Haute Cabriere cellar master Takuan von Arnim sabers a bottle of bubbly, but it may seem a bit extreme for casual lovers of the good stuff. Photo courtesy wine.co.za.

The best wines are…old, expensive, come in bottles with corks, have fancy names and even fancier labels, and should never, ever, even catch a glimpse of a block of ice.

You’ve no doubt heard these stories before, but which ones are true and which ones are just tall tales?

We delved into Platter’s brand new wine guide, Everything you wanted to know about wine but were too afraid to ask, to find out.

The more expensive the wine, the better it is

Unless done in massive bulk numbers, winemaking is generally an expensive exercise. Even a young wine can take as long as five years to produce, and earn itself a pretty price tag in the process. And other factors, like the producer’s overheads, for example, can also influence the price of the wine. It is for these reasons that price is not necessarily a reliable indicator of quality.

Adding ice to wine is a serious faux pas

While it’s true ice prevents the release of the flavours and aromas of your wine and waters it down, there are occasions when it’s perfectly acceptable to add an ice block or two to your glass. These include if you’re drinking a dry white wine on a very hot day and the wine has not been chilled, or if you’re drinking a spritzer (one part white wine to one part soda). To speed-chill warm white wine, add a block of ice to your glass of wine, stir it for 10 seconds, and then quickly take the ice out.

Red wine should always be served at room temperature

It’s commonly accepted that this advice hails from Europe, where room temperature for much of the year is pretty cold. In South Africa, warm red wine – especially in summer – is not much fun. It’s perfectly acceptable to chill red wine in the fridge for 30 minutes on a hot day.

Wine in boxes and screwcap bottles is inferior

Contrary to popular belief, “papsakke” (as opposed to glass bottles) and screwcaps (as opposed to corks) do little to change the quality of the wine inside. In fact, cork stoppers can become tainted and mouldy, and can crumble. Screwcaps, on the other hand, are believed to help wine retain its natural fruit elements, keep disease out and keep wine fresh for longer. So, don’t judge a wine by its packaging!

Older wines are best

It depends on how old is old. Red wines matured to between six and 10 years (depending on the cultivar) are actually at their peak and usually magnificent, smooth and seductive. Wines older than that can become vinegary simply because they are too old. The vast majority of wine is meant to be enjoyed within a year of its release to the public.

“Wine has always been an area of great debate, as so much of the information surrounding it is subjective. Ultimately, there are a handful of ground rules governing the drinking of wine and for the rest, it’s a matter of personal choice. As long as you enjoy the wine you’re drinking, you can’t go wrong!” says Andrew Douglas, TOPS at SPAR Wine Show owner and wine marketing disrupter.

If you’re looking to further your knowledge of those ground rules and pick up a couple of bottles to enjoy (any way you like!), pop in to Winederland at the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show.

The Wine Show is Thursday the 8th June to Saturday 10th June at Suncoast Casino this coming week.

Thursday and Friday are between 5pm and 9pm, while the closing show on Saturday opens at 3pm and closes at 9pm .

More than a hundred wines will be available for you to try and buy.

For more information go to www.wineshow.co.za

To book tickets click here