Can't you decant?
Most of the time, it's best just to pull the cork and pour ... no decanting needed! But I can think of three good reasons to consider the procedure:
In the second and third cases, decanting is simply a matter of pouring the wine from the bottle into the decanter. But if you're decanting because your wine contains a sediment (as most often occurs in older Vintage Port and some very old red wines), you'll want to master a simple technique.
First, set the bottle upright a few days before serving, so the sediment will fall to the bottom. Then, when it's time to open the wine, do so carefully, trying to avoid shaking the bottle and stirring up the murk. Have your clean decanter and a flashlight or candle handy. Lifting the bottle in a smooth, careful motion, pour the wine gradually, illuminating the bottle neck with your flashlight or candle so you can inspect the wine as it pours out. As soon as you see the first bits of sediment approaching the bottle neck, prepare to stop pouring. You should be able to get at least 90 percent of the wine out before the sediment reaches the lip.
That's really all there is to it, although if you are obsessive about saving every drop, you can pour the last bit of wine and sediment through a paper coffee filter into a separate glass. Don't mix it in with the rest of the decanted wine, as there's some chance that the filter may add an odd flavor; but if you're enjoying a rare vintage, it might be worth the effort to salvage that last taste.
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Good value Rhone
Inky ruby in color, showing fresh aromas of ripe red fruit and spicy oak with hints of berries and fragrant pepper. Full on the palate, juicy cherry-berry fruit and lemon-squirt acidity over soft tannins. In the broad spectrum of Cotes-du-Rhone styles, this one's at the robust end of the scale, almost a baby Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Good value! U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Cincinnati. (Dec. 31, 2000)
FOOD MATCH: The wine's ripe, earthy and peppery flavors make it a particularly good match with a hot bowl of borshcht, Russian beet and beef soup.
Wine Lovers' Page isn't formally associated with the Expo, but I plan to be there both days, and if any of you are going to be there, too, I thought it might be fun to meet at a central point and do a bit of tasting as a group.
Best sparkler outside of Champagne?
Burgundy Wine Company
Winetasting.com is an online cooperative of Californiaís leading wineries selling directly to wine lovers. This gives customers like you unique access to limited-release wines not available outside the tasting room. For full information, visit http://www.Winetasting.com/hub/landing.asp?wlpgid=WLPG001LA. I have known these folks for a long time and can confidently recommend them.
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Vol. 2, No. 51, Jan. 8, 2001