Let it breathe
During a recent outing to one of my wine spots, I asked for the wine I was having to be decanted. Naturally, people around me wondered if I was just trying to be fancy and show off. But there is actually something to it.
We decant for two reasons. The first is to remove sediment. Older wines, particularly big-bodied wines, tend to produce sediment as a result of the colour pigments and tannins bonding together and falling out of solution. Decanting helps to remove these sediments, allowing you to appreciate its beautiful colour. Often, these sediments are bitter, and can completely take away from the enjoyment of the bottle. Assume that wines that are more than five years old will have some level of sediment and most likely will require decanting. This tends not to be an issue for white wines, thank God!
The other major reason is to aerate the wine. Allowing the wine to breathe can certainly open up the wine and give it new character, emphasising all its beautiful nuances. A rule of thumb to follow might be that older, more fragile wines should be decanted no more than 30 minutes before drinking, and the younger full-bodied reds that can be found in the supermarkets could be decanted one hour before consumption. I, personally, like when my wine is decanted - it tends to have a far richer smell which always makes it more enjoyable.
My Saturday evening was low-keyed when I opened a long-time love of mine from Chile, Primus The Blend. It's not very popular, and to the best of my knowledge, is sold in only one store - Uncorked at Sovereign North. But this wine comes from the most prestigious region in Chile, which is known for producing exceptional wines, the Colchagua Valley. The blend is a composition of a Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmener, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. But trust me when I tell you, it's an absolutely beautiful blend.
This is one of those full-bodied wines that certainly open up when decanted. When it breathes it has an exquisite smell of blackberries and strawberries with hints of spice. As for taste, just smooth on your tongue with refined flavours of plum and strawberry, leaving a long-lasting taste on your tongue. A little higher in alcoholic content at 14.5 per cent, so drink with care, but it is extremely delicious.
I tend to reserve pouring this for super-special occasions, but every now and again, I get nostalgic and indulgent, and this brings back such fond memories. If you are fond of full-bodied red wines, this is certainly something to give a try.
Here is an experiment for you to try. When next you venture to any of the wine bars around town, ask for your wine to be decanted and let me know what you had and how it tasted when you decanted it. I look forward to hearing from you.