Wine Myths

Must have been a great party.

Unicorns, the Greek gods, and leprechauns are just a few examples of myths that have endured through the ages. Even those in the wine community have their own myths that have endured. These wine myths are not limited to those that are just beginning to learn about wine.

Unfortunately, these myths have caused many people to base their wine drinking choices on unfounded beliefs. Old wine is better, only the French make good wine, and “Merlot stinks” are just a few examples. We are going to dispel some of these myths in this show.

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Show #4
(18:07 min 8 MB)

20 Responses to “Wine Myths”

  1. 1 Karl Smith Jan 31st, 2005 at 7:24 pm

    Really loved the show this week. Kudos to the excellent topics and production.

    There were a couple of topics I would have liked to hear on the Myth show:
    1) Cork: real, syn, or screwtop (egads!)
    2) Rosé: white zin’s ulgly stepsister or beautiful swan?

    Looking forward to the next show!

  2. 2 Jay Selman Feb 1st, 2005 at 1:40 pm

    Karl, good one about the closures. Lets not forget wax/cork also. I glad you mentioned Rosé. I like them because they go with just about any food. Pop one open for a spring picnic and I am in heaven. To be honest, I am surprised by the numebr of wine geeks that have never explored Rosé.


  3. 3 C.C. Feb 2nd, 2005 at 2:10 am

    Excellent podcast. I’ve been listening since the beginning and really enjoying your no-nonsense, down to earth approach to wine. Of course listening on the commute home I often find myself having to stop at the wine store. *grin*

    What was the wine you were drinking though? You kept raving about it and the price, but I’m not sure you ever mentioned exactly what it was.

    Keep up the great work and I’ll be listening.

  4. 4 Jay Selman Feb 2nd, 2005 at 9:21 am

    Drinking wine at the same time we were producing the show? Whatever gave you that idea? That would be very unprofessional. 🙂
    However, If we were to dring a wine while recording, a good one would be the
    2002 Faiveley “Georges Faiveley” Bourgone. 100% Chardonnay. Aprox $10.

    Jay Selman

  5. 5 Bertrand Feb 5th, 2005 at 1:32 pm

    Critics, I think, may be useful for the upper bracket wines , as you don’t want to pay substantial money for a wine that_who knows_ may be ordinary or even bad . But for the lower range_and in many places ( like in France ) you can find quite good bottles_ you do not need to have someone point the goodbottles for you . Just buy a bottle here and another there , check by drinking them with friends, and go back to the store ( or the winery ) for a case . Anyway , if a critic writes something about a good low priced wine , it may not stay affordable for long…

  6. 6 Brian Feb 5th, 2005 at 5:25 pm


    You are right on with your opinion about the critics effect on price and availability. Anytime a high score is announced on a wine between $10-$30 it vanished from shelves and what’s left over goes up in price.

    Your best defense is a good wine retailer (who you trust) that can make some recommendations before Robert Parker or Wine Spectator spoils the day.

    As far as the high end wines – I also use the critics guidance (I just can’t try all the wine out there) because I would like some opinion before I lay down the big bucks. Find out which critics opinions you prefer because they all have different likes and dislikes.


  7. 7 John Feb 9th, 2005 at 9:44 pm

    What about corks. You guys did not address that issue. Is the screw cap better or worse than the regular old cork?

  8. 8 Leigh Older Feb 10th, 2005 at 3:42 pm

    Sounds like we should address the cork/screw cap debate on a future show as Karl also mentioned wanting to hear about it. Thanks for the feedback. I find it interseting right now that some wineries are using the screwtop format as a marketing differentiator since its not in “widespread” use.

  9. 9 Joe H Feb 23rd, 2005 at 8:05 am

    I really enjoy all of your shows. On the Myths show (and at least one other time), one host suggested that 1997 Cinq Cepages was “over the hill” and most ’95s, ’96s, and ’97s (California I presume) were at the end of their lives.

