Here we go again!
The fact that you may still find back labels, pamphlets and sales signs containing this pointless tip is a disgrace to the enjoyment of good wine. Luckily, this piece of advice is merely pointless and not harmful to the wine as such, but ”pointless” is no good to us. That tiny surface of contact created with the oxygen when opening a bottle doesn’t help the wine in any way. It makes no difference, and this piece of advice is so silly that I’m amazed that importers and makers actually believe that the consumers will buy it.
We need air. Lots of it
This can’t be! This is too much! Somebody ought to do something! Well, I plan on doing something about it, and once again I need your help spreading the word.
The fact is that you need more than such a tiny surface of approximately 1,5 square centimetres.
Basically, the idea of oxidising a wine before serving is a great one. It’s nothing short of an excellent practice and certainly something that we all should pay more attention to!
How to oxidise your wine
Fortunately, there are lots of ways for you to oxidise your wine. The best solution is a decanter since it comfortably gives particularly young wines time and space to ”open up” and thereby let out more taste and aroma. About an hour in the decanter for a young wine before serving is a good rule of thumb at my place. Also, and maybe especially, a young and rather cheap supermarket wine will get some time in the tub like that.
Second best is a large glass which will allow the wine to open up in the same way. The challenge here may be to keep your hands off it for at least an hour, but make sure to give the wine a good swirl in the glass before tasting. If you don’t feel comfortable balancing a glass of wine in the open air, you can leave the glass on the table and twirl it by holding on to its foot.
Decantation or oxidation of wine – two types of decanters
Basically, there are two types of decanters.
There’s the wide bottom decanter meant to give the wine a lot of oxygen from a large surface, and then there’s the tall, slim decanter meant as a decantation decanter.
Decantation means to separate a liquid from a residue of particles, and this is typically done with wines of a certain age which have created sediments in the bottle. Decanters look impressive on a table and create a nice atmosphere. They signal that you take wine seriously, and they serve an excellent purpose. A decanter makes wine taste better which is what it’s all about!
Therefore, I’m going to appeal to your public spirit and ask you to help me kill off the myth of you just having to open a bottle of wine half an hour in advance.
From the bottom of my decanter. Thank you and cheers.
Michael Kahr Jørgensen