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5 Wine Rules We Think You Should Break 

Goldeneye bubbles outdoor patio wine glasses

Cue “Rebel, Rebel” by David Bowie.

Set the tone for a new wine era free of old assumptions and arbitrary rules. Wine should always be joyful, delicious, and exciting. We encourage bending if not breaking old rules, exploring more and having fun— drink what you love; personal preference matters.

While having some fundamental wine knowledge and know-how makes sense, following outdated rules does not. But to break the rules, you must know the rules. So, here is a roundup of “wine rules” meant to be broken.

Rule: Sparkling wine is only for special occasions.

Make every day special, and there will always be a time to celebrate with the effervescence of sparkling wine. Bubbles are for more than just special occasions. While the winemaking process is layered and complex, pairing sparkling wine with food is relatively simple. Its lack of tannins and high acidity make it perennially perfect for a pre-meal palate cleanser or to accompany almost any cuisine, appetizer, and main course! Explore our sparkling wines for any occasion. 

Rule: Don’t Chill Red Wine

Actually, there are instances when chilling your red wine will elevate your drinking experience. During outdoor gatherings and warm summer days, you wouldn’t want a bottle to get too hot, so chilling your red may help to show at its best. Chilling lighter-bodied or fruit-forward reds such as Pinot Noirs can enhance their acidity and bring out their fruitiness. For bolder reds, it's true that the tannins could tighten up with an excessive chill but feel free to experiment and explore varying temperatures when the occasion calls for it.

How to chill red wine: Placing a red wine in the fridge for up to an hour or the freezer for 15 minutes should provide a good chill.

Rule: Fish Pairs Best with White Wine

It’s time to move on from this fishy myth once and for all. Some white wines often complement seafood's delicate flavors and texture, but lighter-bodied reds and Rosés also create a remarkable pairing. The vibrant, earthy, and fruit-forward profile of Pinot Noir beautifully accompanies certain fish dishes. Pinot Noir and grilled salmon are one of the most iconic food and wine pairings!  Don’t get caught up in the fish-white wine saga; embrace the option to explore wine pairings with your favorite seafood dishes.

Rule: Decanting is Only for “Big” Wines

Decanting is pouring wine from its bottle into a glass vessel (decanter) to separate the wine from any sediment that may have formed over time in the bottle. (Learn how to decant step-by-step.) This is more common in older wines, and bolder wines like Cabernet Sauvignon are usually considered more age-worthy. The connection between “big” wines, their age, and sediment likely keeps this rule afloat.

While big, bold wines with high tannin levels do benefit from decanting, the process is not exclusive to them. Younger wines can benefit from decanting too, allowing them to aerate and open up. This exposes the wine to oxygen, which can help soften tannins and release aromas and flavors. Using a decanter ensures each glass tastes best to your preferences.

Rule: Wine Taste Better with Age

This generalization hasn’t aged well! While aging can positively impact certain wines, older wines are not guaranteed to taste better. When evaluating aging potential, consider the type of wine, varietal, region, and winemaking techniques.

For some wines, aging can have desirable changes, such as developing complex flavors and a smoother texture — but not all wines are suitable for aging. It’s (mostly) best to drink lighter-bodied reds, white wines, and rosés when young, vibrant, and fresh. Aging them can diminish their best qualities and result in a lesser-tasting experience. Depending on your style and taste preference, some wines may be best to enjoy within three years, while others can last decades or more. Choose for the occasion!

Forget the rules, or at least some of them. It’s time to rebel a little and embrace a fresh perspective. We could all use fewer rules, more fun, and a sense of joy and excitement discovering new wines.