    I am still holding 1985s, and most enjoying 1990s now. I had a wonderfully showing Montelena ’84, Ingelnook ’85 and had a wonderful ’68 Inglenook. I have tasted my way 25% through cases of ’96 and ’97 Cinq Cepages and ’97 Pride Cab and Merlot and feel that now they have shut down a bit, but expect them to come roaring back to a much better place in ’07 and beyond.

    Parker’s website , , suggests holding ’95s, ’96s, ’97s.

    So, I worry that you are giving advice that Californian ’95s, ’96s, and ’97s are all downhill. Perhaps I am wrong to expect these wines to show better after ’07 than they did in 2002. If so, that is a show onto itself. The decline of age-ability in California wines. It must of happened quickly, because my 1990s are brilliant now. That is very big news….and a big issue. Can you address the issue?
    Joe H

  10. 10 Jay Selman Feb 24th, 2005 at 8:38 am

    Joe, Let me address your comments form my own personal viewpoint. I feel the 95’s and 96’s are drinking great now. In addition, I think these wines have a long life ahead of them. IMHO, these vintages are even better than the original assessments. In terms of the 97’s many were great out of the chute. Many of the 97’s that I have tried subsequently have failed to impress me. They were somehow disjointed, unbalanced, which I would differentiate from a dumb phase. I am not knowledgeable enough to tell you how these wines will taste 5-10 years from now. I must confess, I am concerned, but not enough to dump my wine down the sink. J Of course there are plenty of exceptions. In particular, my mountain wines are doing great. I drank a Pride 97 recently and it rocked. At the same tine, how, has a whole, do you feel the 94’s are doing?

    As to the general age worthiness of California wines, I feel you and I are in the minority. As a whole, I feel many California wines age very well indeed. I am just now finishing off the last of my 1991’s (best of the decade IMHO). I drank a 1991 Flora Springs Reserve at a tasting recently as it was FANTASTIC. Its still has plenty of life in it. Oh my, what a wine. The 19991 Paradigm, send them to me if you do not want them. I still have a very few from the 80’s. You mentioned the 84 Montelena, I still have some 86’s and an 87 in my cellar, and I know those wines have plenty of stuffing in them. Part of the debate over aging California wines stems form a shift that happened in the 80’s to produce wines that were more accessible in their early years. I had this discussion very point recently with Brad Harrington from .

    I hope to explore this point in greater detail with one of the most respected figures in winemaking in the near future. Until then, report back with tasting notes whenever you open one of your older bottles. That way, I can share in your passion for older wines.


  11. 11 Bill Feb 26th, 2005 at 8:09 pm

    Just listening to the podcast, congratulations !! Love it.

    You reinforce my feelings on Merlots, unfortunately while there are some excellent wines made from Merlot grapes, Petrus for one as you mentioned, Merlorts were popularized as a Yuppie drink secveral years ago by an article in the Wall Street Journal. Since then “yuck” so many Merlots flooded the market that choosing a good one and finding one from California that was not overrated became a hazard. Merlots very quickly became the equivalent of ordering chardonay when someone wanted to be cool.

  12. 12 Jay Selman Feb 28th, 2005 at 6:17 am

    Bill, you have a good memory. I also remember when merlot was the hot varietal. These things go in cycles. People get bored, so they move on to the next wine. I have no doubt that merlt will come back again.. Have you tried the Paloma merlots? If not, give them a call, you will not be sorry.

    Jay Selman

  13. 13 Paul Mar 23rd, 2005 at 10:58 pm

    Bashing wine critics seems to be de rigueur. Jay makes an important point, that they are an invaluable resource. It is a very unfortunate situation that wine critics, whom I believe (and I might be wrong) got into the business to help consumers are now more used by the wine producers to price their wines. Their original intention of helping consumers differentiate the bad juice from the good has fallen by the wayside as a solid rating comes out, and the price goes through the roof. I found the book “Noble Rot” so interesting and enlightening with regards to Robert Parker’s start in the wine business and his intentions. It is very unfortunate how producers have turned the tide and used his ratings aginst the consumer, pricing wines according to the ratings. It seems that everyone loves to bash Parker (apparently this Montevino film is the latest in the bandwagon), but he has really done a lot to improve the overall quality of wine in the marketplace. (I have never met the man, nor any other wine critic.)

