Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Great Decanting Experiment – Wine #9

If a big, fruity Pinot Noir from Carneros is adversely affected by aeration I wonder what happens to a Burgundy. I’m not going to open anything special just a Premier Cru (also denoted as 1er Cru) from Mercurey in the Côte Chalonnaise. There are something like 30 vineyards that are designated Premier Cru in Mercurey. I would have preferred for it to have been a Faiveley, but we can’t have everything.

Wine #9 2005 Mercurey 1er Cru, Clos des Montaigus, Domaine Patrick Size, Burgundy, France: ($13.99USD, 375ml), 13% alcohol.
One bottle was splash decanted and the other left unopen; both in the cellar at 56 degree F. After 3 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: Subtle but attractive notes of cherry and anise. Medium weight with very soft (velvety) entry and nice flavor carry. Finishes with a touch of astringency and slightly sour acidity.

Glass B: Very closed, almost nothing. Faint cherry, grapey notes over a trace of anise. Did open with time. Nicely balanced with nice acidity and a soft and supple presence on the palate, finishing with firm tannins.

Glass C: As for glass A with an additional herbal note. On the palate, very much like glass A with nice juicy acidity and softer astringency than glass B.

My opinion: B is from the decanter, A and C are from the bottle.
Reality: A and B are from the decanter, C is from the bottle.

Conclusion: This wine was tasted on June 6th, and I’ve been reluctant to post the assessment for several reasons. First, my success with 2003 Robert Stemmler Carneros Pinot Noir made me confident, perhaps too confident, that I was correct in identifying which glass held the decanted Burgundy. Unrewarded expectations can be a real insult to the ego! Second, and more importantly, this wine did not taste like a Pinot Noir; there was no varietal definition at all. It is not a wine that I would recommend. But then this decanting experiment is not about my ego (well not yet!) and its not about identifying wines that I would recommend. The purpose is to see if aeration influences the flavor profile and taste of wine. So here is another wine that is not affected by a good dose of exposure to air.

There is one concern. Is there a problem with glass B? To reduce the number of variables I’ve kept the same labels on the three glasses and so its possible that a problem with the glasses might be affecting the outcome of these comparisons. For 4 of the 9 wines tested glass B has revealed less aroma and bouquet than either glasses A and C. Not enough of a difference to say that glass B has some sort of fault. I’ll keep the order the same until a dozen wines have been examined, and then I’ll do reshuffle because I do have six of these glasses.

Score: Wines tested 9, Decanters 0, Non-decanters 2.

No comments: