About The Author:
"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.
Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)
Monday, July 6, 2009
“To decant or not to decant, that is the question…whether ‘tis nobler to air thy wine or to raise arm in immediate toast and seize the tannins.” (My apologies to Mr. Shakespeare) Actually, The Wine Guy is big on decanting, but there has been some debate over the subject, particularly as it applies to well-crafted, well-aged wines. Decanting dates back to early Greece and over the centuries included adding water and flavorings to the wine. Both wine making and wine usage have eliminated the need for those steps, but the art of “airing out” the wine is still practiced. Many feel, that with the state of today’s wine making, truly good and aged wine shouldn’t require decanting. Indeed, there is some risk of losing some of the zest of well-aged wines in the decanting process, but it’s a small risk. Most of us aren’t frequent drinkers from that category. Those that do are usually well enough versed in the art of wine to adjust decanting styles and times to the wine being opened. Wines benefit from decanting mainly due to the fact that the majority of tastes derived from wine are olfactory (aromatic) in nature. Even with 10,000 or so taste buds in your mouth, you can identify only four basic and sixteen unique tastes with these sense organs alone. With possible wine flavors in the thousands, it just makes good sense to air your wine and let those great flavorful aromatics develop. How long? No set rules here. As is so often the case, let your own palate be your guide. Have some fun and try the exercise I apply to all new wines I have at home for the first time. With a new wine, I do first examine and taste direct from the newly opened bottle. I then decant and reexamine the wine at fifteen, thirty minutes, and then an hour, then additional periods dependent upon the wine. A portion is also left in the bottle overnight to taste the next day. For me, it’s a great way to examine and learn about the wine. The practice has also taught me much about my own palate. Try this for yourself. It’s fun, it’s educational and you’ll be amazed at the changes that DO occur in the taste of the wine. If you haven’t yet invested in a good decanter, a good glass beverage pitcher will do for a start. (Avoid plastic due to wine stains and possible tainting of the wine!) After three to four episodes, the odds are, you’ll be shopping for a good decanter!
To learn more about decanting, check out the wine/food section of your local bookstore. A nice table-top book that gives an overview of the art, romance and history of decanting is Sandra Jordan’s (of Jordan Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma) “The Art of Decanting, Bringing Wine To Life”.