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Good wine does not give you a hangover. I sometimes just nod along when people tell me they believe this as it is not harmful, or rather gets people to drink better wines… but it is just not true.
What is a hangover? A hangover is a combination of different symptoms that are caused by the consumption of alcohol: symptoms like fatigue, headache, weakness, thirst, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound. Alcohol consumption causes dehydration which leads to headaches and thirst. It also irritates the stomach and increased acid release which causes stomach discomfort and causes unsteady sleep … we have all been there. So the problem is alcohol – ethanol – and this is a component of all wines, good or bad. You might even say that higher-end wines are even more alcoholic… My explanation for why we have fewer problems after drinking really good wine is that we generally appreciate it more, savor it and drink it in a civilized setting over dinner – rather than chugging it from the bottle in a parking lot …
There is also research stating that biogenic amines (BA) are a likely reason for headaches. The best-known one is histamine. But their presence in wine is linked to bad microbiological management which means that wines with low sulfur content are more likely to give you a headache – which mini myth busted. The next wine myth is that wine legs are an indicator of good quality. Wine legs aka Tears, aka Church Windows are not related to quality. But they are real so what do they indicate? In 2020 a paper called Theory for Undercompressive Shocks in Tears of Wine was published, stating Wine legs occur due to the evaporation of alcohol on the side of the glass. Due to minor differences in the evaporation process, droplets form and liquid falls as legs. The more alcohol there is, the more evaporation occurs thus more wine legs on the side of the glass. What about viscosity? Viscosity alone (e.g. high sugar content) does not lead to droplets. So wine legs can tell you how high the alcohol concentration is and how likely you are getting a hangover from drinking too much of it – but it does not tell you how good it is.
Only red wine can age
Often tannic red wines are perceived as the most age-worthy wines around. But several factors enhance aging of a wine
Most important: General wine quality. High-quality wines tend to have a longer aging potential regardless of varietal, region, or color. Besides that, there are some wine-specific factors. Winemaking is an important factor: If the wine is aged in the barrel for a while before bottling it tends to be more robust. A high amount of phenols (antioxidants à slow down or inhibit oxidation). Lower pH & high acidity (inhibit microbiological growth due to acidic environment). High residual sugar levels (sugar has hygroscopic properties, drawing water from its environment and making it hard for microorganisms to grow). Reasons why TBAs from Germany can last up to decades and even longer.