Russ Winton: Wine List

Wine Line: Some wine myths revealed

Russ Winton

Can we talk? Can you handle the truth? Are you ready to face facts? Are you ready to toss some wine myths into the Dumpster and move on with your life? I mean, don't we really want to enjoy the right wine, right here, right now? I thought so. Here's my list, and if you can think of any more dumb myths we need to dump, please let me know.

Myth No. 1: All rose is sweet

The white zinfandel craze in the '80s, which converted wine cooler fans to wine fans, also made many consumers believe that all pink wine was sweet. Wrong! Real rose is dry rose and delicious with food. It is the beverage of choice in the summer months of southern Europe. U.S. wineries are finally getting on board and are producing some excellent roses. It's about time!

Myth No. 2: Screw caps are for cheap wine

We're not talking Night Train or Thunderbird here. We're talking quality closures for quality wines. Screw caps are the best seal for wine, eliminating the chance of a corked wine. Each bottle will be just as good as the one before. Screw cap wines are simple to open. No crumbling corks or gadgets needed, just twist the cap to break the seal. Screw caps are very easy to re-seal in order to save the leftover wine (or so I'm told).

Myth No. 3: Red wine for meat, white wine for fish

Sure, this is the fail-safe equation -- but would you match a full blown-oaky-rich-buttery chardonnay with delicate dover sole? Would you pair a big-dark-tannic-chewable petite sirah with veal marsala? I don't think so. Light reds such as pinot noir or beaujolais can work well with seafood (salmon) and riesling, pinot gris, gewurtztraminer or a dry rose' pairs well with light or cured meats.

Myth No. 4: Pinot noir good, merlot bad

The movie "Sideways" is directly responsible for this myth, which caused a drop in the sales of merlot while increasing those of pinot. Miles' love affair with pinot noir increased the demand, causing the price to rise. In the process, thin, watery, schlocky pinot started appearing on store shelves at ridiculously high prices. I suggest you drink what you like and forget that Miles dude.

Myth No. 5: The more expensive the wine, the better the wine

I have to admit that my epiphany wine was a 1987 Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon ($$$). So yes, expensive wines can be extra good, but many are way over-priced and overrated. Is a Dom Perignon Champagne five times better than Veuve Cliquot or is it $70 tastier than a Louis Roederer? Buy some. I'm available for a comparative tasting anytime.

What's on our table

2006 Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

If you are a Cab lover, this is a tremendous buy. The suggested list price is $15 and Costco has it for under $12. It is approachable, well balanced and extremely food friendly. It shows a nice concentration of fruit, a touch of oak and features a nice long, smooth finish. It really is a tremendous wine for less than $12. Cheers!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? You can reach me at