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Wine Tastes Better When You Ditch the Rules for Drinking It

Drink what tastes good to you.


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Photo from Reuters/Sebastien Nogier.

“In wine, there is truth” the ancient saying goes. In wine these days, there are also a lot of rules. And sometimes, the judgement, showmanship, and shade surrounding what we drink and how we drink it can suck the fun right out of one of humanity’s oldest pleasures.

Here at Quartzy, our philosophy is pretty simple: Drink what tastes good to you. It’s an attitude that Los Angeles wine shop owner Helen Johannesen, quoted recently by my colleague Jenni Avins, articulated when describing the easy pleasure of glou gou wine: “It’s easy; it’s casual; it’s a vin de soif. You’re not going to be swirling it in your glass over three hours trying to extract the tasting notes … It’s also a vibe—like: It’s a party! It’s cool! Life is for the living!”

To that end, we’ve assembled some of our most liberating wine advice. As my colleague Annaliese Griffin put it, “A lot of wine rules are bullshit.”

Drink Your Wine Canned

Wine at the beach, campfire, or outdoor movie screening is a great idea, but toting glass bottles and glasses along on your adventures is impractical. Fortunately, as Annaliese reported, “the can is cool again.” And the wine filling those cans is often some pretty good stuff: “Sommeliers and beverage directors at high-end restaurants have started creating their own canned wines,” Annaliese writes. “They appeal to a new generation of wine drinkers, who want to sip Chenin Blanc poolside and take their rosé to the beach.”

Chill Your Red

We know, it’s scary—but once you put aside the notion that white and rosé should be served straight from the fridge and red at room temperature, you’ll find that a glass of chilled red can be perfect on a warm summer evening. The good news is that “a wide variety of chilled reds that are fun, food-friendly, and easy to swill are appearing on more restaurants’ wine lists and shopkeepers’ shelves.” Less basic than rosé, too (though nothing is wrong with chilled rosé).

Drink Airplane Wine, But Make It Taste Better

It’s unlikely that anyone ever raved about a wonderful cabernet they drank at 40,000 feet, but there are ways to make it better. Try this simple in-flight aeration technique (with instructional video!) next time you’re faced with a single-serve plastic bottle of vino.

Break the Red, White, Pink Trifecta

Try a new color. As Jenni noted way back in 2015, an emerging crop of orange wines (also called “skin contact” or “contact” wines) are made using ancient Georgian techniques from white wine grapes with the skins left on, rather than removed. Jenni found them “full as a red but refreshing as a white”—and was delighted to find they could stand up to the flavors of an assertive meal.

Put Ice in Your Wine

Call me basic, but to me there is nothing more satisfying than the clink of ice cubes on the side of a summertime glass of pale rosé. For long, outdoor drinks sessions, I only want my rosé on the rocks. Or, while we’re at it, in the form of a “Italian-ish” spritzer.

Or, Failing That, Cool It down Real Fast

Sometimes ice cubes won’t do the job though. If your wine starts out warm, ice cubes might instantly melt and water it down too much. But don’t worry—there’s a hack for that. Consult Annaliese’s “get-your-wine-cold-in-a-hurry cheat sheet.”

Don’t Be Shy About Comparing a Wine to Pop Rocks

It’s totally possible to be into wine without being annoying about it. Just consult the work of Marissa Ross, who wrote the “casual guide to confident drinking.” Then head to your local wine shop.

Drink Wine From Places the Snobs Ignore

Forget your French beaujolais or California pinot noir—thanks to global warming, there are new kids in town. A Polish chardonnay or a riesling from Michigan may horrify the aficionados, Akshat Rathi wrote, but “in a few years, those wines may be as welcome as bottles from France, Italy, or California.” Even the UK is producing some nice bubbly these days. Give it a try!

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This post originally appeared on Quartz and was published August 18, 2018. This article is republished here with permission.

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