Wine Hour with Aaron the Wine Guy


Hello Prince Albert! Have you ever thought of using a decanter to drink your wine? Does using a carafe actually have an effect on the flavor of the wine or is it just a way for people to feel comfortable? And finally, what is a carafe? Let’s take a look and try to answer these often asked questions about wine.

To begin with, a decanter is a container of almost any shape or material that can hold liquid when poured from a bottle. Examples include jugs, jars, decanters, and even other wine bottles. The purpose of pouring the liquid from the bottle into another container is to allow the wine to breathe or open up.

A secondary function of the decanter is to separate the sediment in the wine from the liquid part in order to prevent these bits of sediment from ending up in the glass. This is more important for older wines, which tend to accumulate sediment, unlike new or young wines which often do not.

The decanting process is quite simple: leave the bottle you wish to decant upright for at least 1 hour and resist the temptation to move the bottle as sediment can easily mix with the wine instead of settling. Prepare your container/carafe (it must be clean) and pour the wine into the carafe.

Caution and care should be taken with mature wines (pouring carefully) and delicate wines with complex flavors should only be left to breathe in the decanter for a short time as they can quickly lose intensity. Young, fat or powerful wines can be poured quickly but watch out for sediment which you should see accumulating near the base of the neck (if any). If the sediment becomes noticeable, stop pouring the wine. If you absolutely must collect the last few drops from the bottle, a cheesecloth will help filter out any remaining sediment.

It all feels like quite a process and the big question becomes: is the settling worth it or is it all for show? The answer may depend on the person, but most sommeliers agree that decanting allows the oxygen to stir the wine the fastest and allows the fruity and complex flavors in the wine to show up sooner. It also allows hydrogen sulfide to evaporate and removes most of the side effects of wine reduction.

I conducted an experiment this week and tasted both VQA wines before and after decanting. Each wine was poured and tasted quickly then also poured into a decanter to breathe for at least an hour. What I noticed was that the intensity of the fruit notes was more noticeable in the decanted wine and the more complex earthy, tobacco and spice notes were easier to detect.

Some like to keep their spirit in a decanter, but in my opinion that’s more for show than wine. Spirits can oxidize and unless you share your spirit with others or can finish the container quickly, you are doing the spirit a disservice by allowing it to breathe too much, thus losing its flavor.

Almost any wine can benefit from decanting, but it’s most useful with red wines or high-quality wines that you want to drink sooner. It’s also a useful technique when guests are stopping by and you want the wine ready as soon as possible.

Try decanting and see if that works for you. Remember that a carafe can be almost any container, so even if you only have a jar of jam, it will still do the trick! Here is my selection of wines of the week!

Caves CC Jentsch The Chase 2013: (VQA Okanagan Valley, Canada). Dry red, deep garnet and ruby ​​color. Heavy discoloration and noticeable masonry at edge. The scent of this wine is concentrated and intense with ripe figs, blackberry jam, mocha/coffee, barnyard funk, cherry balsamic and freshly plowed earth. Intensity is lighter on the palate, but over time the fruity flavors of black cherry, blackberry and chopped walnut become medium to high in intensity. The body is medium-plus and the acidity is medium-plus. Dried strawberry, underbrush and cassis lead to a long, savory finish filled with earthy/salty goodness. Blend of mushrooms, soy sauce and toasty oak with concentrated dark fruit and hints of mocha. Time to air, this wine is transformed in the glass. Very well! $45, 13.9% vol.

Dirty Laundry Bordello 2012: (VQA Okanagan Valley, Canada). Dry red, deep ruby ​​with garnet reflections. The bouquet is subtle at first and has a hint of smoke, sweet tobacco leaves, baked raspberry and blackberry with a hint of minerality. To the taste, this red brings a medium to intense burst of blackberry, blackberry, plum and herbal sage with a backing of cedar, cocoa and black licorice. The spicy and earthy notes are well balanced and the fruit is restrained but tasty. The medium-plus body adds weight while the medium acidity and medium-plus tannins give the wine a smooth yet structured mouthfeel. The earthy/smoky fruit notes are perfect flavors to accompany charcuterie or earthy cigars like the Magno maduro cigar from Nicaragua (about $5 per cigar for the Rothschild size). Drink now or in a few years. Very well! $65, 13.7% vol.

Scotch single malt Ardbeg Wee Beastie 5 years old: (Islay, Scotland). Smoked Scotch with a medium gold color. The nose is wild and filled with the scents of a working shipyard near the salty sea. Machine oil, tangy iodine, Fisherman’s Friend pastilles, smoked leather, oiled malt, sea salt and peat earth come out of the glass. The palate is intense and complex with savory/salty flavors of charred peanut shell mixed with chili oil, tar rope, crispy salted fish skins, leather, meat sauce, crushed ginger, burnt caramel, caramel and tobacco ash. The finish carries iodized medicine, metallic notes (hot copper), liquorice and smoked leather. Intense, rough around the edges (in a good way), flavorful, interesting and rewarding. Try a drop or two of distilled water to bring out even more notes. Very well! $90, 47.4% alcohol
Well done and thank you for reading!


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