We should decant our chardonnays as often as we decant our reds.
Why? Because winemakers pour their energy into these magnificent wines, introducing layers and nuances for us to savour and enjoy. But it takes time for these subtleties to be expressed, and if we don’t give the wines the grace to open up, we will miss most of what the winemaker has intended us to see.It takes time for these subtleties to be expressed, and if we don’t give the wines the grace to open up, we will miss most of what the winemaker has intended us to see.
It’s not just air and time that is important when decanting a wine. It is also temperature. Decanting helps warm up a wine.
We drink our white wines extremely cold. Too cold in my opinion. Of course, the perfect temperature depends on many things, not least the wine itself, the current ambient temperature and how warm, or cool, we ourselves are feeling.
For the last few evenings, I have been drinking cool-climate chardonnay at 12 degrees Celsius. The weather is wintery, so at this temperature, the wine still seems pleasantly chilled. I can see the layers in the wine, with the aromas becoming expressive and fragrant.
If these same wines came out of a standard refrigerator set at 4 degrees Celsius, they would appear closed, the acidity shrill, the fruit subdued, and because of this, any oak influence would probably be more evident than intended. The wine may even look a little angular and watery.
So if you have purchased a complex, mealy, layered, high-quality chardonnay, something from Hoddles Creek, Stonier, Giant Steps or Tolpuddle for example, make sure you do it justice by allowing it some time to stretch, expand and unfurl. Pouring the wine into your favourite decanter, or jug will help this process along, making the wine taste more interesting, complex and enchanting, allowing for a more satisfying and memorable wine experience.