Thursday, June 3, 2010

AS TIME GOES BY

Herman Hupfield songwriter

I'm sure that I've mentioned it before but most wines improve with having been open a while (called breathing). The exceptions are very old wines that will deteriorate quickly on exposure to more oxygen and  crappy wines that just won't get any better (Richard please take note - that stuff you drink, even if you left it for days in the compost heap it just will not improve - better to leave it in the compost heap). Modern wines are increasingly being made anaerobically (minimal exposure to oxygen) and as a result are much fresher, have a tighter structure and need decanting or opening a while before drinking. A quick way to improve the aroma, taste and general 'mouth-feel' of these wines is to pour into a jug and then back into the bottle. This oxygenates the wine and drives off some of the off-odours trapped between wine and cork or cap. It can also unfortunately 'bottle-shock' the wine which dumbs down the flavours. The best approach is to open the bottle a day ahead, pour some out and leave the remainder in the fridge until you drink it. My most recent positive experience of this is the Montana Reserve 2008 Pinot Noir that I opened last night and decided that it was simple, overtly cherry-flavoured and lacking in depth. Trying it tonight 24 hours later it had opened up and was showing warmth, fullness and better fruit complexity. The oxygenation definitely improved this wine.

2 comments:

TwistedScottishBastard said...

Interesting. An old friend of mine used to insist that every red wine he drank had to be decanted beforehand, not to avoide any precipitates, but to amplify the flavours. He aslo insisted on putting the decanted wine in fron of the fire to warm up. He believed that with Reds, room temperature was about 20 C. I'm not sure he was correct, but I enjoyed them anyway.
Regarding the other reference to putting the unfinished wine in the fridge, I have this terrible habit of finishing every bottle opened, so I've never tried a wine next day.

Richard (of RBB) said...

"I have this terrible habit of finishing every bottle opened, so I've never tried a wine next day."
I can relate to that.