About Breathing and Even Stinking
is an essential part of wine tasting connoisseurship. It allows air
to interact with the wine so that the natural tastes of the grape
open and become fragrant after being, literally, bottled-up for so
It is as simple as opening the wine before serving
it - that's all that breathing entails.
Some wines, mostly reds like the Cabernet and Syra
need to breath for 1 to 2 hours. Others, usually whites, need only
30 minutes breathing time.
Actually, there is a different term that is used
when a wine breathes for only 30 minutes. It is called "stinking."
A rather peculiar name for an elixir often referred to as the 'nectar
of the gods'.
Allowing a bottle to "stink" is an absolutely
essential procedure - even for wines that don't need to breath. That
is, to insure a better tasting wine, no matter what you have chosen
to drink, uncork the bottle and leave it alone for at least half an
hour before imbibing.
Why? Mostly, because a stale smell grows in that
tiny space where air is trapped between the cork and the wine. In
addition, corks have their own natural smell that is almost never
pleasant. True, we sniff corks to see if a wine is good or bad, but
honestly, that is an affectation. The only time sniffing a cork is
an indication of anything is if the wine is so strong and so aromatic
that it overpowers all other smells. And that isn't necessarily an
asset in wines.
So plan ahead. Choose your bottle. Uncork. Wait
patiently. Allow the bottle to stink or to breathe. Let the unpleasant
odors that may have developed escape before you pour the wine into
glasses. Pour and serve. And then enjoy. L'Chaim.
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