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Dear Dr. Vinny,
Many red wines taste much better after exposure to air for 30 minutes or more. Yet I see most people in upscale restaurants opening these expensive bottles of great reds and immediately begin drinking wine that I know can't be ready to drink without the exposure to air. I haven't seen a discussion of this topic. Any comments?
—Craig R., Raleigh, N.C.
While you're right that many good wines are better once they've had time to open up, that doesn't mean they taste bad when they're first opened. I like to try a wine when it's first opened and then watch it evolve in my glass over time, and over the duration of my meal. I hope these heathens you're observing take more than 30 minutes to finish their bottle.
If you're in a restaurant and worried about your red wine not opening up in time for you to fully appreciate it, you can ask the sommelier to decant your wine, or just crack it open and pour some in your glass. Meanwhile, you could order a glass of wine off the restaurant's list, or get a bottle of something white or bubbly or pink to tide you over.
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