Decanting outside vs inside?!

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John Telford
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Decanting outside vs inside?!

#1 Post by John Telford » September 6th, 2019, 5:56 am

Recently was hosting a dinner party and decanted two bottles in two different decanters. Since it was basically "cellar temp" outside I set one on the porch. One hour and half later, I tasted both, the one on porch had opened at an alarming pace vs. the one I left inside! Could this be caused by airflow difference? Note I did not pick up on bottle variation when I initially opened the bottles. Not that it should matter but the wine was Chateau Duhart Milon 2005. Thoughts?

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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#2 Post by Michael Lewis » September 6th, 2019, 5:57 am

Maybe a local critter added a little something to your wine outside.
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#3 Post by YLee » September 6th, 2019, 6:29 am

What the critter did while you weren't looking.
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#4 Post by RichardFlack » September 6th, 2019, 6:31 am

YLee wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 6:29 am
What the critter did while you weren't looking.
[stirthepothal.gif]
Wouldn’t that lead more in the TCA direction?

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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#5 Post by cjsavino » September 6th, 2019, 6:42 am

Bottle variations
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#6 Post by JohnP » September 6th, 2019, 6:50 am

Interesting. Was there wind outside?
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#7 Post by Sh@n A » September 6th, 2019, 7:03 am

Does relative humidity matter?
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#8 Post by Markus S » September 6th, 2019, 7:19 am

Perhaps some ragweed slipped in there?
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#9 Post by Brandon R » September 6th, 2019, 8:41 am

Truly, as others have said, I could certainly see if being a matter of constant air movement outside versus inside. A breeze blowing roughly perpendicular to the opening of the decanter could certainly funnel more air in to circulate in and out of the decanter where still air inside wouldn't nearly as much. Scientific? No. Plausible? In my mind at least.
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#10 Post by John Morris » September 6th, 2019, 9:19 am

John Telford wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 5:56 am
One hour and half later, I tasted both, the one on porch had opened at an alarming pace vs. the one I left inside!
What do you mean by "an alarming pace"? It was tasting tired? I wouldn't expect a classified growth '05 (of all vintages) to be tired at 14 years. But bottle variation certainly can be real at that stage. If it was tired, a poor cork is the most likely cause.

Another possibility is the decanters. Different shapes can make a difference, as well as any residue left in them. Also, whether the wine was poured gently or roughly into the decanter.

Alan Rath showed pretty convincingly in some threads that there is very little oxygen penetration at the surface of a wine after it's been decanted. Just sitting there without disturbance, a wine won't absorb much oxygen at all, even after a long period. So I can't think that breezes would make any difference at all.
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#11 Post by John Telford » September 6th, 2019, 10:06 am

Gents no critters, yes breeze, same type decanters, bottle variation not detected on opening, the wine was not tired but very noticeably "more open" after 1 1/2 hrs.

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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#12 Post by John Morris » September 6th, 2019, 10:26 am

There are so many variables in this situation, but Alan Rath (a chemist) made a compelling case that essentially no oxygen interchange takes place once the wine is sitting still in the decanter. So you need to look elsewhere for an explanation.

Just one of many other possibilities: Did one have a little more sediment in the bottle or in the decanter than the other? That can keep a wine tighter.

It doesn't surprise me that the two bottles seemed similar on opening and then differentiated themselves later. I could imagine that happening without decanting, too. After 14 years, bottle variation, even if it's not immediately detectable, can never be ruled out.
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#13 Post by Brandon R » September 6th, 2019, 12:41 pm

But wouldn't moving air across the mouth of a decanter pull air into the space? Think about holding an empty bottle to your lower lip and blowing, making a sound (we've all done that, right?). Doesn't that create some effect of pulling air into the bottle? Isn't this / couldn't this be the same thing because of the breeze?
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#14 Post by John Telford » September 6th, 2019, 2:03 pm

John M, I will definitely try to read up on the Alan Rath angle thanks. Having said that logic compels me to think similar to Brandon's comment. Don't you think if i ran a fan blowing into a decanter it would have an effect?

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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#15 Post by John Morris » September 6th, 2019, 2:26 pm

Brandon R wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 12:41 pm
But wouldn't moving air across the mouth of a decanter pull air into the space? Think about holding an empty bottle to your lower lip and blowing, making a sound (we've all done that, right?). Doesn't that create some effect of pulling air into the bottle? Isn't this / couldn't this be the same thing because of the breeze?
Alan explained that oxygen passes through the surface of a liquid only very slowly. It's not like drying something where replacing the air makes a difference. If the wine is sitting their still it's not absorbing any significant amount of oxygen over 90 minutes.
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#16 Post by John Morris » September 6th, 2019, 2:27 pm

John Telford wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 2:03 pm
John M, I will definitely try to read up on the Alan Rath angle thanks. Having said that logic compels me to think similar to Brandon's comment. Don't you think if i ran a fan blowing into a decanter it would have an effect?
Not if it doesn't stir up the surface of the wine. At least not if you believe Alan, the chemist. (I just e-mailed him, encouraging him to chime in.)
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#17 Post by Alan Rath » September 6th, 2019, 3:39 pm

