April Showers bring May Flowers.  At least, that's the rule - unless you live in Arizona, where showers at any time continue to shock and awe the general populace into driving as if they were operating a speedboat, IE hydroplaning sideways through every intersection.


There are rules attached to wine as well.  Rule #3, for example, 'white wine with fish'.  Certainly, pairing salmon with semillon proves that true, and not only because they are essentially the same word, give or take a silent L.   As glorious a union as these are, a case could easily be made for substituting pinot noir.  Red wine with fish may sound blasphemous to some, but for many, it's 'Blast Off', a ticket to tastebud tantalization.  Better yet, sear off a piece of ahi tuna.  It's red-fleshed, it's meaty, it's practically a hunk of steak, except for the living-in-the-sea disclaimer.  Go to the red cabinet, open a grenache or malbec, enjoy.  It's as simple as washing your hair (and feel free to repeat, but skip the rinse step).


A popular Wine Rule is #7, 'serve red wine at room temperature'.  Lovely advice in the 1800s, when the rule originated and room temp hovered near 55˚.  Those living in the current century who readily utilize the benefit of central heating tend to ramp up in the 70˚s, which can turn the tannins in red wine upside down and relegate it to feeling disjointed and tasting harsh.  Most reds perform better with a slight chill, 62˚ or so, which offers a better balance of fruit and acid.


Then there's the standby from the Great State of Texas, 'never eat anything bigger than your head'.  This is especially apropos in the Lone Star State, where noggins are sized beyond the norm due to a completely separate rule, 'everything is bigger in Texas'.  The eating adage applies to folks who consider wine to actually be food (a belief not currently embraced by the BATF but accepted elsewhere).  Does that translate to avoiding large format bottles like Magnums and Jeroboams?  Not really, as the advantage to larger format is a longer, slower aging process that typically results in a more layered, complex evolvement of flavors and aromas.  This is notably applicable with treasures like single vineyard Napa cabernets and trophy bottles such as fine vintage Bordeaux, not so much when outside the realm of bottles.  Wine from a bigger box usually does not lead to a bigger payoff.


The ideal is to adhere primarily to Wine Rule #1: 'when it comes to wine, there are no rules'!  Every other snippet of wisdom offered by a 'Wine Expert' is, at best, a generality, a theory that may test true yet often succumbs to exceptions to the rule.  An addendum to Rule #1: when relating to personal taste preferences, you are your own best Wine Expert.  Palates are like snowflakes - cold, wet, and unique to each individual.  Just because I drink more wine than you (let's call that Wine Rule #1, addendum #2) doesn't mean I know more, particularly when it comes to your specific palate and taste.


Hey, did this Wine Expert just talk himself out of a job?  So be it.  Rules don't rule the roost, wine or otherwise.  Besides, I can always try my hand at Driving Instructor.  If you need me, I'll be the guy from the Windy City whose car travels straight in the rain.               


Peter Kasperski