Finding a good wine is no small task (which is why we often find ourselves reaching for the coolest labels on the shelf). Pithy tips like “reds with meat” and “whites with seafood” are appealing in their simplicity, but experts say that these so-called rules can and should be broken. Matt Kramer of Wine Spectator does his duty with a new round of myth debunking in a recent article, including three major ones that are worth considering:

  • Myth: Structure determines whether a wine will age well. This belief is grounded in the idea that tannins are essential to aging, since the enzymes are believed to provide the kind of structure needed in a (good) wine’s maturation. Those who subscribe to it believe that tannin-rich reds are the only wines worth aging, and that “all those white Burgundies and German Rieslings that age successfully for decades” are just outliers. Kramer points the 1982 vintage—said to lack structure by experts—as counterevidence: “Thirty years have now passed and the ’82 red Bordeaux are sailing along just fine, thank you.” These days, oenophiles should know that “wines age successfully thanks to a confluence of forces involving acidity, phenolic ripeness, pH and that mysterious thing, the wine version of dark matter, called ‘balance’.”
  • Myth: More money means better quality. Beyond a threshold of $30, price doesn’t equate quality, says Kramer. It’s tempting to use a price scale like that, but advancements in equipment, increasing education amongst winemakers, and a general rise of ambition has changed the industry dramatically. It’s good to keep in mind that “many superb wines from Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Oregon, Hungary, New Zealand, Australia and, yes, even California, sell for $20 to $40 a bottle.”
  • Myth: You need to monitor the humidity in your cellar. If you’re not a winemaker caring after wine barrels, then set the rules about maintaining humidity levels between 70-95 percent aside. As your wine bottles are made of glass and tightly corked, there is very little humidity that can impact your wine. Wood barrels used for wine, on the other hand, are porous, so the liquid can evaporate far more easily.

[via Wine Spectator]