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About Breathing and Even Stinking

Old wine"Breathing" 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 long.

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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