Gourmet Corner – from Oenologist Jean Luc Colin

How is an opened bottle stored?

Closing bottle

First, close your bottle to break air and chemical reactions. My recommendation on the cork: a synthetic cork should be available in the house; it closes the bottle tightly and settles easily. If the bottle has its own natural cork, you should close it to the same direction. When it is put reversed, it may give taste of cork. Vacuum device may be used as a good method. Vacuum device discharges the air in the bottle and seals the bottle. Special covers are sold for champagnes.

For how long should it be kept?

If the manufacturer has not used excessive dose of sulphur dioxide, your wine is durable just for 3 days. Surprising tastes may occur for some young and hard wines. They become as they are aged. Aromas change in very young ones, especially in those with dominant fermentation aromas and it may be seen that back of those fermentation aromas is empty. An aged wine and Champagnes are recommended to be consumed on the same day.

Decantage

Decantage means to decant, namely separation of the wine from deposits.

Why is the wine decanted?

When a deposit comes to your glass, taste and odor of the wine may change. The wine becomes harder, rougher and bitterer and odors are felt more difficult. This is a disturbing case for the wine drinker. Set apart tasting this residue, just seeing it would eliminate the pleasure to be given by the wine.

Which wine is decanted?

Only wines with residue are decanted. Deposits are generally at the bottom of the bottle or they are seen on the side face of the bottle when it is kept horizontally. If the wine is fully blurred, decantage is not a solution. In such a case, the wine may possibly be spoilt. In certain wines, however, when the cork is taken, deposit is seen on the cork. There may be no deposit at the bottom of the bottle. This case does not mean that the wine is spoilt. This case which may be seen in young wines in particular and caused by “college” formation arises from combination of own tannin of the cork obtained from shell of cork oak with protein and color substances in the wine. Deposit is not seen in the bottle anymore in young wines due to filtration and stabilization methods applied in wine production project. However, wines which have been filtered a little or not been filtered at all that we see on the market in recent years must be decanted absolutely. Otherwise, they become both eatable and drinkable like the Turkish coffee.

How is wine decanted?

“It is on the shelf in the cellar, I have time”

You must keep a sedimented wine that you decide to drink in a vertical position before one or more days. Thus, you may ensure the deposit to fall down the bottom of the bottle. The bottle must be opened vertically during service and put into the decanter. In this process, the bottle must be in horizontal position and the decanter must be slightly curved. During this transfer, deposit may be followed looking at shoulder part of the bottle.

“It is on the shelf, I have no time”

The best service manner is basket. It may be put into the decanter but it would be a demanding process. When you take out your bottle from the shelf, you may settle it in the basket with a mark on top of the bottle. The cork must be taken by soft actions when the bottle is in the basket. Again during service, deposit way must be followed by looking at shoulder of the bottle.

“I have newly bought and brought the wine; a part of deposit has mixed into the wine”

Never attempt to filter with a filter paper (coffee) or a thin textured cloth. It is not sufficient and taste of the wine may be spoilt fully. You may use stainless metal filters you may find on the market. It is best to wait for a little time and make service slowly to allow time for deposits to fall down.

When is the wine decanted?

If the aim is just to decant the wine, it is sufficient to implement the process just before the service. However, if ventilation is also necessary, the process gets a different form.

Which decanter must be used for decantage?

You may find detailed information in the section titled “Carafage” about this implementation which varies depending on the need for ventilating the wine.

Carafage

Ventilation and Carafage means to ventilate the wine by pouring the wine into decanter (carafe) and keeping it there.

Why is ventilation made?

Intensive and acrid wines are kept in the bottle for a little time. A certain time is needed for aromas to awake and it occurs upon contact with air. If the wine is a bit closed, rough and unclear in odor and dominated by animal odor, vegetable or sulphur odors or has gas and rough odors which are very young and still arising from fermentation, then ventilation is needed.

Which wine is ventilated?

In general, you may ventilate all red wines. Especially in certain grape kinds, aromas such as Cabernet, Bogazkere, Malbec, Tannat emerge very slowly. For instance, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are strong and ventilated in decanter especially in Bordeaux region. However, there are not so many decanters in Pinot Noir world in Bordeaux region, service is mostly made with basket.

Ventilation may be required for white wine. Chardonnay or Graves (Semillon- Sauvignon) wines which are aged especially in barrel emerge slowly since they are a little shy initially.

Is champagne ventilated?

Old Champagne wines are served in the bottle but it may be interesting for young ones. It ensures a little gas release and ensures fruit aromas to emerge easily.

Note!

When your wine is very old or its bouquet has occurred fully, aromas may disappear fast. This valuable wine reaches such a balance in the bottle for many years that it may become weak in the glass within a few minutes as a result of its contact with air. Therefore, even a slightest movement damages it. Ventilation of these valuable wines would be wrong certainly.

How will I decide?

Open your bottle half an hour before arrival of your guests and taste a sip of it. Keep a little amount in a large glass and smell occasionally, if it is opened or improved put it into the decanter. In case of no difference or adverse effect, never pour into the decanter. Remember that just taking out the cork does not mean ventilation of the wine. Therefore, do not hesitate to check your wine and open it half an hour before and examine it.

How is wine ventilated?

A young wine;
The wine is poured into a decanter with a broad surface around its entire glass edge and ventilated thoroughly.

A middle aged wine;
If the glass has been selected correctly and you would not drink very fast, some wines are ventilated in the glass easily but may still be put into the decanter. If ventilation is not compulsory BUT if you say “I have suitable glasses but I don’t want to be idle so I would start with the wine”, namely if you say “I would do such a magic to the wine that I would have a contribution in its taste at the last stage”; or if you say “I want to use the expensive, nice decanter with lead content and formed from 100% Bohemia crystal that I bought”, then I say that you are very right. However, please do not ventilate it much when you are pouring the wine into your decanter with a great pleasure and pour it just a few minutes before the meal.

If I make ventilation in a wrong manner, would it damage the wine?

Certainly yes!

Try it.

Open 2 bottles of good 10-year-old Chateaux. Put one of them into the decanter 1 hour before. Put the other on the last minute! Ask your guests which one of them they liked and do not describe the difference at once. Ask everybody to present an opinion on this matter.

What will be the difference eventually?

While the one which was ventilated would leave a softer, more acrid, denser taste in the mouth, its aroma or bouquet would be weak and the wine would appear as if it has paled or went off. The other would be fresher, more acrid but its aromas would be clearer.

Note!! Acerbity and freshness felt in your mouth harmonizes with meals but if aromas disappeared, they do not return, and that would be the major loss!!