Posts Tagged ‘decanter’

The end of decanting?

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

There is something magical about decanting a wine, whether or not it really needs it.

Pouring from a standard bottle into a fancy oddly-shaped glass receptacle makes the drinking experience more ceremonious.

But is this extravagance necessary?  More often than not it is simply unnecessary.

For practical purposes, we decant for two reasons.

  1. To aid in the breathing of a wine – generally a young wine.
  2. To remove the good wine from its sediment or the particles that begin to form & “drop out” of an aged wine.

There is some benefit to the first, but as readers of this blog know, I am an advocate of both the vinturi aerator for young wines as well as rigorous glass swirling for aid in breathing with a young wine.

And as for the second, careful pouring can prevent sediment from reaching the glass and as such makes the idea of decanting somewhat frivolous.

But it is this second reason that has the inventors of this new bottle claiming that the decanter will soon become  extinct.

It seems the shape of this new bottle cleverly enables the sediment to get trapped in the bottom “compartment” preventing the escape of sediment from the bottle to the glass.

What will they come up with next…???

Happy sediment free Wine Tasting!


Israeli wine is the best!

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Call it writer’s block, call it a much needed vacation or blame it on the J-O-B…what can I say?  I took 10+ weeks off from blogging.  It is like the gym, once you stop going for a while, getting back into the routine can be difficult.

Well, I’m back…and with a purpose.  I’m here to explain why Israeli wines are the best.

OK, maybe not the best (yet), but I do believe that many of the better Israeli wines are also some of the most interesting wines in the world.

I was compelled to post this thought given the incredible award recently bestowed upon the Carmel Winery, Israel’s oldest and largest winery.  Decanter Magazine in their annual awards declared the Carmel 2006 Kayoumi (single vineyard site) Shiraz the best Rhone varietal over £10.  This meant the wine was deemed better than Syrah/Shiraz from famed French Chateau & Australian wineries.

Israel is considered by most to be a “new world” wine producing region.  Which makes sense when you consider that the MODERN wine-making culture in Israel is only about 30 years old.  But this New World region is like a child with an OLD SOUL.  You know those kids…the ones whose maturity is well beyond their years – who seem to literally possess an old soul.  Well, so too Israel & its vineyards.  These are vineyards that are planted amongst ancient (3000 years +) wine presses.

So what does all this have to do with Israeli wine being the best?  Well, other “New World” wines are generally fruit driven.  While typically “Old World” wines are earth or spice driven.

Talk to people in the know about Israeli wines and you will hear about wines that are a mix of fruit & spice.  The warm Eastern Mediterranean sun ripens the grapes and gives the wines a fruity character.  In addition to this fruitiness there is a unique & interesting spicy herbaceousness to Israeli wines.  Some say it is the wild herbs that grow all over the country.  Others say it is the magic of the place.

If you ask me I believe that all are contributing factors.  No matter…all I know is Israeli wines are really good, and starting to garner international recognition.

Happy Israeli wine tasting!


Wine Aerators

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Until about 2 weeks ago I did not have strong feelings about wine aerators, or even decanting wine for that matter.  Sure, young wines seemed to me to benefit a bit from “breathing” (exposure to oxygen).  But were these “gadgets” or decanters really worth the trouble?  I felt it wasn’t, and was content to vigorously swirl the wine in the glass, figuring this exposure to oxygen would be enough.

But I’ve recently been a little disappointed.  I was supposed to be selling a wine, and the way most wines are sold is by providing tastes to the wine shop buyer.  Upon opening the wine for the buyer I would taste as well – a practice to ensure that the wine is sound and “showing” properly.  It wasn’t fun forcing a smile when the truth was that I felt the wine in question was tight, one dimensional and rather simple tasting.  This wine had to have more going on I thought, but while tasting the wine we weren’t experiencing the possible depth.

I brought an open bottle of the aforementioned wine home and without much thought opened the wine up a few days later.  I had transfered the wine to a half bottle, removing most of the oxygen, but it wasn’t completely free of oxygen & had enough exposure to effect the wine.  And effect the wine it did!  This closed, tight, one dimensional wine was gone…in its place a bright, fruit driven and delicious wine.

A few weeks later I was visiting friends (and doing business) up at the Wine Enthusiast headquarters.  While there I decided to invest in a “Vinturi” wine aerator.

I used my new aerator with friends a few days later and I fell in love.  What can I say…I’ve used it a bunch of times since and I truly believe that this device does what it claims.  It helps the aromas to come through, the otherwise hidden fruit flavors are clearly apparent and both the tannins and acid seem softer, providing for a smoother mouthfeel and finish.

I have no business affiliation with Vinturi.  I gain nothing by promoting this item.  But I gotta tell you, if you have ever experienced a wine that was young and seemed tight, boring, one dimensional or otherwise not what you expected, maybe all you need is a Vinturi to experience the wine’s true potential.

Happy Vinturi Wine Tasting!


Decanting & “Wine imports on fire”??

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Wow, what a weekend.  Some incredible highs and sadly a low or two.  I don’t want to get into the not-too-interesting details of my personal life in this medium but lets just say I need to update my blog bio. 😉

OK, now that that is out of the way, I want to touch on the idea of decanting.  I received an email from Wine Enthusiast online a few weeks ago.  Like so many others they are apparently Vlogging.  There is a nice piece written about decanting as well as a quick video.  While they do sell the products they are writing/reporting about, the information is useful.

That said I believe the important points about decanting are summed up perfectly in the first line written bu Erika; that decanting is done “for enhancing the flavors of a young wine or for removing sediment from an old wine”.  I’m not certain that I would use the same language, but it does present the case for decanting.

Some experts disagree about the first part (enhancing flavors) but all do agree that IF you choose to remove an old wine from the sediment that may be at the bottom of the bottle, a decanter is useful.  CAVEAT – older wines break down when exposed to oxygen much quicker than younger wines.  And decanting an older wine to remove it from its sediment puts the wine at risk of premature oxidization.

A wine mentor of mine suggests simply pouring a wine with sediment very gently (at a 90 degree angle) from the bottle into the glasses and not removing it from the bottle to avoid this extra risk.  Using this method you will likely need to leave the last 10% (or so) of the wine in the bottle at the end.

On a completely separate note, I came across a business wire article about Argentinian wines.  Apparently Argentinian wine imports are “on fire” (nice PR work!).

Argentina’s department of customs reports that Argentine wines were up 43.2% in value and 34.1% in volume.  Those are some pretty impressive figures – especially when you consider the state of our economy and the lack of growth most wine regions have experienced of late.  Given Argentina’s image as producing quality VALUE wines this does make sense, but it is no less impressive.

As an Israeli wine person I must admit that it makes me wonder what Israel wine needs to do to gain wider acceptance.  The experts agree that the quality is there.  Is it simply a matter of price?

I truly believe that when WE finally get retail locations to rid themselves of their “kosher” wine sections and simply stock their kosher wines like they do their other wines (by region, varietal, etc) that Israeli wines will take a huge step forward.  This is by no means a revolutionary idea, as it has been proposed countless times by my contemporaries.  Now I wonder, how can we get the retail decision makers to listen?

Happy Argentinan/Israeli wine tasting…decanted or not!