Tips for Decanting Wine
While our wines have been crafted to deliver extracted fruit and soft, integrated tannins, decanting our wines can amplify their complex aromas and flavors. You will need a clean decanter with no soapy residue or moisture in it. Any simple glass vessel will do, you don’t need to decant into expensive crystal. You can use a clean, dry funnel to pour the decanted wine back into the bottle. This is called “double decanting” and is very useful if you are serving a number of wines and want your guests to know exactly what they are drinking.
Young wines should be decanted quickly and carefully. Exposing younger wines to air can help coax out aromas and flavors. Pour the wine swiftly; let it splash on the inside of the decanter. Swirl it around several times to introduce it to as much air as possible. You will detect an openness in the wine immediately after decanting but allowing it to rest and breathe for an hour or more will yield even more subtleties and softness. Note that, as our wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered, you may see a slight sediment even in our young wines. This is a harmless indication that we’ve done all we can to retain as much of the wine’s true character and complexity as possible.
In the case of aged red wines, there is a careful ritual to decanting in order to avoid pouring out any of the sediment that may have accumulated in the bottle over time. First, stand your wine upright for a day or so prior to opening to allow the sediment to fall to the bottom of the bottle.
Now, remove the capsule from around the entire neck of the bottle so that you can see through the glass and watch for sediment. Holding the neck just above a lit candle or other light source will help you get a better look. Hold your decanter in one hand and your bottle in the other, and slowly pour the wine into the decanter. Try not to rush or you may disturb the sediment at the bottom of the bottle. You also want to avoid splashing as you risk losing delicate aromas and flavors that have developed over time. Once you start to see an arrowhead of sediment forming in the neck, stop pouring. An aged wine will generally be ready to serve right after decanting.
The Art of Serving
No doubt, your environment is the most influential aspect of your wine enjoyment. Who hasn’t savored a fine Cabernet Sauvignon from a plastic cup on the beach while viewing a spectacular sunset or been less than impressed with a legendary wine in the context of a stuffy business dinner? You can optimize the flavors and aromas of your wine in any context by serving it in ideal glassware at an ideal temperature.
It’s very important to serve your wines at a temperature that best reveals its complexities and character. Serving white wines too cold will mask their aromas and flavors. We recommend that you serve our Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc at around 45◦ F. Our T-Bar-T Ranch Sauvignon Blanc is fuller bodied and has been aged partially in oak. This wine can be served at a slightly warmer temperature than our racier Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, around 50◦ F.
For our red wines, if the wine is too cool, you will mask the fruit and the wine may seem a bit bitter or astringent. If the wine is too warm, it may seem off balance with overly pronounced alcohol. Our Cabernet Sauvignons show best at around 68◦ F. Possessing less tannin, our Merlots and Syrah can be enjoyed slightly cooler, around 64◦ F. If you find that your red wine is too cool and tasting slightly bitter, hold the bulb of the glass in the palm of your hand as you swirl the wine. The warmth from your hand will gently warm the wine. Conversely, if your wine is too warm, give it 30 minutes in the refrigerator to hit a desired temperature.
Always serve your wine in a thin-rimmed glass so that the wine hits the tip of your tongue as you sip it. When you're enjoying a wine with complexity and depth, it's best to use a glass with a nice deep bowl and tapered opening. The bowl gives you room to swirl and the tapered opening delivers focused aromas to your nose. Remember, the wine will develop in your glass more than anywhere else.
Our wines are grown and crafted so that our tannins are mature and delicious upon release. We strictly manage our vines to limit the number of clusters and maintain an ideal canopy so that filtered sunlight can ripen the fruit to its optimized state. We then harvest our berries at their ripest point, when sugar levels are ideal and seeds have matured. Our winemaking techniques further extract fruit and tannin so that the wine is beautifully balanced and well-integrated.
There are many wines in our portfolio that possess such ample fruit and tannin that they can be cellared for up to 20 years. One of the truly beautiful aspects of a well-crafted wine is that it continues to develop over time; there are nuanced characteristics in wine that can only be achieved with bottle aging. Aromatics can become even more open and complex, tannins become more integrated, and new savory elements unfold on the palate.
When you cellar your wines, whether a few months or decades, store them horizontally as not to allow the cork to dry out and contract. Also, keep your wines in a steady climate—around 60 degrees is ideal—and out of direct sunlight. If you’ve purchased numerous bottles of a favorite wine, it is fascinating to uncork them over the course of a year or more to experience how the wine evolves.