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BKWine Brief #42 out

>> Monday, January 08, 2007

BKWine Brief #42 is now out. You can find it here. This is how it starts:

Decanting the wine... Sounds perhaps old-fashioned or snobbish? But that is a big mistake. The traditional motivation to decant a wine (i.e. pour the wine from the bottle into a decanter) is to remove the sediment that has formed at the bottom of the bottle in a wine that has been aged for a long time. But to be honest, for most of us, rare is the occasion when that is necessary. Unfortunately. But an almost more important, and useful, reason to decant the wine is to let it “breathe”. (Can you hear it wheezing in the bottle?) Letting the wine breathe, or aerate, is a way to make the aromas and the taste develop one additional notch before drinking it. At home we decanter almost all the red wines we drink, and some of the whites, to give it that extra boost in flavour. Or to look at it from the other side, to allow it to develop its full potential before it is poured into the glass. If you don’t have a carafe at hand you can use any other container, and then pour the wine back into the bottle. Many of the winemakers we visit say in the tasting room “it’s a pity I didn’t open the bottle a couple of hours ago. You’d notice the difference!” They often recommend decanting the wine several hours before serving it. And sometimes even the day before. So you hardly need to worry about decanting the wine too early – the longer the better, almost. Wine is not so fragile and volatile as sometimes believed. Unless you are opening that delicate old Burgundy from the 70s that you have been saving. Then you should do it just before serving. So, polish up your old decanter and use it more often. (Then again, I remember reading an article in some wine magazine some time ago where they did a test with freshly opened bottles, recently decanted, and some that were decanted a long time before the tasting. The result was that in most cases – the opinions were divided. But until I do the blind test myself and are proven wrong, I am convinced that decanting is good. And it looks nice…)

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