Part 1: The wine-expert in perspective: they are humans too.....
The best wine critics in the world act as gatekeepers of the wine market. They have the power to sink a wine with a terrible review, or raise a wine up to legendary status. However, wine critics aren’t always consistent with their ratings; a study in the Journal of Wine Economics found that in blind tastings, wine critics deviated from their scores on a single bottle of wine by as much as four points or more on the 100-point scale. Researchers conducting the study submitted a test wine to a wine competition to see how it would fare among the wine critics. The idea was to give every critic the same wine on three separate tastings, noting whether the critics changed their opinions on the wine as the competition wore on. The critics had no idea that they were tasting the same wine three times. Researchers expected the critics to rate the wine virtually the same throughout the competition, but instead, they found that the ratings were dramatically different. A critic might have rated the wine as a 95 at the start of the competition, but rated that same wine as an 87 on the second tasting and as a 98 on the final tasting.
Part 2: The secret of air or "how to make your wine taste as good as it gets"
I turned into a passionate ‘breathing of wine’ guy for good reason. We spend a serious amount and lots of effort to select and purchase a great wine… and then, one day, we drink it. And seriously: how often have you experienced the disappointment while we had great expectations.
To be honest, I have had numerous great bottles in that category. Actually way too many to call those "not all are great". But there is good some news: you may want to spend some serious time on the preparing and serving of this great bottle you selected.
The trick is we may want to reconsider how we go about it: we may have the habit to go the wine cellar, pick a promising bottle, go back to the guests (hopefully you do enjoy the pleasure of sharing), we pop it, pour it and drink it.
My experience is that when drinking something truly special, several out of 10 that doesn’t do justice to the wine. And YES: It actually really matters to let it breath. If there is anything that can make a day and night difference it is exactly that. With many great Italian wines the next day they were better. But guys: even with a legendary Champagne Mesnil ’S’ 1996 it was even better the next morning, as in… ‘stellar’. We had a Chateau Palmer 1970 a few years back and we experienced it at first as an okish wine. The leftover the next morning made me cringe as it turned out to be absolutely delicious…. What had we done… serious: we popped, poured and emptied this nice bottle and marked it as mediocre. Its all about getting to understand what wine needs in terms of breathing……. as important as the loved ones we share them with.
- Old wines deserve breathing, but not too much please
- Young wines, especially those in the category of infanticide, need lots of air (as they still need to see the light of birth really)
- Italian wines, Rhone wines tend to benefit considerably from breathing going from dull to super exciting on multiple occasions
- Breaking a myth: Whites benefit from breathing too, as I experienced with the Mesnil 1996 and even with the greatest Chablis
- But some wines definitely lose vitality and pass away during the night
- In general, we seem to not let wines breath enough.......
Enjoy, observe, and become a master in serving wine the way it should. Enjoy!