Wine Myth #1: Legs

4 Feb

Have you ever seen somebody take a glass, swirl the wine around, examine it and wistfully declare ‘This wine has good legs’?

Once accepted as a sign of quality, the legs, or tears as the French call them, are the streaks of wine that cling to the side of the glass as the wine is swirled about. Granted it is a pleasant aspect of tasting wine, and conversation; comtemplating life as the beads of wine run down the glass. The legs actually have nothing to do with the quality of wine – they reflect its alcohol content.

Now for a brief science lesson (stay with me): Legs occur because of the fact that alcohol has a lower surface tension and faster evaporation rate than water. As you swirl your wine around the glass, the bits sticking to the side begin to evaporate. As the alcohol evaporates faster the changed alcohol-to-water mix now has different surface tension areas. Eventually gravity wins, the water’s surface tension breaks, and it falls back down the glass, in tears. Try covering your next glass of wine and see if the legs appear. No evaporation – no legs.

So, next time somebody announces that a wine has great legs, you can attempt explaining the above. Or perhaps nod your head in agreement and suggest what a great ass it has too.


2 Responses to “Wine Myth #1: Legs”

  1. Lar Veale February 15, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    Who’s the man or woman behind the glass? Like the site so far – never saw the Legg’s wine list dissected or discerned in as much detail up to now.


  2. Chief Grapist February 15, 2010 at 11:56 pm #

    Cheers for the comment Lar – I’m new to the blogging world but not so new at drinking wine!

    Leggs wine review – had to be done.


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