Sunday, March 20, 2005

Decanting - Day 5
We have seen what one Master of Wine (MW) has to say about decanting. How about one more? Michael Broadbent devotes almost fives pages to decanting in his book Wine Tasting (my copy is the 1989 Simon and Schuster Reprint). Here is a sampling of what he has to say.

“More fatuous argument has been stimulated by this side issue than almost any other.”

"The second, and in my opinion far less important, reason for decanting is to aerate the wine. It is in this area that there is a great deal of muddled thinking……”

“By general consensus, young wines can take, possible need, plenty of breathing time older wines less, very old wines scarcely any – just extract the cork and decant carefully. If it were only as simple as that.”

“How many times has one been told, and occasionally discovered accidentally, that a young red wine seems softer and better on the palate the next day?”

“It is my considered opinion that no noticeable oxidation occurs for a very considerable period after the cork is drawn, and, surprisingly little change occurs in the decanter. The main development takes place in the glass. The greater the wine, the more revealing and complex the bouquet and the longer it and the flavour will last.”

"My final advice on “air” is: be bold, and try decanting well in advance. Above all, with a really fine wine (and this applies as much to a top-class white burgundy as to claret) give the wine a chance to blossom in the glass: sip it, make it last, revel in its marvelous development.”

I certainly hope later editions of this otherwise excellent little book are less confusing. First we are told that he thinks that “little change occurs in the decanter” but then “be bold, and try decanting well in advance”. Maybe he has a lot of really pretty decanters that he likes to boldly show off?

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