Before discussing the benefits of “decanting” and “aerating”, you are strongly encouraged to enter the contest at the end of this column for a wine-related prize package from our local Canadian Tire store.
Can you imagine being locked up in a bottle for one to 25 years without little or no oxygen? Wouldn’t you be looking to catch your breath when they finally set you free? Wouldn’t you feel a little more alive after being able to catch your breath?
Pour, drink, and enjoy is an option. But the wine drinking experience can be improved.
As wines mature in the bottle, they use up oxygen and give off gas. Aerating wine involves injecting air/oxygen into a wine. It works for all wines.
Aeration benefits red and white wines. I recently had a friend who is far more knowledgeable in wine than myself (hard to believe, but it happens!) who looked at me with a fair amount of skepticism when I aerated the white wine we were about to drink. I then had him sample the wine before aerating, and then had him sample it again after aerating. He was very surprised as to how much nicer the wine was after aerating. You should try this and you will also be convinced.
Aerating takes the ‘edge’ off of white wines, and it serves to lessen the effects of the tannins in red wines. Adding oxygen also helps to enhance the aromas of both red and white wines. Aerating eliminates any gases that may have developed in the bottle.
The aerators on the market today are basically fancy funnels with an air hole that injects air into the wine as the wine passes through. They work!
Decanting involves pouring the wine from the bottle into a pitcher. It does not have to be a fancy crystal decanter – plain glass will do. What is more important is the decanter’s surface area – the larger, the better. Decanting is usually reserved for red wines as they tend to sit in the bottle for longer periods than white wines. Decanting also serves to aerate the wine.
Decanting lessens the tannins in red wines and enhances the aromas. It also removes the sediment (tannins that have broken down over time) that may accumulate in the bottle. The sediments are not harmful to you, but they diminish the wine drinking experience. Who wants to taste chalk or paste with their wine?
Once the wine has been decanted, it should be left to sit for at least 30 minutes. You may have to place the decanter in the fridge to keep the wine at the proper temperature.
The Notorious Truro Daily News Wine Judging Panel recently tasted a Pinot Noir. A Pinot Noir was chosen as it is a very good wine for people to try that have always drank white wines and would like to try red wines. “The 2011 Cono-Sur” is a Chilean Pinot Noir that is available from your NSLC for only $12.99. This wine has a nose of strawberry and raspberry. It starts with light tannins, and tastes of light berry and leather. It is light, nicely balanced, with a medium finish. It is a wonderful introduction to the world of red wines.
This wine will appeal to many people. For maximum flavour you should serve it at the proper temperature (52-57F).
This wine would be wonderful for sipping on a lazy afternoon. It would also go well with a light pasta dish, or with a turkey dinner. The Notorious Tasting Panel rated this wine not quite a full bunch, but 30 grapes out of 40!
This Month’s Grapevine Contest
In keeping with this month’s topic, the Grapevine will draw the name of a loyal follower to win a wonderful prize package generously donated by our local Canadian Tire store. Canadian Tire has a very nice selection of wine accessories including decanters, aerators, glasses, etc. This month’s prize package consists of a Wine Scent Flavour Enhancer Decanter Set (the same one I use at home!) and an Aerating Pourer.
To enter this contest you will have to submit a new entry as entries from prior contests are discarded. To enter, send your name before August 24th , and confirmation that you are over 19 years of age, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck!
Al is the lead taster of the Notorious Truro Daily News Wine Tasting Panel, and he can be contacted at email@example.com.