Photo of Brent Lello - Yass Valley Wine Advocate

Brent Lello – Yass Valley Wine Columnist

Let’s crack open some long-lived wine myths.

Myth – All wines get better with age.  WRONG.

Not all wines get better with age.  In fact, only a relatively minor percentage of the total wines produced in Australia do get better with age.  Wines that do age well need to be balanced when young, have lively acidity and for red wines, have integrated tannins from the skins, seeds and oak.  These characteristics act to preserve the wine and allow the wine to develop with balance and elegance.  But even the most premium of wines will age well only up until a certain point on the aging timeline.  The wine will reach a pinnacle of “goodness”, followed by either a rapid or slow decline.  Due to our climate and the focus on quality from winemakers across the Yass Valley region, a lot of the wines produced here will age gracefully.  Just look for wines that taste great when young, are balanced, have lively acidity and for red wines, a lick of tannin.

Myth – Wines with screw caps are inferior to those with corks.  INCORRECT.

The screw cap closure has been around since the early “naughties”.  Prior to this period, most wines were sealed with corks.  Thankfully, technology moved on for the better and we are now hard pressed to find a bottle that is actually released under cork.  The wine industry, including consumers, got fed up the variable aging results of wines under cork and more than an acceptable percentage of these wines actually became “corked”.  “Corked” is a term that flatters no wine.  A corked wine tastes and smells like wet dog, cardboard and hessian bags.  As well as allowing wines to age gracefully, screw caps also have other pluses.  No need to fumble around for, or stab yourself with a corkscrew and the bottles can be stored standing up.

Myth – Red wines should never be chilled.  SERIOUSLY?!

Living in the Yass Valley region, we are well aware of the heat that haunts us during summer.  While summer is very conducive to cold beers and chilled white wines, there are those occasions when only a red wine will do.  But drinking red wine when the temperature is 40 degrees outside and the wine itself is at a “room temperature” of 30 degrees is a disaster waiting to happen.  The wine will be all out of whack.  I’m not condoning the insertion of ice cubes into your red wine glass, but place the bottle in the fridge or esky for an hour or so until the wine is around 14 to 18 degrees and the change in the wine’s temperament can be dramatic…and enjoyable!  Summer – seems like a long way away!

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