To decant or not to decant (2004 Barolo)? That is the question…
When it comes to fine wine, everybody — and we mean EVERYBODY — has an opinion. One of the thorniest issues you’ll come across in the world of fine wine is whether or not to decant (i.e., whether or not to pour the wine into another vessel, usually a crystal “decanter” or glass carafe of some kind.
The first thing to remember about decanting is that THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT. If you visit a restaurant, and you want to decant your wine (like we did the other night for a customer who ordered the Brovia 2004 Barolo, $68), never hesitate to ask your server to decant the wine. When it comes to a tannic wine like Barolo, decanting (and the aeration that follows, i.e., contact with oxygen) helps to mellow the tannin (i.e., the astringent, tea-leaf character of the wine) and also coaxes the fruit flavors to emerge. This is especially true of young tannic wines — like Barolo, Barbaresco, Bordeaux, and Burgundy — where the tannic “structure” will dominate the “fruit” in the wine, when it is first opened.
The Brovia 2004 Barolo is a “traditional”-style wine, in other words, it’s aged in large (as opposed to small) casks before release and the winemaker doesn’t use technology in the cellar to accelerate its aging process. Most would agree that decanting was advisable in this case: by giving the wine a little aeration before it was served, the beautiful wild berry fruit flavors of this wine began to emerge more quickly.
The Brovia Barolo is one of our favorites, a fantastic traditional wine from a great vintage from one of the greatest — if not THE greatest — appellations in Italy (Langhe Hills, Piedmont, northwestern Italy). It’s made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes and is considered by many to be one of the benchmark wines for old-school Barolo.
If you haven’t noticed, we love OLD SCHOOL at Vino Vino. This wine is all about earthy, mushroomy, rose petal, and tar flavors, balanced by judicious acidity and warm berry flavors.
At $68 (to open at the table OR take away), it’s a great value for one of the finest wines of Europe.
In Italy they call Valentine’s Day, San Valentino (St. Valentine): if John Aielli’s “anti-Valentine show” got you bummed this morning, make YOUR San Valentino last one day longer with a bottle of Brovia 2004 Barolo tonight at Vino Vino.
And please don’t hesitate to ask your server to “decant” the wine! 😉