Once again, for those of you who, like me, have been living under a rock for the past year and a half, the 20th Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest is happening on September 11 and 12 at the gorgeous Dutchess County Fairgrounds. The event’s primary focus and raison d’etre is the celebration of wine, the ancient elixir that, along with beer, may or may not be the reason humans decided to hang around together in cities and jump-start civilization in the first place. With the origins of wine being so swaddled in mystery, we’ve decided to cobble together some commonly held misconceptions about our favorite beverage, in order to do a little friendly myth busting. Feel free to respectfully disagree, but this is what we’ve found:
1. Myth: Wine gets better with age.
Not really. Most wines are created to be drunk right away, or at least within a year or two of their release. There are exceptions, although they’re pretty rare, and expensive. Buying something like that comes with a boatload of responsibility, including providing a state-of-the-art place to store it (see THIS for information regarding that). You might also want to cultivate a cadre of knowledgeable and appreciative friends to drink them with when the time comes. Otherwise, what’s the point?
2. Myth: When tasting wine, you need to swish it around in your mouth a bunch of times.
You can, but it’s not really necessary, unless you’re a pro tasting a bunch of wines in a row and trying to dig into the current flavor. If you’re at home or in a restaurant, one sip will do.
3. Myth: One trait of a high-quality wine is that it has “legs”.
The streaks that run down a glass of wine are known as “legs or “tears.” Legs indicate viscosity, which in wine is mostly due to alcohol content. While a wine exhibiting nice fat legs may not be any better than one that exhibits skinny ones, it will probably get you inebriated faster, so drink with caution.
4. Myth: If you don’t like how a wine tastes, you should send it back.
This is only true if the wine has obviously gone south, or some pushy sommelier has talked you into something you didn’t really want. Otherwise, it’s bad juju to try to get a bottle you ordered taken off your tab. Just order something else, and eat the loss.
5. Myth: Only leftover white wine should be refrigerated.
Cold is preservative. Reds need preservation as much as whites do. If you’re not going to get back to a bottle for a few days, stick it in the freezer. Either way, it’s good to let a red warm up for a bit at room temperature before drinking it.
6. Myth: Red wine should always be decanted before drinking.
Again, not really, unless there’s a bunch of sediment swimming around in the bottle. Your wine will get quite enough air just by being poured into a glass.
7. Myth: Wine with a screw top is inferior to one with a cork.
Ok, boomer. This is some seriously debunked bit of nonsense. In reality, screw caps have been found to perform admirably in protecting wine from harmful oxidation, which is the whole point.
The 20th Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest is taking place at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, September 11 and 12, 2021. For more information, or to contact the festival team or subscribe to the festival mailing list, go here.