People often ask me if and when to decant wine. / One reason to decant is to increase the oxygen contact with the wine. I personally find it more important to decant older wines than young ones, as this is needed to breathe life into a wine that has been imprisoned for decades. An older wine at first often has an off-putting musty smell that only disappears with time and air. I have on countless occasions experienced how a wine was written off as being well past it, sometimes having to stop my fellow drinkers from pouring the wine away, only to see it blossom in the glass with time and air, developing into a delicate beauty.
The timing depends very much on the wine in question - a vintage with a good structure will need longer than a lighter vintage, Bordeaux generally needs longer than a Burgundy. Powerful white wines like Chardonnays and Grüner Veltliner also benefit from decanting as does mature Rieslings. Also the very young Bordeaux, like this Latour from exceptiomal vintages, will benefit sometimes from very long decanting time, even 10 hours or more.
What I don't believe in is the habit of just opening the bottle to let the wine breathe - the air exchange taking place at the small surface is negible. The problem occurs if the cork crumbles and fall into the bottle, as this means that you will have to decant the wine earlier than you had really planned.
Another reason is to separate the wine from its depot.
This is usually done with Bordeaux but funnily enough rarely with Burgundy, which for me is a fallacy - depot will negatively affect a delicate wine more than a sturdier wine.
This reminds me of a funny story - as Sotheby's were to auction off large parts of the famous Thurn und Taxis estate in Germany a decade or so ago, there were also parts of the wine cellar to be auctioned off. As Serena Sutcliffe, the head of Sotheby's wine department, went to examine the cellars she found that all wooden wine cases had large circular holes in them. On asking why, she was told by the family butler that these were drilled in order for the wines to breathe.
The 47 hectares which surround the Château, the heart of the estate, are called "l'Enclos". Only the grapes from these 47 ha make the "Grand Vin de Château Latour". The vines in this vineyard are very old, some of them being centenarian. This "Enclos" benefits from a very unique terroir that combines an optimized sub-soil nutrition for the vines, the Gironde river which tempers extreme weather conditions, and a typical Médoc climate, largely influenced by the Atlantic ocean, which allows the grapes to reach maturation under favourable conditions.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
|1 165€ +5.9%||1 100€ +2.3%||1 075€ -20.1%||1 345€|