Wine Link: Decanting lesson
When should wines be decanted? Let's briefly summarize the pointers we shared last winter: Most of the time, it's simplest to skip the decanter and simply serve wine direct from bottle to glass. But decanting - pouring the wine from its commercial bottle into an attractive glass or crystal vessel (too fancy to be called a mere "pitcher") is always an option for stylish service; and in a few specific situations this procedure is not just optional but recommended.
Here are the three most common situations for decanting:
In the second and third cases, there's not much to decanting. Just pull out the cork and pour the wine. But when you've got sediment to deal with, decanting becomes a minor art. Uncorking and pouring without stirring up the gunk in the bottom of the bottle isn't rocket science, but it requires a certain amount of care.
Which brings us to today's Web link: The good folks at Chateau Haut-Brion, the historic producer that makes one of the five "first growths" of Bordeaux, have added an instructive article on decanting to their content-rich Website.
"When serving the great wines of Bordeaux," it advises, "it is necessary to decant them first. Decanting benefits wines of all ages. It separates the clear wine from the sediment and aerates the wine, allowing it to breathe, thereby creating a slight oxidation."
In simple, direct language and clear illustrations, Haut-Brion offers a quick step-by-step guide to the decanting process. If you have a fast Internet connection, a three-minute QuickTime video is also available, narrated in perfect English by the Chateau's Madame la Duchesse de Mouchy.
To make it easy to find your way quickly to the decanting feature, the Chateau has set up a special link for Wine Advisor readers: http://Haut-Brion.com/WineLoversPage.php. Haut-Brion's site is also available in French, German, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese; simply click to http://Haut-Brion.com and select the language of your choice.
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Friday, Dec. 7, 2001