Long-held beliefs about wine may not always be true. The Moon Man’s earthquake forecast – that made usually levelled-headed folk flee Christchurch in March – made me turn to my well-thumbed copy of Charles Mackay’s 19th century tome on the Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds to remind myself of how humans have always had a tendency to believe strange stuff.

Mackay chronicled witches, alchemy, insane investment schemes and even crackpot quake predictions. He didn’t touch on wine, but there are enough myths surrounding it to fill a book of their own.

One old chestnut of a misconception is that aged wine is better than young. Most mainstream wines are made in styles suited to early consumption, which mean few will improve over time. In fact, an aromatic variety like sauvignon blanc is often best drunk young while it exhibits the fresh and aromatic characters that are so captivating in our examples in particular.


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