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Is Aussie wine better than French wine?

Red wine should only be served at room temperature, right? Wrong! We chatted to our Sommelier of the Year and Head Sommelier of Felix, Pip Anderson to dispel some of the biggest wine misconceptions including this common rule. So if you want to be a smarter and savvier wine drinker, take note.


MYTH 1: Avoid screw caps and cask wine at all costs 

Pip’s verdict: FALSE

“I believe screw caps are the future of the wine market,” says Pip. “There’s no risk of cork taint, which has been known to write off entire vintages for some producers. Screw caps also retain the freshness in wines. This means less sulphur needs to be used which translates to ‘less headaches’.” And how about cask wines? “The quality is lower as the fruit does not reach the high standards of premium estate wines,” explains Pip. “However, the same careful and diligent winemaking procedures are used. They’re value for money, drinkable drops for the everyday market!”


MYTH 2: Only serve red wine at room temperature

Pip’s verdict: FALSE

“Most red wines should actually be served just below room temperature,” says Pip. “There are also plenty of examples of bright, young, 'Nouveau' style wines which are designed to be served slightly chilled.  However, that being said, when you do allow a red wine to warm up, like cupping the glass in your hands, it allows for the release of aromas that have been held captive in the bottle.”


MYTH 3: Champagne doesn’t age well

Pip’s verdict: FALSE

“Despite popular belief, Champagne is actually renowned for its longevity,” says Pip. “Although the finesse of the bubble is important, those lovely toasty brioche and cashew aromas develop with time. For example, 2005 Bollinger Grande Annee has been aged for a minimum of eight years and it’s still as fresh as a daisy!”


MYTH 4: Red wine will give you a worse hangover

Pip’s verdict: MAYBE

“All wine will give you a headache if consumed in excess,” laughs Pip. “However, it has been suggested that wine headaches could be linked to how much sulphur has been used in the winemaking process, rather than the type of wine.”

MYTH 5: French wine is better than Aussie wine


“French wine isn’t necessarily better it’s just a different style of drop” says Pip. "Felix is a French-inspired bistro and of my wine list of 900 wines half are French and the other half are Australian. Not surprisingly, sales are equal.”


MYTH 6: Always drink red with meat and white with seafood

Pip’s verdict: MAYBE

“This is a tough one,” says Pip. “I do believe that this rule is true, but there are always wines of any colour to be found to match your dish. I have guests who swear that Christian Moreau 'Cuvee Guy Moreau' Vaillons Chablis which is a white wine is the perfect match to our Felix steak tartare.” 


MYTH 7: You need to have a developed palate to appreciate wine

Pip’s verdict: FALSE

“Anyone can appreciate wine,” declares Pip. “But I do suggest continually developing your palate. Pick up and smell fruits, vegetables and herbs so you can recognise them in the glass. Then, next time you sit down to enjoy a glass of wine ask yourself a few questions. For example, can you detect notes of vanilla and cedar that could indicate that oak barrels were used to mature the wine. Don’t just think about the flavours but also consider the texture of the wine.”


MYTH 8: Red wines are more sophisticated than white wines

Pip’s verdict: FALSE

“This is definitely a myth,” says Pip. “The amount of work, care and precision it takes to capture freshness and elegance of a white wine can be seen in the glass. Well made white wines can also age longer than most reds.”


MYTH 9: Old wine needs decanting

Pip’s verdict: TRUE

“Decanting removes the wine from any sediment or deposits that may have developed over the years,” says Pip. “It also allows the wine to breathe, opening up all the aromas that have been locked away in the bottle over the years.”


MYTH 10: It’s a crime to put ice cubes in wine that is too warm

Pip’s verdict: TRUE

In Pip’s book this is a total no-no. “If you want a cooler glass of wine pop the bottle in an ice bucket 10 minutes,” says Pip. “This will be more effective and won’t disturb the concentration of your wine. If you’re trying to dilute the alcohol levels of your wine (and I have heard people cite this as a reason for adding ice cubes) you should opt for a lower alcohol wine. Some German Rieslings can be as low as 7% and as sweet or dry as your palette prefers.”