The Drinkalogue Day 2: Not Quite Barbera, and The Power of a Good Decant

(A long time reader suggested i call my European sojourn “The Drinkalogue” and i’m sticking with it)

i’m a firm believer that the only way to actually know a wine is actually drink it. Not “tasting”, mind you, which generally involves spitting into a bucket, leaving out a great deal of what a wine actually is in that way that no one can ever “get” a horror film in the afternoon.

So in order to prep for my upcoming trip to Asti i went out to buy, and ultimately drink, some barbera. In the course of searching for said varietal barbera bottling i instead found a blend of barbera and nebbiolo, an A&GN Fantino Rosso dei Dardi 2006.

The Fantino brothers, Alessandro and Gian Natale, are Piemonte traditionalists (Alessandro worked with Bartolo Mascarello for a number of years before striking out on his own) who make, in addition to the rosso blend, a barbera (that was nowhere to be found) and a serious barolo.

So i had wine and, in the form of a simple red wine risotto, food. To be safe i opened the wine a good bit in advance. When it comes to decanting i am generally in the camp that likes to get to know a wine from start to finish as opposed to the camp that can throw a wine in a decanter for hours without checking bak in on it. i enjoy wines right out of the bottle, fifteen minutes later, one hour later, etc. It’s more a process to see what happens to the wine, rather than a specified goal. Generally this philosophy serves me well and tends to give me full view of the wine. In some instances it of course makes more sense to taste the wine right away, and decide that it is best left for a good while. And then there are bottles like this, where you taste the wine, get absolutely nothing, and cross your fingers that yes, it is in fact wine in that bottle and at some point it will taste like something.

So i got the Hardy Boys on the case of the missing wine (actually i just decanted the wine and swirled vigorously). Half an hour later, still nothing. Closed, tight, clamped, whatever term you use to describe a wine like this, it was not showing. An hour later it was barely there. An hour and a half later when dinner started, still very little (this is getting repetitive, and i apologize). It was barely touched during dinner, but afterwards…

Three hours into the decant something happened, something that scientists describe as “magic.” A switch went on, and like Frankenstein’s monster the wine was alive. Unlike Frankenstein’s monster this wine was not going to get a horde of villagers angry enough to grab their pitchforks. This is the worst metaphor i’ve ever deployed here at saignée. Pitchforks? Really? i’m ending this post right now and i’ll just say that as with the risotto, patience was the key here.

Notes: i’m currently rewatching Twin Peaks and now decribe everything as “damn fine.”

Please at least try and read the blog if you’re sending samples.

Quote of the week “everything sounds better when you’re listening to it in a car.” This is god’s honest truth.

Question of the post: Ideas on decnting? Thoughts? Philosophies?

~ by Cory Cartwright on February 28, 2010.

5 Responses to “The Drinkalogue Day 2: Not Quite Barbera, and The Power of a Good Decant”

  1. Like you said — wine, food and a most of the important things in life often require patience. I often will do as you do, right out of the bottle in order to get an initial impression. Nice to meet you, think you are lovely pour me a glass if conditions call for it, or off to the decanter if you want to be difficult — given all the variables involved (the wine’s state as well as mine) it’s a bit hard to follow a set routine. This does get to one of the questions that has been on my ind as of late, the wine aerator….seems to certainly make some sense, but also seem a bit too good to be true…and even if it is true, seems a little like cheating….

  2. nice …

    … pace … on the finish:

    … a horde of villagers angry enough to grab their pitchforks. This is the worst metaphor i’ve ever deployed here at saignée. …

    I love this blog.

  3. decanting – I find it helpful with certain grapes – like Chenin – and certain winemakings – like screwcaps and added CO2 fermented juices.

    Seriously. This is my Home Page.

  4. I always let the wine decant. Really like your blog. Will definitely come back!

    http://www.fernandosouza.org

  5. Damn fine coffee, I mean post.

    I rewatched Twin Peaks not long ago and my coffee consumption tripled. I was also suddenly obsessed with diners.

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