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Wine fan wonders when to decant


Dear Fred,

    I took your recommendation in Thursday's article and got a bottle of the [Scala Dei red wine from Spain's Priorato region]. I'm serving it Friday evening. The small print on the bottle suggests decanting. Do you recommend it?

Jim Mattson


Dear Jim,

    Thanks for your interest. There are two reasons to decand. One, wines 10 years and older -- especially big reds -- may have "thrown a crust," meaning let down a little film of grapeskin sediment into the bottom of the bottle. To remove it, stand the bottle upright overnight to settle, then pour the wine into a decanter until you see the sediment reach the bottlemouth. Some people put a candle behind the bottleneck to better spot the sediment.

    Second, when a wine is young and big and hearty, getting a little air into it can soften it and make it better. In this case you can just splash into the decanter roughly to get that air.

    Either way, it can't hurt. You can make a ceremony out of it and impress your friends.

    Let me know how it turns out.

Fred Tasker

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