Question: Marisa, I’m embarrassed to say I don’t really understand why people do this. Can you enlighten me? Thanks,
Bob S., Seven Hills
Marisa: The excitement felt when uncorking a red wine that’s been on the shelf for a long time, years - perhaps decades - is incredibly exciting if you're an enophile like myself! Having a wine that is perfectly stored and aged to bring out the best of the liquid is quite the treat. Once the cork is removed, the long-awaited moment has finally arrived - time to taste. Or is it?
Many like to decant their red wines to let it "breathe" prior to enjoying. Why is this? What's the point? Decanting has many benefits - it allows any sediment to settle (as wines age, tannins bind with anthocyanins and can become a solid - this can be covered in another issue of Truffles ). It also exposes the wine to oxygen, which allows the aromatics of the wine to be released. Wines have very little or no exposure to oxygen while in a bottle. Allowing the wine to be aerated allows the aromatics to be released so anyone sampling will have a better chance of smelling the profile.
If you haven’t decanted before, here are some simple steps to get started:
- 24 hours prior to the bottle being opened, sit the bottle upright. This will allow any sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle prior to pouring.
- When you open the bottle, slowly pour the wine into your decanter - do not "dump" it in. Allowing it to pour in slowly will keep most sediment at the bottom of the bottle
- Allow it to decant between 20 minutes and two hours - not all wines need a long time - it is all about your preference
If it's your first-time decanting, try the wine immediately after uncorking and try it again after allowing it to decant - see if you can notice any changes in the aromatics or taste profile.
To continue this conversation, feel free to email Truffles (Toby@sweetdesigns.com) or tweet me at @MarisaSergi