Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Great Decanting Experiment – Wine #4

This next wine is a five year young Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that should be coming into its own. The 2002 Peter Franus Cabernet Sauvignon is a mix of fruit from Rancho Chimiles (south east of Napa Valley) and Hyde Vineyard (Carneros). Aged for 18 months in 100% French Oak (75% new). Even though it should be just be entering its drinking window I’m expecting it to be still tightly focused with firm tannins and obvious oak. This is the type of wine that advocates of aeration suggest will benefit from a few hours in a decanter.

Wine #4 2002 Peter Franus Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, USA ($19.99USD, 375ml), 14.5% alcohol.
One bottle was splash decanted and the other left unopen. After 2 hours the second bottle was opened and the two wines poured randomly into three marked opaque glasses while I was out of the room.

Glass A: Rich and ripe with blueberry, blackberry, banana skin, toasted oak and cedar. Full bodied with firm, drying tannins, nice acidity and good length to the finish. More carry of flavors onto the palate than glass B.

Glass B: Subdued with anise and smoky notes. Not as open as glasses A and C. Full bodied with considerable astringency but lacking depth on the mid-palate. Notes of smoke and oak evident on the palate.

Glass C: Blueberry, smoky oak, banana skin, anise and cedar. On the palate big, drying tannins with nice juicy acidity. Not overly complex. Similar flavor carry onto the palate as glass A.

My opinion: Decanted wine is glass B. Non-decanted wine is glasses A and C.
Reality: A and B are decanted. C is from the freshly open bottle.

Conclusion: Although the notes above may not show it, I really struggled to identify differences between the wine in the three glasses. My notes are really amplifications of what I was smelling and tasting and do not truly represent the fact that the wine was essentially identical in all three glasses. Decanting for 2 hours really did not affect the perception of astringency at all. Some may argue that this is not a classic Napa Cabernet and that other wines would perform differently. And that a longer decant will show differences. Well call me a halfwit, I guess its time to source some other Cabs!

Score: Wines tested 4, Decanters 0, Non-decanters 1.

1 comment:

Ed said...

Looking forward to the great Pidel experiment!