Many common perceptions are incorrect

There are many misconceptions about wine still floating about in the community. Let me pop a few of these bubbles for you and give you the real scoop.

Common perception: All ros&

233; wines are sweet.

Uh, no. Many of us have been misled about ros&

233; and blush wines. In the past, the only recognizable ros&

233;-type wine was Sutter Home white Zinfandel. This mega case-produced ros&

233; wine has some residual sugar and, to my taste, has the feeling of liquid cotton candy.

There are many folks out there who love these kinds of sugary wines and more power to them &

if this is the kind of wine that works for them. The problem with these kinds of wines is that I don't find that they do well with many types of cuisine. The sugar, in my estimation, simply interferes with the meal. The residual palate can get cloying and quite frankly spoils the palate.

The dry ros&

233; wines with 11.5 percent to 13.5 percent alcohol are drier selections and can really blend well with many meal selections. The real point to all of this is simply that a wine should blend, not contrast, with a meal. This pairing of vino and cuisine can be and almost always is a thing of beauty and has been for many, many years.

Common perception: All Rieslings are sweet white wines.

This is not true. Again, because of the insidious Rieslings or Riesling types &

such as Blue Nun &

with tons of sugar and little or no acid, we believed that this was the way of all Rieslings.

In fact, there are many drier Rieslings out there with higher alcohol contents. We can still get fruit-rich wines (this does not mean "sweet") without the glob of sugar in the finish. Look for the word "Troken" on a German Riesling and you will find the drier Riesling. Many of them are very delicate and yummy.

Common perception: Chianti is made world wide.

Nope. Chianti is made in Tuscany, primarily from the noble Sangiovese grape of legend and countless years of history. As the American wine industry was being formed around the 1890s, we saw the arrival of many immigrant winemakers. Some of these winemakers and their families were from Germany and France, but the major hold in the wine industry was from Italian and Italian-American men and women who put a huge stamp on the kind of wine being made as well as the names that the wines bore on the labels.

The French and Franco-American winemakers used the terms "Burgundy," "Claret" and "Champagne" to designate the type of wine in the bottle. The Italians used the name "Chianti." These names were used because of association with their native lands and of their heritage. Therefore, there were such venerable wineries such as Louis Martini and Charles Krug (amongothers) in the Napa Valley who used these proprietary names without using the historic grape varietals to go with them.

We now understand that true "Burgundy" wines are made with Pinot Noir for the red and Chardonnay for the white as well as the above mentioned Chianti. There is no American Chianti and never has been.

Common perception: Straight varietals are better than blends.

For many years, it was thought by wine consumers that, if the label pronounced that the wine in the bottle was of one grape type, the wine was better than those with blended varietals. This is an interesting problem.

Many (again, for example) American wineries use Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Zinfandel as single wines types in the bottle. Many of these are quite lovely and can be stunning, as well. We also see the blending of these grapes and the wine can be very good, indeed.

We would also not (on the other hand) think of blending Pinot Noir with anything else or, in many cases, Riesling. We do have, however, historical fact of blending in Bordeaux and Chianti with a few grapes tossed in to "compliment" the resulting wine.

Such is the world of wine to say that straight, single varietals are no better or worse than blends. It depends on the historical facts, growing areas and intent of winemaker, as well as the taste of the finished product, to make any serious study. But I think it is a moot point as all wines stand by the old maxim, "Would I want another glass of this wine?"

If you answer "yes" to this question, the winemaker did his or her job correctly!

See you next week.

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