What time am I supposed to decant. Or how long before supper do I open a bottle and have it be as it should?
1999 Domaine du Pesquier Gigondas Cork 14% Opened an hour before supper. Started with large sting of pepper, some tannin and not much else. Decided it was too cold and put down for half an hour. It had opened and some flavors of spice had come on, but it still seemed way out of balance. Was the wine too old? Another half hour went by, we started supper of fish, and it seemed to be getting better. About half hour into the meal, it was suddenly in balance, lovely fruit, a generous mid section, a really nice wine. It stayed that way all evening. A day later we finished the bottle. It was ok but it lost a bit of its sole over the day. I would have thought this wine would be almost over the hill but instead required long cellaring to show its potential. It is 13 years old.
1996 Simi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County Cork 13.5% I assumed this was at its peak. I opened and found it had spicy charecteristics found in Rhones. It tasted ok, but did not taste like a Northern California Cab. We opened another bottle and let sit. Three hours of decanting found it in grove. A lovely elegant Cab, medium bodied, translucent red with no sign of aging. It was yummy and it had come home from it's apparent trip to France. It was still great a couple of hours later when I closed the bottle.
2005 Burgess Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Plastic Cork 14.4% Upon opening, noticed oak and tannin. Thought I might have to dig out slivers from the tannin which was a bit bitter. There was some fruit, and the lamb covered up some of its problems. It was ok. It did not improve with decanting time. For me, maybe I am no longer used to younger wines, but 7 years used to be considered ideal for Napa Cab such as this. It was a generous bottle not withstanding for my friend to bring.
My wife and I clearly enjoyed the Simi the best with the Gigondas yesterday in second place. What I cannot figure out is why these old relatively bottles that reviewers etc say should be on their last days, are appearing to be years away because of the extensive decanting required. Any comments?