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Sam Platt

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Audouze Method for Young Bordeaux

by Sam Platt » Tue Nov 14, 2006 3:28 pm

Thanks to the generosity of an aquaintance I had the opportunity to drink some young, relatively high quality Bordeaux this past weekend. He had three bottles of the 2003 Chateau Lascombes that he wished to share at a small dinner. I had picked the bottles up for him some time ago. Since I don't have a great deal of Bordeaux experience I decided to open a bottle, with his permission, and taste it early on the day of the dinner. I'm glad I did. The wine was harshly tannic and musty smelling. It was basically undrinkable.

Based on Francois's success with slow oxygenation, and because I didn't know what the heck else to do, I decided to just uncork the bottles, pour down to mid-shoulder, and let nature take its course. When I re-tasted the wine about six hours later the mustiness had burned away, the tannins were nicely resolved and the Bordeaux-ish tobacco and leather notes came through very nicely. The Audouze method seemed to work very well with this wine. Perhaps we could refer to it as the "Platt Variation" of the Audouze method for young wines. :wink:
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Brian K Miller

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Re: Audouze Method for Young Bordeaux

by Brian K Miller » Tue Nov 14, 2006 5:51 pm

Thanks, Sam, for this post. I have in my cellar a bottle of this wine, so... The shop owner had said that it was very drinkable young (and Wine and Spirits claimed the same), so the warning is useful.
...(Humans) are unique in our capacity to construct realities at utter odds with reality. Dogs dream and dolphins imagine, but only humans are deluded. –Jacob Bacharach
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Covert

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Re: Audouze Method for Young Bordeaux

by Covert » Wed Nov 15, 2006 7:23 pm

Sam Platt wrote: When I re-tasted the wine about six hours later the mustiness had burned away, the tannins were nicely resolved


Sam,

I didn't think tannins resolved in a short time by aeration, but that the oxygen just perks up the fruit so that the tannins are not so noticible. I thought that tannins form larger molecular chains and drop away over a longer period of time and that they mainly preserve the wine, rather than become part of the evolved flavors. Then again, I read occasionally that they do become part of new flavenoids and aromatic molecules. I'm no technical expert, though, so I am just asking.

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Sam Platt

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Re: Audouze Method for Young Bordeaux

by Sam Platt » Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:03 am

Covert,

I used the word "resolved" because it sounded cool, not because I really know exactly what it means. The tannins definitely were not as noticable after the slow aeration. It certainly could have been because the oxygen allowed the fruit to move to the front. I too am no technician. In fact I don't even have that much experience with Bordeaux. I just knew that I didn't like the wine when it was opened, and that it tasted much better after setting in air for several hours.
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Re: Audouze Method for Young Bordeaux

by Dale Williams » Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:54 am

Not sure how fruit can mask tannins, as one is a flavor and one is more a textural sensation (you smell/taste fruit, feel tannins). I have definitely felt that aeration has softened tannins over a few hours (whether it heightened or diminished fruit, as can happen).

I believe what is referred to as the Audouze method doesn't pour off any for more aeration area, this method should be called old school. :)
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Re: Audouze Method for Young Bordeaux

by wrcstl » Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:55 am

I don't get it. If you have to work so hard to make a young wine drinkable why not just hold it for 10 years? What was done made the wine OK but not really indicitive of what it will be with proper bottle age. Patience is a virtue when it comes to wine, IMHO. Just think how much better it may have been in 10 years. If he opened all his bottles he will never know.
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Re: Audouze Method for Young Bordeaux

by Covert » Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:34 am

wrcstl wrote:I don't get it. If you have to work so hard to make a young wine drinkable why not just hold it for 10 years? What was done made the wine OK but not really indicitive of what it will be with proper bottle age. Patience is a virtue when it comes to wine, IMHO. Just think how much better it may have been in 10 years. If he opened all his bottles he will never know.
Walt


Amen. The only time I open a too-young bottle is by accident - and then I drink it as is, feeling that I deserve any harshness I am dealt. Or if I have a reason to believe that a wine will be great at some point and I want to buy a case for the future, I might drink one bottle for science to see if I like the style enough to spring for the case.
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Sam Platt

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Re: Audouze Method for Young Bordeaux

by Sam Platt » Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:50 pm

If it were my wine I definitely would not have opened it yet. The gentleman who it did belong to purchased a half case of the '03 Lascombes, for a very reasonable price ($170), from a liquor store owner that I know quite well. He asked to come to the monthly dinner with our normal wine drinking/tasting group, which he was more than welcome to do. Despite my protests he insisted on opening the Lascombes and asked me to handle it for him since he was coming from out of town. Also, the wine may have been a much improved by and hour in a decanter. Don't know. My guess is that the Lascombes needs another 5 years at least.

Dale: The pour off is a key element of the "Platt Variation". :wink:
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Re: Audouze Method for Young Bordeaux

by wrcstl » Thu Nov 16, 2006 3:41 pm

Sam Platt wrote:
Dale: The pour off is a key element of the "Platt Variation".


What, pray tell, happens to the pour off?

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Sam Platt

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Re: Audouze Method for Young Bordeaux

by Sam Platt » Thu Nov 16, 2006 7:48 pm

Ah, the "pour off" is the reduction in volume of wine contained in the bottle in order to expose additional liquid surface area to the ambient oxygen, facilitating more efficient diffusion. In other words, you dump some wine out to allow quicker oxygenation. I have no idea if it really matters, or not. :)
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