Friday, April 27, 2007

Decanting – Some Other Opinions

Before posting on the fourth wine to be subjected to The Great Decanting Experiment, I thought it might be interesting to select a few other opinions that have made their way onto the internet; to read the full article click on the link at the end of each quotation. I post them without any comments from me. To see what I have posted on decanting just click on the word decanting in the Labels line at the end of this post.

Wine geeks love to sit around for hours and debate the pros and cons of this procedure, but I'm confident -- based on my experience of opening, decanting and tasting hundreds of thousands of bottles of wine -- that careful decanting can improve most any wine. Sommelier Joseph Nase

Decanting an hour or two before serving can also help more youthful wines offer complex aromas, enhanced fruit flavors, and more supple texture. This is especially true of big, fruity New World red wines with firm tannins. Decanting allows oxygen to interact with the wine's tannins and flavor compounds at a molecular basis, to soften the mouth, feel and release more aromas. The wine becomes more pleasurable when poured from the decanter. Dave DeSimone, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

What can help better quality reds, and even some whites, is to decant them. This aerates the wine more effectively, softening any harsh tannins, and enabling the flavours to develop. This can be particularly helpful with young, full-bodied reds made from grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Syrah, Pinotage and Zinfandel, which have been aged in new oak barrels and haven't quite 'settled down' (that is, the oak aromas and flavours haven't yet fully integrated with the fruit). Even 30 minutes in a decanter can get rid of overtly oaky flavours and you could happily leave them for three or four hours. Fiona Beckett,

The process used for decanting older wines can more or less be discarded with young wines. Not too many young wines suffer from the presence of sediment so the goal is to speed up the oxygenation process as much as possible to tame the tannins, help the wine open and strut its best stuff. Towards this end the goal is to "splash" as much of the wine again the inside of the decanter while pouring, agitating the wine as much as possible without spilling it outside the decanter. With young wines Hanes has experienced positive effects with wines decanted 24 hours before consuming. One also sees a wine being poured repeatedly between two decanters to speed up the process. Hanes has even on occasion witnessed violent shaking of the decanter to get the puppy moving in the right direction. Anything for the best effect! Marc Hanes, The Hanes Wine Review

If you thought decanting was a ritual reserved for venerable bottles of Bordeaux or expensive Cabernet Sauvignons from the Napa Valley, you're wrong. The simple act of pouring it out of the bottle and into a glass container for serving can flesh out almost any wine. Less expensive, younger wines may actually benefit the most. Corie Brown, Los Angeles Times

This is a controversial subject, especially when it comes to Pinot Noir. Decanting is the simple process of carefully pouring a wine from its bottle into a glass decanter in order to both separate it from the sediment in the bottom of the bottle and to aerate the wine. In a wine with abundant sediment, it is almost impossible to drink the last 6-8 ounces in the bottle if it has not been decanted. Where decanting becomes controversial is that unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, or Nebbiolo-based wines, which improve significantly with aeration, Pinot Noir has such a highly nuanced, delicate perfume that these fragile aromas can dissipate/deteriorate quickly because of excessive exposure to aeration. Beaux Frères, Oregon (Partners include wine critic Robert Parker, Jr.)

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