Magazine article Sunset

Decant the Wine

Magazine article Sunset

Decant the Wine

Article excerpt

Never mind the snobbery-it's for everyday wine too

FORGET THOSE MUSTY IMAGES of expensive old Bordeaux drizzling into crystal by candlelight-decanter sales have quadrupled in the last year (according to the Riedel crystal company), and not because of a glut of old red wine full of sediment that needs to be left behind. Wine lovers are discovering the second reason to decant a wine: It'll taste better.

Rob Davis, longtime winemaker for Sonoma County's Jordan Winery, gives it some drama: "Wines, especially red wines, live a reclusive life in the bottle. They're still, isolated in a small, dark room. At that epic moment when the seal is removed from the bottle, all the aroma, bouquet, and flavors-the true personality of the wine-can start to sing."

A splash through the air, then a period of time with a lot of surface area exposed, mellows rough tannins and releases tight aromas in a big, young red wine. And we're drinking more of these than ever.

It doesn't matter what you pour the wine into. Davis claims the same benefits come from "fine crystal or a clean mayonnaise jar." But the more tannic the red, the more exposure to air it can handle. Some decanters are designed especially to direct the wine over the inside surface; for others, you can accomplish this by just pouring against the side. (Pour more gently with delicate older wines; too much oxygen and they'll breathe their last.)

Pull that gift decanter out of the closet. You can use the space for more wine.

THE NEW PINK

Just when pink wine has shaken off white Zinfandel's sugary shame (hundreds of West Coast wineries now make respectable dry rosé), one of the leaders of that charge is going sweet(ish) again. …

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