Colin Thorne VS Wine Myths • Ep 1 • British wine CAN'T be that good 🥴

Colin Thorne VS Wine Myths • Ep 1 • British wine CAN'T be that good 🥴

Before we start busting some wine myths, here's a little background on Colin. 

Colin has been the buyer for the Vagabond group of wine bar shops since 2010. Since the beginning, he has brought in hundreds of incredible new wines every month for people to try at our venues, winning us the Decanter Retailer of the Year and Innovator award along the way. So if there's anyone who can clear some of these long-standing misconceptions surrounding wine, it's him!

Let's get started. 

COLIN THORNE VS WINE MYTHS (1. All wines are better aged) Vagabond Wines SOMM

Aging or “cellaring” a wine means that you decide to take a wine you have purchased and store it in a cool, dark place for a number of years, allowing the wine to improve as it sits in the bottle. (Source: Vinepair)

1. All Wines are Better Aged

Not true. Of the many hundreds of thousands of wines made each year around the world, only a tiny percentage will be capable of benefiting from being extended - by which I mean more than five years, of bottle ageing.

COLIN THORNE VS WINE MYTHS (1. Red wines should be served at room temperature)) Vagabond Wines SOMM

2. Red Wines Should Always be Served at Room Temperature

Which room are you in? A draughty Scottish castle or a steelworks blast furnace? (Please don’t drink wine near blast furnaces, things can go very wrong). Room temperature these days for most homes is around 20-22 degrees. Red wines served up at that temperature tend to be ‘heavy’ or ‘flat’ and the aromatics may seem overly alcoholic. Rather than provoking refreshment warm reds are simply tiring to drink.

Tip: Pop your red in the fridge door for half an hour often helps to ‘focus’ the aromas and flavours. And you’ll likely get to enjoy it more.

COLIN THORNE VS WINE MYTHS (1. A decanter is the only way to decant wine) Vagabond Wines SOMM

3. A Decanter Is The Only Way to Decant Wine

Any vessel will do the job of aerating a wine really. You don’t need a hyper-fancy decanter. However, a broad bottomed decanter is really good at exposing more of a wine to air and thus softening and opening up very tannic or ‘closed’ red wines.

COLIN THORNE VS WINE MYTHS (1. Grape Variety) Vagabond Wines SOMM

4. "If I like a grape variety grown in one place, I’ll definitely enjoy it if it’s grown elsewhere"

Possibly. But possibly not.

This one is quite hard to answer as there are over 1600 grape varieties in production around the world. The key influences on how a wine tastes – climate, site and human intervention – will be a better guide to choosing a wine overall but that requires a fair amount of prior knowledge.

Some grapes are seemingly happy to put roots down in many places; Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are two obvious examples. Though these two will just as much reflect their origins as their ‘typical’ flavour profiles. A cool climate Chardonnay, such as an English vineyard might provide, will not be a full-bodied, creamy and rich white wine similar to one grown in California’s central valley for instance.

Other grapes remain fickle and have rarely transferred out of their native regions well. Nebbiolo (the grape of Barolo/Barbaresco) being a notable example.

COLIN THORNE VS WINE MYTHS (1. british wines) Vagabond Wines SOMM

5. British wine CAN'T be that good 

The days of English wine being made only by eccentric hobbyists are long gone. There’s a highly skilled workforce, well-travelled and committed to creating world-class cool-climate wines in the UK now.

Having recently been on a wine judging panel, tasting through sparkling wines from around the world, the English wine flight was the most universally successful.

Did you learn something new today? Don't forget to share this article if you did!

Back to blog