorious experience.
Likewise, there are some reds made with grape varieties whose lightness and acidity achieve a delicate but tasty harmony with fish, such is the case of Pinot Noir or Merlot with Salmon, Tuna or the so-called "blue fin fish," whose meat is even redder than pork (which by the way, goes well with the whites and rosés).
My advice is to taste and taste, because even when there are decalogues of pairings, there is no less combination better than that which makes us elevate all the senses and turn moments into memories.
I hope these simple tips help you to bring your glasses to the table, or to pair with a good friends. Whatever the case is, I say a toast to the lucky encounters!