I’ve got this flash (non-Riedel),decanter, the one with the phallic neck leading towards a flat fish-bowl space of glass big enough to hold four bottles of wine. It’s always a bit of a talking point when I pour purpley red wine into it as the crimson curtain of Shiraz, Cabernet or whatever has a sensual visual appeal.
Point is: what is the rule of thumb when it comes to choosing wines to decant?
Take the tale of two Bordeaux. One the real deal. The other a South African blend.
First up, Glen Carlou Grand Classique, the Estate’s five-way blend dominated by Cab and Merlot.
I have always found this wine a bit steely, hot and tight as a Jewish virgin holding a R100 note between her knees. This goes for Grand Classiques of five to seven years old.
The other evening I popped a 2006 and glugged it into the decanter, giving the thing a bit of a swirl. I left it for 30 minutes and when drinking time came, it was a totally different wine to the one I had come to know. It had aired out with a delicious blossomy fruit core, yoga-supple tannins and a pleasant hint of sage. A corker and on a totally different level of the Grand Classiques I had always had from the bottle. (Poured straight into a glass, Koos, not sipped from it.)
A couple of days later I hauled out a Ch?+¦???+¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¬teau Calon S+¬gur 1981, one of my favourite St Est?+¦???+¦?+¦-+?+¦+ëphe numbers and about the only thing I have in common with whacko actor Johnny Depp who also “digs” this wine, although I don’t know how well it goes with a joint of Algerian red.
Dumping it into the decanter, a heavenly aroma filled the room. Ploughed fields, a kelpy sea breeze, wild strawberries and cedar. Pouring the wine into the glass I couldn’t help thinking of that great line from the Al Stewart song “Year of the Cat” that goes: “She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running like a water colour in the rain”.
I let the wine stand for 15 minutes and after saying a quick prayer to Bacchus and Charlemagne poured the wine into the glass. Bugger-all. Nada. Kaput. Zilch. The wine was stripped of aroma and scant on flavour, as if the puff of excessive air had caused some wine-thieving angel to sneak off with all the heavenly tastes the wine showed six months ago when I had it straight out of the bottle.
I’ll decant younger stuff, but it looks like splashing the older wines around is a bit of a gamble. And I’m not prepared to lose any more older wines.
Enjoyed this article?
Subscribe and never miss a post again.