Painted Rock, The Legend meet the Wine Breather
When you pay the price for a premium red wine that is still young, you seldom get your money’s worth unless the wine is decanted or unless it is cellared for several more years.
Decanting works well for the impatient.
Two icon reds and a decanter from Denmark came across my desk recently. The experience was instructive.
Seven Stones The Legend 2008 ($45) arrived before the decanter and was tasted without its benefit. This is a bold Bordeaux blend – 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc. The wine begins with complex aromas of leather, earth, currants and figs. On the palate, there are flavours of plum and chocolate. The structure is ripe and muscular. 92.
Seven Stones Winery in the Similkameen released only 50 cases of this, its first “icon” red. Most of it is now sold out and collectors will be awaiting its successor, when or if winemaker George Hanson releases another. I will certainly decant the next one.
The red wine shown in the decanter is not The Legend nor the other wine being reviewed here. It is in fact a home-made wine because the decanter needed a bottle of wine to show up in my photo. (The amateur wine smells and tastes better, too.)
Painted Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 ($40) is the wine that did get the full Danish treatment. The aroma is dramatic – dark fruits (currants, figs, prunes), tobacco and vanilla. The texture is immensely concentrated and tight. I poured a glass before decanting the wine and then compared the two. The decanted wine was more evolved, with emerging flavours of fig, mint, vanilla and cedar. The undecanted wine still was closed. Even if you decant, I recommend cellaring this wine a few more years. 93.
This is the second vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon from Painted Rock. The 2007 won a Lieutenant Governor's Award of Excellence last year. The 2008 will be served at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival's Bacchanalia Gala next month - presumably decanted.
The Menu Wine Breather decanter is from a Danish company called Menu A/S. It was sent to me from Creative Danes Inc. in California. The decanter and breather, which retail for $69.95, are currently available in two Vancouver stores: Homewerx - The Modern Lifestyle Store at 1053 Davie Street (604-682-2204); and Atkinson's of Vancoiver at 1501 West Sixth Avenue (604-736-3378).
What sets this decanter apart from others is the silicone stopper that fits into the neck, designed to accept a bottle of wine. The way to use it is to open the wine, shove the decanter and its stopper down over the mouth of the bottle and then invert them.
The stopper causes the wine to swirl around the neck and down the sides of the decanter. That exposure to air opens the aromas and flavours of a young wine. Indeed, the booklet that comes with the decanter boasts of “ready-to-drink wine in less than 2 minutes.” I did not think the wine opened quite that quickly but it certainly opened.
Using it is, to quote the booklet, “a spectacular little show.” Will I have the nerve to try this at my next dinner party?
There are numerous other gadgets as well for aerating wines. Any shop that sells good stemware will have some gadget or other. All have a selection of decanters which also will help a wine open up but just not in two minutes.
It all depends how impatient you are.