Lol, been following the thread, but wasn’t sure I had much to offer. I can imagine a breeze stirring up the wine just enough to provide some minor circulation, Which might change the trajectory of the wine a little. But I would also expect (particularly for a relatively young and sturdy wine like this) the two bottles to reach the same point eventually, once poured into your glass and drunk over time. It sounds more like bottle variation (or maybe a subtly corked bottle) than a real difference due to being indoors/outdoors.
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#18 Post by CJ Beazley » September 6th, 2019, 3:45 pm

Where TF, is it ‘Cellar temp’ outside? It was over a hundo here today-
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#19 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » September 6th, 2019, 3:48 pm

CJ Beazley wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 3:45 pm
Where TF, is it ‘Cellar temp’ outside? It was over a hundo here today-
Yeah, my first thought was "Were the two decanters exposed to the same temperatures?"
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#20 Post by John Morris » September 6th, 2019, 5:06 pm

If anyone's curious about Alan's explanation of how slowly oxygen diffuses into an undisturbed liquid, here's the thread.
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#21 Post by Joe S. » September 6th, 2019, 6:46 pm

Houses are so closed and "efficient" these days, it just goes to show you how much (or little) oxygen is in either environ. Get outside with your decanted wine and it will taste even more different. :-)
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#22 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » September 6th, 2019, 7:51 pm

Joe S. wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 6:46 pm
Houses are so closed and "efficient" these days, it just goes to show you how much (or little) oxygen is in either environ. Get outside with your decanted wine and it will taste even more different. :-)
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#23 Post by PeterH » September 6th, 2019, 8:56 pm

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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#24 Post by john stimson » September 6th, 2019, 10:59 pm

Wine drinking and tasting is clearly different outside vs inside. For me, if I have a serious tasting, I would much prefer it to be inside vs outside. I think it has to do with air currents on even a day without much wind.

I think in terms of airing wine we focus far too much on "oxygen" and diffusion, where there is very little action, and not nearly enough on evaporation and expansion into an airspace above the wine. Outside,the airspace above the wine gets replaced dramatically more frequently than inside in a setting where there are no air currents, so wines air far more quickly outside than wines do inside.

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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#25 Post by Steve Slatcher » September 7th, 2019, 5:11 am

RichardFlack wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 6:31 am
YLee wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 6:29 am
What the critter did while you weren't looking.
[stirthepothal.gif]
Wouldn’t that lead more in the TCA direction?
I don't think so, but a fruit fly would kick start VA production, which could give the wine a lift.

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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#26 Post by JDavisRoby » September 7th, 2019, 5:52 am

Michael Lewis wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 5:57 am
Maybe a local critter added a little something to your wine outside.
I have a wooden ball that sits perfectly in the mouth of one of my decanters for those times we want the decanter on the screen porch. Had a bug end up in wine more than once.
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#27 Post by John Morris » September 7th, 2019, 6:22 am

john stimson wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 10:59 pm
I think in terms of airing wine we focus far too much on "oxygen" and diffusion, where there is very little action, and not nearly enough on evaporation and expansion into an airspace above the wine. Outside,the airspace above the wine gets replaced dramatically more frequently than inside in a setting where there are no air currents, so wines air far more quickly outside than wines do inside.
I was reading that first sentence and thinking, "Gee, I finally won a convert"! But then you went astray, I think. I don't believe air currents will open up a wine more if the opening up is due to evaporation. You'd expect the volatile compounds to disperse into the breeze and there would be less for you to smell.
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#28 Post by john stimson » September 7th, 2019, 10:31 am

John Morris wrote:
September 7th, 2019, 6:22 am
john stimson wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 10:59 pm
I think in terms of airing wine we focus far too much on "oxygen" and diffusion, where there is very little action, and not nearly enough on evaporation and expansion into an airspace above the wine. Outside,the airspace above the wine gets replaced dramatically more frequently than inside in a setting where there are no air currents, so wines air far more quickly outside than wines do inside.
I was reading that first sentence and thinking, "Gee, I finally won a convert"! But then you went astray, I think. I don't believe air currents will open up a wine more if the opening up is due to evaporation. You'd expect the volatile compounds to disperse into the breeze and there would be less for you to smell.
What I was saying is that a wine in a decanter left outside for an hour or two would potentially be more evolved than a wine left inside in a similar container, primarily because of increased air currents and replacement of the air above the wine in the decanter, just as in the same manner, a wine that has been in a decanter for a couple of hours will have progressed more than a wine that was simply slow-oxed in the bottle.

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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#29 Post by John Morris » September 7th, 2019, 10:37 am

I'm skeptical that more volatile compounds will emerge with more air flow. I think their concentration is low enough to begin with that they aren't exactly saturating the air in the decanter.
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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#30 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » September 7th, 2019, 12:05 pm

Brandon R wrote:
September 6th, 2019, 12:41 pm
But wouldn't moving air across the mouth of a decanter pull air into the space? Think about holding an empty bottle to your lower lip and blowing, making a sound (we've all done that, right?). Doesn't that create some effect of pulling air into the bottle? Isn't this / couldn't this be the same thing because of the breeze?
This is going to be my slow-ox method from here out. [whistle.gif]

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Re: Decanting outside vs inside?!

#31 Post by dougwilder » September 10th, 2019, 12:43 pm

If it is a serious wine, I would only open, decant and serve inside.
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