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Steve gives some good advice...

July 1 2001 at 1:11 AM

ThomasM  (Premier Login thepurist178)
AP Discussion Group

Response to Well, I'll gladly contribute my .02, one cent at a time........

Hi, Curtis.

Welcome, glad to see you here.

Oenophilia, or The Art of Being a Wino, is even more subjective, less precise, and more varied, than even WIS-dom.

Much too many people take the appreciation of wine, fine or otherwise, much, much too seriously.

It's about the enjoyment, first and foremost, and as Wes says in his masthead, the camaraderie shared over a glass of vino and a plate of delicious ...

There is much to learn. The whole journey is almost Zen-like, a constant battle between the intellect and the senses; the abstract and the concrete; the Brix level and the mouthfeel.

Here's something to start you out with - to decant or not to decant? And if so, what type or vintage is better to decant, and what not?

Personally, I am an avid believer that a youthful wine, or a mature, robust and powerful wine, should be decanted, for several hours, if possible. If you are curious how it develops, pour off a quarter glass as you open, just to see how it shows, then compare with how it develops over time.

There are those that argue that decanting is unnecessary for a young wine (ie, '90 or later California Cabs; '94 or later Bordeaux - except for the '94s, I would not be drinking any later Bordeaux now anyway, but that's another story.)


For both abstract, theoretical reasons (oxygen both ages and "wakes up" wine) and empirical observations (I got 6 bottles of three vintages, Chateau Montelena Cab Reserve, two bottles each, and decanted one each, and compared them side by side with the undecanted bottles. There was no question from me or any of my guests that the decanted bottles showed more smoothness, more complexity, more depth, than the undecanted bottles, without losing any character) I heartily recommend decanting most anything that is less than 10 years old, and much of what is worth drinking older than that.

Of course, there is the other reason for decanting, the separation of the wine from the particulated sediment in older wines...

Enjoy the journey, and hope to see you around regularly!

Cheers, and all the best,


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