Friday, April 27, 2007

Decanting - Another Opinion

Here is a decanting experiment that just caught my attention while Googling. OK, so its only one wine and it appears that the decanted and undecanted wines were not given to each individual at the same time; so direct comparisons could not be made. The conclusions do suggest that individual palates may respond to decanted wine differently. Although the effect of aeration on the perception of tannins is interesting! (I have bolded some sections that I find of interest. Click on the link at the bottom of the post to link to the original article.)

I admit that I had envisioned a specific result: that the decanted wines would generally lack pizzazz and that the undecanted wine would emerge as the victor. Not only was my assumption wrong, I was totally unprepared for what transpired.

Throughout the tasting, people kept saying that that they couldn't believe they were tasting the same wine. Clearly, decanting and aeration have a substantial effect. There was no clear-cut winner, though. One taster liked the undecanted wine (that was me!) and one taster liked the wine that had sat out for 24 hours. Nobody liked the wine that was aerated for one hour. And the remaining samples were fairly evenly distributed, although there was a slight skew toward the two-hour aeration period.

My own perceptions may have been clouded by my admitted prejudice and the fact that I knew which sample was which. I like fresh wines with lots of nose. Only the undecanted wine could be characterized this way. I was also very surprised by the reaction of the tannins. Folk wisdom says that aeration softens the tannins, yet in all of the aerated wines the tannins seemed harsher than in the unmanipulated wine, and the panel agreed.

In general, I found that the longer the wine had sat out, the more reserved (i.e. "dead") the nose. Here, too, the panel mostly agreed and their tasting notes supported this. THE FRUGAL OENOPHILE

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