Looking and tasting good

By Andrea Pollock

Fancy decanters are a little more mainstream these days than a decade ago. The decanter is a glass vessel that increases the surface area exposure of a bottle of wine to help oxygenate it and open up the aromatics. There are lots of interesting shapes and styles of decanters on the market, proving that people not only eat, but drink with their eyes. Many decanters are designed for their presentation effect – making wine look beautiful while it is being poured. You can also find much more practical decanters for sale in stores that are more like big carafes – these are affordable and effective.

By Andrea Pollock

Fancy decanters are a little more mainstream these days than a decade ago.  The decanter is a glass vessel that increases the surface area exposure of a bottle of wine to help oxygenate it and open up the aromatics.  There are lots of interesting shapes and styles of decanters on the market, proving that people not only eat, but drink with their eyes.  Many decanters are designed for their presentation effect – making wine look beautiful while it is being poured.  You can also find much more practical decanters for sale in stores that are more like big carafes – these are affordable and effective.

Decanters make a great gift, a pretty centre piece and they can even make your wine taste better.  When using a decanter you will want to empty the entire bottle of wine into it, sediment and all.  Decanters are designed to pour the wine off of the sediment for serving, so if you are careful you can enjoy your fully aromatized wine without the grit.  Decanting filters are also available and they can help to lessen the grit and diamonds that can fall out of the wine.  Decanters can also improve the drinking quality of the wine by allowing for oxygenation.  Oxygenation of wine allows the aromatic components to be released; it’s what is referred to as ‘breathing’.  Letting a wine open up and breath will give you the chance to smell new aspects of the bouquet.

You can decant any wine, red or white – this isn’t just for the benefit of expensive cellared bottles.  The breathing opportunity will help most wines and may even show you something new in a wine you try often.

This week I have chosen a couple of wines that could stand for a good decanting.  Both these wines taste great but also have huge eye appeal.  Enjoy!

The Show Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 – 13.9% alc/vol [California]

A deep, rich ruby colour on this wine makes it look so scrumptious.  The nose opens with young cedar and sweet vanilla with hints of pomegranate.  Easy drinking with big jam sweetness to start and mellow fruit flavours with some smoke leading towards the dry finish.  Great with roasts and gourmet burgers.  92/100  $ [BC Liquor Stores] (January 16th, 2011)

McLaren Vale Razor’s Edge Shiraz 2008 – 14.5% alc/vol [Australia]

Off the bat there is a bit of licorice, plum and strawberry jam.  There are nice fruity flavours of raspberry and minty earth.  A heavy wine with balance and the ability to stand up against big bold flavours.  Great with steaks, roasts and game meats.  88/100  $14.99 [BC Liquor Stores] (January 3rd, 2011)