Do You Decant?
Do you pour your wine straight from the bottle to the glass?
We’re not knocking it. There’s really no wrong way to drink wine. We’re just wondering whether you’ve ever tried decanting… and whether you should. (You should.)
The Journal Sentinel reports on a new book by Mark Oldman, “How to Drink Like a Billionaire: Mastering Wine with Joie de Vivre”. And we like this guy. The tongue-in-cheek aim of his book is to raise your confidence to the point you can request ice for your wine in the face of the snootiest New York waiter.
“Either the waiter will think — oh, boy, this guy’s from New Jersey — which I am,” he joked. “Or the waiter will know you’re enlightened and know that the wine needs cooling off.”
He’s one of us. And when it comes to decanting, he’s a supporter.
“The only time decanting is really a no-no is with fragile older wines that are at death’s door or in the twilight of their life,” he says.
He also says there are three times when decanting is of greater importance.
The first is to aerate a young wine. A red that is astringent or overtly tannic and a too tangy white are both improved with a little exposure to oxygen to soften the wine.
You should also decant if you have a bottle more than ten years old. It removes the harmless sediment that gathers at the bottom of the bottle.
To decant these older bottles, “pour really slowly and tilt the decanter and bottle toward each other. At a fancy restaurant, they will use a light source of some sort under the neck of the bottle to see where the sediment is. It’s the ritualistic way — the Old World romantic way.”
And finally, Oldman recommends decanting as a way to stop and smell the roses.
Reason three — and maybe his favorite — is to “slow down and just enjoy this delicious, precious beverage.”
He finds that decanting “builds anticipation and elongates the experience…”
Give your wine at least an hour to decant, although he does mention French wines that are decanted overnight. And he gives a secret.
“For an “extra-puckery red wine,” you can try “double decanting. You pour the wine back and forth between two decanters to accelerate aeration and mellow out the wine more quickly.”