Wine 101: Busting Myths, Part 2

In continuation of my article ‘Busting Myths’ Part 1, I share more quick wine facts. Things you always wanted to know but you were too shy to ask..unless you happened to be seated beside a wine geek at a social gathering.

5) White before Red

Whites should always be served before reds, right? Well, almost always. But it’s not a hard fact rule. We typically serve wines from the lightest to the heaviest. It is a natural progression, which allows each wine to shine. If you serve a big bold red first and go straight to a delicate white, it might be hard to taste the white properly. But if you pour lighter reds, you could easily start with those first and go to whites after. When you visit the region of Burgundy in France, they always make you taste the reds first (Pinot Noir) and then the whites (Chardonnay). The red Burgundies are light enough that they won’t stop you from properly tasting those magnificent whites. In fact, the whites refresh and revive your taste buds. I love it.

If you are a cheese lover, you probably serve a cheese plate during a special meal. The cheese course is typically served right after the main and just before dessert. As I mentioned before in my article Wine and cheese 101, whites tend to pair better with cheese than red. So don’t be afraid to go back to whites after your main course, even if you served a bigger red to go with the meat dish. The whites will refresh and the cheese will provide a nice bridge.

6) Port Keeps Forever

This sweet delectable nectar is lush and intense. Unless you’re sharing it with a group of people, you won’t go through a bottle in a night. You’re likely to have small servings over many days. But just like wine, port won’t keep forever. Port too will oxidize slowly once opened. So if you still have that bottle you’ve open a year ago, it’s only good for the drain. Half bottles are good options. Otherwise put the port in the fridge once it is opened. It will slow down the oxidation process. A younger vintage port can easily keep for a week or two. Older vintage port and Colheita will oxidize quickly once opened. It could be a matter of hours or a day depending on the vintage. Tawny port, LBV and Ruby Port will last one and a half to two weeks.

7) The Older the Better

Homemade wine, Beaujolais or special Bordeaux, is does not matter. They all improve with age. FALSE! White or red, only some wine will benefit from some ageing. Check out my article “Does All Wine Improve with Age?” for more info on ageing wine.


Michelle Bouffard is a wine educator and journalist who splits her time between Montréal & Vancouver. She is the president of the BC Chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers. She Tweets @michellebwine and Instagrams @michellebouffard.