In general, most red wine is improved by opening the bottle 20-30 minutes before pouring. (I think that counting to a hundred by fives is ample time…though you might count faster than I do.) You have undoubtedly seen people swirl wine from a newly-opened bottle in their glasses. They are doing that to let more air interact with the wine. Wine changes – opens up – when the air starts to mix with the liquid.
Some red wines should be decanted. Older red wines should be decanted slowly to reduce/prevent the sediments from ending up in one’s glass. Red wines that have a lot of tannin should be decanted. (Tannins are the chemical compounds in wine that make your mouth pucker and make you feel like you should go brush your teeth.) When we were tasting wine at Domaine de Beaurenard wine museum (www.beaurenard.com), Catherine, who manages the tasting room, told us to decant a young, tannic wine brutalement – which is French for ‘turn the bottle upside down and let it splash into the decanter.’
|Using the same picture of Catherine again... At least she is photogenic!|
One vintner told us that he opens his red wine in the morning and then it is perfect when he serves it with dinner that evening. I don’t know whether I have that much foresight, so I will stick to counting to a hundred by fives…