To decant or not to decant… that was the question…
It was a damn good thing that Sheriff Houston was there when Coalminer Mark “the best sommelier in town” and the San Diego Kid (that’s me) squared off the other night over a 1999 Barbaresco Pajé by Roagna and a 2001 Barbaresco Pora by Produttori del Barbaresco.
My preference is nearly always not to decant. Yes, I know the 2001 Pora was going to be “tight,” as we say in wine geek parlance. The 2001 harvest was a fantastic, classic vintage for this wine, one of the greatest in recent memory, and this young colt has powerful tannins that currently overwhelm the beautiful fruit that is sure to emerge with its evolution. Coalminer suggested we decant it for the sake of aeration and he was right to do so: as the tight or “closed” wine came into contact with the air, it began to oxygenate and age more quickly, thus gently coaxing its fruit to come forward.
But being the diehard old school Nebbiolophile that I am, my preference is to pour the wine without decanting and aerating: I want to experience it in its evolution at that very time and place, capturing a moment of its life and its story on my palate. Of course, 2001 Pora is a wine I am sure to experience many times over the course of my and its lifetime.
Luckily, Sheriff Houston intervened, a decanter and plate of house-cured charcuterie in hand. We did decant the 2001 Pora and it was delicious, as was the 1999 Pajé with its crazy eucalyptus note.
Tracie B and I retired to our room and read Gideon’s Bible. And the world was still safe for Italian wine…
Above: Coalminer Mark (Mark Sayre, foreground) and Sheriff Houston (Ryan Mayces) played bocce at April and Craig’s crawfish boil a few weeks ago.
From the “just for fun” department…
J- Great post. Great graphics too. You’ve raised your game here, my friend. And thanks too for the link! If I’m back from Austrlia in time, will try to make the NN+ show in LA.