    I have a number of bottles of a particular wine the Spectator rated an 85 that is a stellar wine. In fact, I met the winemaker by chance who is convinced the reviewer just got a bad bottle. Who knows? When you start out you need a guide. They do provide a valuable service. That said, would I rather have a 2002 Las Rocas (RP 92 or something) or a 2001 Loring Clos Pepe Pinot (WS 87)? For my “unsophisticated palate”, no question, the Loring is a my winner…

  14. 14 Brian Clark Mar 27th, 2005 at 8:49 am

    You are right, wine critics are very important. There is no way I have a chance to sample the thousands of wine out there. I need some help.

    I use the critics advice as a guide not the rule when making my buying choices. If I see a super low score I will tend stear away and of course I am drawn to the higher scores. I don’t buy a lot of new bottles of wine because I have been collecting for years and currently sit on a mountain of wine. I don’t need to add much on a yearly basis. So if I see a high scoring wine at a low price point I will take a shot, buy one bottle if I like it buy more. Critics are also a great resource for finding that new hot wine. Get it quick (or get on their mailing list) before it disappears.

    Also, know you critics taste, they are not the same, Laube, Parker, Tanzer and other all have different taste. They often disagree by a wide margin on certain wines.

    We have booked a few well know wine critics in the future. So stay tuned.

    Brian Clark

  15. 15 Blake Olson Apr 13th, 2005 at 5:19 pm

    Listening to your show about myths reminded me of a little incident of several years ago.
    So California wines won’t age????
    We visited some friends, Rudy and Linda, in the Las Feliz area of L.A. Rudy told me about his significantly more Hellraising days of several decades ago and one thing they used to do.
    They had a card game every week at different people’s houses and one person, on a rotating basis, was required to bring a case of whiskey or wine. The winner of the last hand got the case.
    Rudy and Linda don’t drink wine and he won his share of cases of wines over the years. He just shoved them up into the crawl space under their house. The house is 4000 sq. ft. and built in 1927 so the crawl space was pretty close to a perfect cellar….though he was just trying to get rid of them and had no idea of actual storage.
    Anyway, he showed me this musty stash and told me to take whatever I wanted. We could only get one bottle in the small suitcases so I took a 1971 Parducci Gamay Beaujolais that was, at the time, 29 years old. I thought it would probably make pretty good vinegar for cooking.
    The stuff was wonderful. It was the typical yucky Gamay color but tasted great. We went back the next year and I rescued another bottle of it and it had turned. I got that first one on the cusp.
    Most of the rest were whites that had turned almost the color of the Gamay so I figured they were far over the hill.

  16. 16 Brian Clark Apr 25th, 2005 at 9:20 am

    I think it is always a crap shot with wines of that age regardless of where they are from. But under the right conditions: No Light, No vibration, Constant temperature wines can last a long time.


  17. 17 Fiona Dec 24th, 2005 at 2:32 pm

    Love the show!

    In regard to wine myths, I’m curious about temperature. I’m frequently served red wine that is really warm. Usually it’s out in a very warm centrally heated room and tastes horrible. Everyone says it’s meant to be served at room temperature, but I suspect that rule was made when houses were rather colder on the whole. Am I right or wrong on this?

  18. 18 GrapeRadio Crew Dec 27th, 2005 at 3:22 pm

    Fiona, as you know we tend too serve red wines to warm and whites too cold.
    The room tempertaure idea was based when people were living in “homes” that were drafty and not insulated. As a general rule, I shoot for 62-65f for reds.

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