Fancy grape juice, otherwise known as wine, has integrated itself comfortably in every culture. Whether you drink wine to savour or intoxicate, there are several rules of engagement you need to follow before you reach for one of Dionysus’s bottle…
Know your limits – Starting with the highly obvious yet most dismissed rule when humans decide to party: don’t go overboard. It may take two sips or two bottles to get you plastered. Either way, drink enough to maintain the mind of a man – with a slight giggle – whilst keeping the instincts of a beast at bay. If you suddenly feel overwhelmed, stuff your face with baguette bread to soak up the ethanol.
Don’t rule out colour – You may be so used to drinking red that you omit any offers of trying a highly recommended white or Rosé. As we grow, our tastes change and you may miss out on an apricot-infused sauvignon blanc. Some wines that are stored at an extremely cool temperature can develop the aroma of bananas. From carbonic maceration*, a slight banana scent can emanate thus other flavours in the wine have a pronounced effect, whilst others are concealed. This process is common with several producers from Beaujolais.
Don’t dismiss screw tops – I can remember the snobs who would disregard the screw top bottle that a guest had brought to a dinner party. The screw works just as well as the cork and it is actually better for fresher wines, given that they are consumed within two years. It’s also less of hazard when a first-timer tries to open a corked wine.
Don’t act pretentious for the sake of it – The list is endless: sending away more than one bottle, sniffing the wine deeply when sampling it as though you are Inspector Clouseau, talking about countless exotic smells in a bottle, discussing how this glass of white reminds you of your weekend house in Monaco where you usually sit on the balcony and reminisce on the days where you only had three cashmere jumpers. Wine should be used as a conduit for abstract ideas, humour and interpersonal relationships, not as an opportunity to remind everyone of your status in life.
You don’t need to drink white with fish and red with meat – Everyone has different taste buds so it’s time to put the arbitrary rules to bed. Any good food with any decent wine is going to be a match made in heaven, it’s all preference at the end of the day.
Red wine is room temperature but white wine should not be freezing – A white wine should be chilled at the same temperature as your salads. Any cooler and the flavour is dead / taste is dulled.
*Carbonic maceration is a process where the grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxide rich environment, prior to pressing and without using yeast.