ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I drink a lot of vintage Ports that require decanting due to the sediment inside. Every wine website that I read teaches to stand the bottle upright for several hours before decanting and then slowly pour the wine into a decanter with a light behind the bottle so you can stop pouring when you see the sediment in the neck. One still gets sediment when doing it that way and it also wastes the last little bit of wine. Why not just pour it through a cheesecloth or coffee filter?

—Mark, Phoenix, Ariz.

Dear Mark,

The problem is that some of the sediment is small enough to pass through a cheesecloth or coffee filter and yet still big enough to make the wine in your glass feel gritty. It sounds like you're following the method I recommend, but remember: Slowly! You can't pour it slowly enough, and make sure you stop at the very first sign of sediment in the neck. Also, before you uncork it, try standing the bottle upright for a full day or two, not just a few hours. This may seem like a lot of hassle, but a fine vintage Port is well worth the wait.

—Dr. Vinny


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