The wine in front of me feels tight
The wine in front of me feels tight. It's been squeezed and stomped and stored and then squished into a bottle and transported, and by the time I've screwed the top from it and poured myself a glass it doesn't exactly feel ready to party. It's still stressed. It's still tight. It's almost as if the wine itself needs a drink.
And that, in a way, is what decanting pouring the entire contents of a bottle into a jug or carafe or specified decanter does: it relaxes a wine, like giving it a drink.
We often do it with red wines. But here's a revolutionary thought: it benefits a lot of white wines too.
White wines have feelings too. A stint in the decanter helps them open up and reveal their true flavours.
Once upon a time I never would have suggested that anyone decant a white wine. All that juicy fruit flavour is usually tumbling over itself anyway; you almost want to hold it back rather than encourage it. And the truth is that most white wines don't need to be decanted.
But some definitely do. Just a quick pour into a jug, the entire bottle, the whole lot then poured straight back into the bottle. This is called a double-decant. It quickly sloshes air into the wine, relaxing it, freeing it up, allowing its charms to unwind. This is a particularly effective tactic with wooded or highly textural whites; whites that seem firm and unyielding, perhaps even a little reductive, like their brain is in desperate need of oxygen.
High-end chardonnays, from both Australia and Europe, are often excellent candidates. Aspirational, wooded whites in general too. And the funkier orange/amber white wines often lap up air like it's being given away free.
Below is a list of some fantastic (quality) whites that could do with a fantastic burst of air.
- Michael Hall Chardonnay 2014
- Luke Lambert Chardonnay 2014
- Leeuwin Estate Prelude Vineyard Chardonnay 2013
- Cullen Amber Wine 2014
- Delatite Deadman’s Hill Gewurztraminer 2013
- Billy Button The Torment Riesling 2015
- Hoddles Creek 1er Chardonnay 2013
- Oakridge 864 Funder & Diamond Chardonnay 2013