Serving wine should be a straightforward, simple affair. Just uncork and pour. However, if you ever had the misfortune of encountering a crumbly cork, you will appreciate learning to decant wine. At our St. Helena vineyard, we often decant many types of wine for various reasons.
There are two main reasons to decant a wine after opening. First, if your wine falls a little flat on the bouquet and it tastes like something is missing, it may still develop a fuller body with oxygenation. Some connoisseurs will say that it will get all the air it needs in the glass. However, it never hurts to decant a wine, even white wines, before serving. Another reason to decant is sediment. Red wines, older than five years are especially prone to sediment build up, which happens when the naturally occurring tannin bonds with the wine’s pigment. Sediment can cloud your wine and add undesirable bitter notes to the bouquet. Sediment becomes more pronounced in older and heavier red wines. It may not always be visible when inspecting an unopened bottle.
Wines are oftentimes decanted ahead of time to allow them to open their full body. It is worth noting, though, that this is not particularly advisable for fragile wines that may fade too quickly or are prone to oxidization. These sensitive wines should not be decanted more than 30 minutes before drinking or should just be poured straight from the bottle.
At our St Helena vineyard, we begin the decanting process 24 hours ahead of time by standing the bottle upright. This gives any sediment plenty of time to accumulate at the bottom. Also using a short candle or another light source to backlight the pour will make it much easier to see any sediment. Pour the wine steadily, not too quickly, until you reach the last few ounces. As soon as you notice flakes of sediment in the stream, stop pouring and discard the remainder. Be sure to pour with a sure hand and avoid agitating the wine or it may become cloudy. Decanting wine is a highly recommended practice. If you are looking for new wines to add to your collection, visit Sherwin Family Vineyards today. Call us to schedule an appointment at (707) 963-1154.
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