A couple of weeks ago I was put in my place by a French sommelier who thought it unnecessary to decant a bottle of Chateau Belgrave 2000.
I know the debate whether to decant or not to decant Bordeaux has run for many a year.
I know from Hugh Johnson, the wine connoisseur, that the French rarely decant Bordeaux while the English usually do.
And I know from common sense that you don’t decant old Bordeaux, but younger ones can benefit from it.
And I know from the Bordeaux expert Barry Phillips of Four Walls Wine of Chilgrove that you should only decant about half an hour before serving so long as you ‘swish’ it around a bit.
But, knowing all those things, I thought the only way to be certain was to try it out.
So, last weekend, four of us opened and decanted a bottle of La Tour Carnet 2000 (4th growth, St Laurent) and, an hour later, opened another bottle of La Tour Carnet 2000 and immediately began drinking it.
There was no contest. The decanted bottle had a much bigger taste.
Mind you, that Chateau Belgrave, a couple of weeks ago, tasted brilliant, and all the sommelier had done was to take the cork out about a three quarters of an hour before we drank it.
So maybe it’s a bit more complicated than I’d like to think.