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Unveiling the 12 Common Mistakes When Drinking Red Wine

12 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Drinking Red Wine

Red wine is a popular beverage enjoyed by many, but there are common mistakes that people make when it comes to drinking this delightful libation. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned wine enthusiast, it’s important to be aware of these mistakes in order to fully appreciate and enjoy your red wine experience. In this article, we’ll explore 12 common mistakes and offer tips on how to avoid them. So grab a glass of your favorite red and let’s dive in!

Sticking to a single varietal and style

A mistake that many people make is sticking to one type and style of red wine. While it’s great to have a go-to choice that you enjoy, there is a vast world of red wines waiting to be explored. With over 10,000 grape varieties worldwide, it’s worth branching out and trying different types of red wine. For example, if you typically gravitate toward Merlot, consider exploring other regions where Merlot is grown, or try similar varieties with different flavor profiles. You might just find a new favorite!

Don’t Buy Wine at Specialty Wine Shops

While supermarkets are convenient for buying everyday items, they are not always the best option for buying wine. Specialty wine stores offer the advantage of knowledgeable staff who can make recommendations based on your preferences. They often have a curated selection of wines from different regions, allowing you to explore new and exciting options. Developing a relationship with a local wine shop can enhance your wine buying experience and lead to delightful discoveries.

Not studying the label thoroughly when buying wine

When buying wine, it’s important to take the time to thoroughly examine the label. The design of the label alone is not an indicator of the quality or character of the wine. Look for important details such as the grape variety, region of origin, and vintage. New World wines often list the grape variety on the label, while Old World wines focus on regional appellations. By reading the label carefully, you can gain valuable insight into what to expect from the wine inside the bottle.

The belief that older red wines are always better

There is a common misconception that older red wines are always better. While aging can enhance certain bold red wines, it’s not true for all red wines. Some wines are meant to be enjoyed young and fresh, without the need for extensive aging. The trend in the wine world is toward young, vibrant red wines that can be enjoyed immediately. Don’t overlook the pleasure of drinking young red wines and appreciate them for their unique characteristics.

Look at price instead of value

Price should not be the only factor when choosing a red wine. Expensive wines do not necessarily taste better, and there are many value wines that offer excellent quality at a reasonable price. Instead of focusing on the price tag, consider the overall value the wine provides. Look for familiar grapes from lesser-known regions, as they often offer great quality at a more affordable price. It’s all about finding the right balance between taste and value.

Ignore screw-top reds

Screw caps are often associated with lower quality wines, but this is a misconception. Screw caps can be an excellent closure option, especially for light red wines intended for early consumption. They provide a secure seal and eliminate the risk of “corking” the wine. Many prestigious wineries around the world have adopted screw caps for their wines, recognizing their benefits in preserving freshness and fruit flavors. Don’t overlook a wine just because it has a screw cap.

Not storing red wine properly

Proper storage is critical to preserving the quality of red wines. Ideally, red wines should be stored in a dark, cool place with a consistent temperature of around 55°F (13°C). It’s also important to store bottles horizontally to keep the cork moist and prevent it from drying out. Heat and sunlight are the enemies of red wine, as they can damage the wine and accelerate aging. Avoid storing red wines in areas exposed to direct sunlight or fluctuating temperatures.

Using the wrong glassware

Your choice of glassware can have a significant impact on your red wine drinking experience. Using the right glass can enhance the aromas and flavors of the wine. Choose a glass with a large bowl and a tapered rim that allows the aromas to concentrate and be directed to your nose. Avoid glasses with a wide opening, as they can dissipate the aromas and hinder your ability to fully appreciate the wine. Investing in quality wine glasses can truly enhance your enjoyment of red wine.

Serving Red Wine at the Wrong Temperature

Temperature plays a crucial role in the enjoyment of red wine. Serving it at the wrong temperature can mask its true flavors and aromas. Red wines are generally best served just below room temperature, around 60-65°F (15-18°C). Avoid serving red wine too cold, as it can mute the flavors and make the wine taste flat. Conversely, serving it too warm can make the alcohol more pronounced and overpower the nuances of the wine. If necessary, you can chill red wine in the refrigerator for a short time before serving, but be careful not to chill it too much.

Do not let red wine breathe

Red wines benefit from being allowed to breathe before drinking. This process, known as aeration, helps open up the flavors and aromas of the wine. When you open a bottle of red wine, consider decanting it or letting it sit in the glass for a while before taking your first sip. This allows the wine to interact with oxygen, softening the tannins and releasing its full potential. Aeration can greatly enhance your red wine experience, especially with young and bold reds.

Pairing Red Wine with the Wrong Foods

Pairing red wine with the right foods can enhance the flavors of both the wine and the dish. However, pairing it with the wrong foods can result in a less enjoyable experience. As a general rule, match the intensity of the wine to the intensity of the food. Light-bodied reds, such as Pinot Noir, work well with delicate dishes such as roast chicken or salmon. Full-bodied reds, like Cabernet Sauvignon, work better with bold and rich dishes like steak or lamb. Experiment with different pairings to find your own preferences.

Drinking red wine too fast

Red wine is meant to be savored and enjoyed slowly. Drinking it too quickly can prevent you from fully appreciating its complexities and nuances. Take your time to swirl the wine in your glass and allow the aromas to develop. Take small sips and let the flavors linger on your palate. Engage all your senses and pay attention to the wine’s texture, acidity and finish. By slowing down and savoring each sip, you’ll be able to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of red wine.

Not trusting your own palate

While it’s valuable to learn from experts and seek recommendations, it’s important to trust your own palate when it comes to red wine. Everyone’s palate is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Don’t be afraid to explore different red wines, experiment with pairings, and form your own opinions. Trust your senses and listen to what your palate is telling you. The joy of red wine is in discovering what brings you pleasure and indulging in those experiences.
So there you have it – 12 common mistakes everyone makes when drinking red wine. By being aware of these mistakes and making a few adjustments, you can enhance your red wine experience and truly appreciate the beauty of this beloved beverage. Remember to explore different varieties, seek guidance from knowledgeable sources, and trust your own palate. Here’s to enjoying many wonderful glasses of red wine in the future!


Why is it important to explore different types and styles of red wine?

Exploring different types and styles of red wine allows you to expand your palate and discover new flavors and aromas. It adds excitement and variety to your wine drinking experience.

Are more expensive wines always better?

No, expensive wines do not always taste better. There are many value wines that offer excellent quality at a reasonable price. It’s important to focus on overall value and find wines that match your taste preferences.

Can screw caps indicate lower quality wines?

No, screw caps are not necessarily an indicator of lower quality wines. Many reputable wineries use screw caps to preserve freshness and fruit flavors, especially in wines intended for early consumption. Don’t dismiss a wine based on its closure alone.

How should red wines be stored?

Red wines should be stored in a dark, cool place with a consistent temperature of about 55°F (13°C). It’s important to store bottles horizontally to keep the cork moist. Avoid areas exposed to heat, sunlight or fluctuating temperatures.

What is the ideal serving temperature for red wine?

Red wines are generally best served slightly below room temperature, around 60-65°F (15-18°C). Avoid serving red wine too cold or too hot, as this can affect the flavors and aromas.

How long should red wines be left to breathe before drinking?

Red wines benefit from aeration, which helps to open up their flavors and aromas. Decanting or letting the wine sit in the glass for 15-30 minutes before drinking can enhance the experience, especially with young and bold red wines.

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