Breathing Life Into Wine

Posted by The Wine Whore |

Should a good bottle of wine taste good before it "breathes"?

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allan said...

It depends. A good wine should have all the elements of quality in terms of structure, taste and feel. But aromas, which are just as important to the wine tasting experience, sometimes only come out after the wine has been decanted.

A lot of times this is by design, some wines are meant to sit in the bottle for a few years before they have fully matured (think wines from Bordeaux).

The Wine Whore said...

I think that's the same thing that I am thinking! Air may help bring out aroma, but shouldn't be required for the wine to taste good.

I ask the question because I see many people making comments about wine that "needs to breathe" before it tastes good. Are these the cherished Grand Cru ageable wines of Bordeaux, or the two buck chuck value wines that are just made poorly. Sounds like they are the latter.


Anonymous said...

I usually think twice about buying wines that taste Much Better with "airing". Not for use with guests, and not worh extra $$

The Wine Whore said...

I think I would agree!


Scott Abernethy (WA wine lover) said...

I've tasted some magnificent wines that are overpowering when the bottle is first opened. It never hurts to swirl a wine or let it rest for a while before you dive in. I've learned to be patient and get the most out of what I buy!

The Wine Whore said...

Scott, you make a great point... overpowering is a something totally different than "sucks". I guess the point is that air may be able to help enhance a wine but shouldn't be used to make it drinkable.


Anonymous said...

Would agree with most staements above. Wines designed to be age worthy typically won't show their true potential without a little breathing room. In my experience these wines when reaching their potential are usually more thoughtful and complex than those you can pop and serve. Really depends on if your looking for miss. right or miss. right now.

The Wine Whore said...

So, what do you think about a wine that you read that says "make sure to give it some air" or "it really tastes good once it opens up"?

Would you assume that these are good or bad bottles of wine?

Personally, I try not to assume anything... my own tongue and nose should be the only things telling me what I like. That being said, I think a lot of people see this sort of description as a red flag. The kind of wines you are describing would most likely be described as complex instead.


Anonymous said...

1. I would typically assume that it is an old world wine or a structures new world with a strong backbone. In most cases time and air will allow these types open up, the tannins mellow, fruit becomes pronounced, and harmony ensues.

2. Yes, I would assume it to be a quality wine in its youth or with a youthful aspect to it. The decantering should enduce a similar effect to aging a bottle in the cellar, all be it a much quicker one. But the idea is the same, to round out the tinnin and bring forward the fruit.

3. I will agree that assuming is a bad idea (with regards to wine or anything). Your own tastes should be your guide. For me part of the fun in more expensive older world wines is to Open a youthful bottle and taste it from opening and over the next couple hours and really enjoy its transformation. Then sit on the other bottles and tasting again years down the road and disecting again.

In the same regard I love just popping the cork of an inexpensive bottle on wednesday or thursday night and just mellowing out.

The Wine Whore said...

Thank you for reminding me of something very important... I think we all get into wine so much that we forget this point:

We must never forget to just enjoy a nice inexpensive bottle of wine any night of the week and forget about all of the other stuff... including the wine itself!

Thank you for reminding me... I sometimes get so caught up, I don't stop to put things in perspective.


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