AaronW. wrote:Decantation seems to be quite a subjective subject.
I've never decanted for sediment removal, but have for aeration purposes. I read somewhere that decanting Burgundies or any Pinot based wine is detrimental to the varietal character. I have a Burgundy or two and several New World Pinot's and wouldn't want to improperly serve them (to myself OR anyone else). Is it the "Kiss of Death" to pour any of these into a decanter or is this "Pinot Murder" business just a bunch of poppycock?
Paul Savage wrote:Well, speaking of Burgundy, which is my favorite wine, I *always* used to decant them, but always used a moderate surface area carafe. The "problem" with not decanting is that with just the cork pulled, for instance, it takes a long time for the wines to develop. And they REALLY NEED to develop, as Robin mentions, they change more than most wines, and ALWAYS for the better in my experience. Even in a carafe, I would expect even fairly mature ones, say from the '60s or '70s, to need a good hour in a carafe to fully develop. The problem in a decanter is how the surface area might increase as the wine level goes down. This tends to provide extreme air exposure exactly when the wine doesn't need it! BAD!
Now, I prefer to use the "slow oxygenation" method employed by Monsieur Audouze, where you pull the cork at least 5 hours beforehand. With a not-so-old wine, like a '70s era wine or younger, I will also pour out a small taste initially to enlarge the surface area in the neck a bit, and to see what the starting point is like. Even then, it will take at least a further hour, once one starts serving from the bottle, for the wine to develop fully. You can pour out a half glass and pour it back in at about the "one hour before serving time" to lessen this wait.
The advantage of the "slow oxygenation" method is that some subtle freshness and vitality in older wines is better preserved. But for a younger wine, with more body, a gentle decant should be fine, just beware the wide-bottomed decanters! I would never use one with a good Burg. Better to pour out a glass initially, and pour it back into the bottle, to introduce some air, and then wait.... You probably would have to repeat that operation after an hour, and wait another hour, to see the wine at its best.
SERVING TEMPERATURE... I put that in capitals because I think it is so important with Pinots and Burgs. A nice cool temperature, but not so cold that the wine gets "hard".
My two and a half cents! ...Paul
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