The wine making process we know in modern times is quite different than how we began making wine, way back in Neolithic times. Much of it is due to processing plants and factories that allow commercial wine makers to make so much at once at a quicker pace than our ancestors ever could achieve - unless you're Jesus, I suppose. To better understand wine, we should know the facts that are not exactly well known. But don't try to act like a know-it-all at Miami wine events.
The general consensus is that white wine pairs best with fish meals and red wines is for red meats, such as steaks. This has scientifically been studied and found to be true for the most part. However the interesting part is it's not because the pairings taste good, it's actually because at least one of the pairings tastes unpleasant.
The ACS (American Chemical Society) studied this by having volunteers come in and try to enjoy seafood with several types of wines. Red wines contain higher iron content than white wines and due to that, those who ate the seafood and followed up with one of several red wines, they reported having an overwhelmingly lingering taste of the fish they ate. And what made it worse than it sounds, that fishy taste continued to stick around in the volunteers' mouths for a bit longer than they would have liked.
A few red wines have lower iron content which makes them more pleasant with fish. I'm not saying you'll like it, but you won't absolutely hate it.
According to wine blogger Nat Leon, another fact most people don't realize is wine experts, also known as "wine connoisseurs", aren't exactly the kind of "experts" you or even they may think they are.
Cal Tech put together a study involving wines that greatly differed in prices. They switched the wines' price tags before asking wine experts to describe them in detail. It turned out that the experts would lean more positively towards the cheap wines simply because they had the fake expensive price tags. But that's not all. Frederic Brochet over at University of Bordeaux also conducted a study. He bought two white wines and turned one red with simple food dye. He then asked 54 wine experts to also describe the differences in each wine. The results showed that not one of them knew they had been duped. We view expensive wines to be better wines simply because we expect the greater value but the truth is often they may just be overpriced.
So it seems the "wine connoissuer" is more of a "wine conman". But to be fair, they still know a lot about wine. All the studies suggest is that they're not perfect and their opinions on each glass they taste are subjective based on the expectations. Now that you know this, do yourself and everyone else a favor and don't bring this particular topic up at any Miami wine events. Just have a good time.
Here's another interesting tidbit, one my father may disown me over. You probably don't need to decant your wine. Decanting is a simple process where the person opening the bottle will pour it into a decantor to let the wine breathe before serving. It looks nice and classy, but it's not often necessary.
True, letting the wine breathe does affect the wine's taste. But as our winemaking processes have changed pretty drastically over the years, you may find yourself liking your wine right after you uncork it. This is because many years ago, wine had a bit of a sulfuric smell which would disappear through the decanting process. That's no longer the case. So decanting is now just a personal preference.
But, if you let it breathe too long, you may notice a unpleasant vinegar smell and taste to it. At that point, you may want to cork the bottle, go out and buy some unpasturized (pure) vinegar and make your own wine vinegar. Just add the wine and let it sit for a month. Cook with it as you wish, afterwards.