I had one of those 24-hour wines yesterday in my regular blind tasting, and again it was an Alban Grenache, this time the 2005 edition from the winery’s Edna Valley estate.
I’ve written about my experiences with Alban Grenache in the past. I once opened a bottle of the 2000 and it benefited from 48 hours of air to fully open up and reveal all its nuances. So much for Grenache being a fruity, easy-drinking quaffer.
Alban Grenache, more so than most wines, seemingly demands aeration. In yesterday’s tasting this inky-dark wine immediately stood out among the other Rhône-style reds. It showed great concentration, depth, focus and persistence of flavors. Yet it was so dense and closed that at first I had to double check and make sure it was a Grenache and not a beefy Petite Sirah. Over an hour or so it continued to improve and show more flavor complexities. I tried it again last night; still tight. And I'm planning on trying it again tonight.
It’s unusual for most wines to benefit from extended aeration. Earlier this year, when tasting with Christian Moueix at Dominus, he said that some of his young wines, both from Napa and Pomerol, need a full 24 hours aeration before they show their best.
It’s not practical for reviewers to open wines a full day in advance of their tasting, since many, if not most, would show traces of oxidation. As it is we open most of our wines an hour before tasting and pour out about a glass to let the wine breathe.
One reason is that every wine gets the same treatment. Another is knowing that most wines are opened and consumed, rather than decanted for hours. So we’re tasting the wine at the same stage as most people: fresh from the bottle.
I don’t recommend decanting or airing your wines for 24 or 48 hours, and it’s rare for a wine to hold up that well that long. Yet it can be a fascinating experience and I’ve found that wines that hold up well for a day or two after being open are good candidates for cellaring.
Linda Schwartz — Fort Ross, CA — September 13, 2007 2:53pm ET
James T Vitelli — Connecticut — September 13, 2007 2:59pm ET
John Miller — Windsor, CA — September 13, 2007 3:02pm ET
Roy Piper — Napa, CA. — September 13, 2007 3:13pm ET
Richard Horvath — September 13, 2007 3:33pm ET
Andrew J Walter — Sacramento,CA — September 13, 2007 3:41pm ET
Jay J Cooke — Ripon CA — September 13, 2007 4:22pm ET
David W Voss — Elkhorn, Wi — September 13, 2007 4:25pm ET
James Laube — Napa, CA — September 13, 2007 5:42pm ET
Jason Thompson — Foster City, CA — September 13, 2007 8:41pm ET
Jason Carey — willow, ny usa — September 13, 2007 8:53pm ET
Bryan So — CA — September 14, 2007 2:30pm ET
Larry Schaffer — Central Coast — September 18, 2007 6:40pm ET
Linda Schwartz — Fort Ross, CA — September 19, 2007 1:10am ET
James Mccusker — Okemos, MI — September 19, 2007 8:57am ET
Don Rauba — Schaumburg, IL — September 19, 2007 11:14pm ET
Don Rauba — Schaumburg, IL — September 19, 2007 11:20pm ET
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