In this age of wine in cans, sweet red wine and Instagram wine parties, it’s difficult to believe that there used to be hard and fast rules for wine drinking. Some wines were acceptable only in certain seasons, and specific food-and-wine pairings were sacrosanct. Many of these rules have fallen by the wayside. Here are the ones that we don’t have to pay much attention to any more…
Serving temperature: Even people who didn’t know much about wine “knew” that red wine had to be served at room temperature and white wine should be chilled.
What’s new: Almost any kind of wine—white, red, sweet red—can be chilled, and you can even add ice cubes. Caveat: The highest-quality and most expensive reds are still best served at a temperature of 55°F to 60°F.
Packaging: Until a few years ago, wine came only in glass bottles…but recently, wine in cans became the next big thing.
What’s new: Wine can come in bottles, boxes, cans—even paper and plastic. The key here? Stick to three-liter or smaller containers for the best quality.
Mixing it in: Wine used to be served only on its own in a stemmed glass.
What’s new: The popularity of sweet red wine and sparkling wine has opened a new area for wine drinkers. In addition to the French 75 (gin, Champagne, lemon juice and sugar) and the Champagne Cocktail (sugar, Angostura bitters, Champagne, brandy and a maraschino cherry), you can mix a sweet red wine with club soda and a few limes to make a sangria-style cocktail…or use an $8-to-$12 sparkling wine, such as Italian prosecco or Spanish cava, to move past the traditional mimosa.
No more seasons. At one time, red wine was for winter…white was for summer…and rosé was available only a few months out of the year.
New rule: All of that has been turned upside down. Ice cubes can turn red wine into a summer drink…many whites, like California chardonnay, are made in a heavier style and can be enjoyed during colder months…and rosé is available 12 months a year.