Get a plastic cup. Add ice. Fill to the brim with wine. Cheers! So what's the problem?
A serious wine drinker would never be caught gulping wine over ice. They won’t drink it too cold. Or too warm. Not to old, not too young. No cans, or boxes. Real glass, no plastic - but don’t fill it too high. Does that mean everyone else doing it wrong? Nope. When it comes to wine, there is no right way to enjoy it.
But what’s all the fuss about? Why pay so much attention to the how, instead of just drinking it? For the wine enthusiast, it’s really about digging in - removing everything that interferes with the smell, taste and appearance, to clear the way for the wine to ‘express itself’. Wine geeks believe that each bottle has a story to tell. They want to pay attention to that story, and give it the space it needs to unfold.
So what are we (not really) doing wrong?
Serving it too cold, or too hot: Temperature affects flavor. If a wine is too cold, you can barely taste it; the chill buries the fruit flavors and exaggerates the acidity. Too warm? The warmth muddles the flavors and and exaggerates the alcohol. We tend to drink white too cold, and red too warm (both are off by about 10°).
What about that ice? Ice makes any drink refreshing, but those that care about the nuances of the flavor wouldn’t want to over-chill the wine. Plus, as ice melts, it dilutes the wine into a watery version of its former glory.
Try the 30-minute cool rule for achieving a good temp for wines: take chilled whites out of the fridge 30 minutes before drinking. And put reds into the fridge for 30 minutes before drinking. Or, just pull it out of your closet, or freezer - and enjoy!
Drinking out of anything but glass: What’s wrong with a paper cup? The reason that people fret about proper glasses has to do with the aromas and how the container affects them. The material matters: glass is impermeable and odorless. Plus, you can see the wine through it. The shape matters: bigger bowl with a smaller opening allows the aromas to concentrate right at the place you stick your nose in. Oh, and the stem matters: it gives you a place to put your hand that doesn’t affect the…temperature.
Over pouring: Why not fill up the glass to the top? It means more wine! Wine geeks go for a modest pour, not because they are abstaining, but because they want to leave enough room to swirl the glass and get those aroma flying about. Ever tried to swirl a wine that’s nearly filled to the rim? In an average sized wine glass, a 4-5 ounce pour is the norm. Of course if this is a problem, you can always request a huge glass.
These and other so-called rules are in place because they help to bring the best out in a wine. That is if you care to dig in under the surface. But what if you like to chug your wine out of a bottle, have a cupboard full of red Solo cups, or carry a packet of sangria spices to doctor it up? You can certainly enjoy wine without dissecting its inherent flavor. And that’s just fine. No one is qualified to tell you what you like, and how to like it. You can just tell that guy cringing over there that you’re going for the hedonistic approach to wine today. He’ll get that. And he may even leave his ivory tower for a minute to join you.