Decanting older red burgundy?

Decant “older” burgundy (70’s - 80’s)

  • yes
  • no
  • depends on the condition of the wine

0 voters

reading these threads got me wanting to ask the question.

Curious what people’s opinions are on decanting older burgundies. Not “OLD” as in 50’s but I’m thinking 70 - 80’s burgundy. Do you decant for sediment or other purposes or are you in the no you cant deCANT (hehe). Or do you not firmly believe in doing one way or another, but based on the condition of the wine.

I always slow-O, as I find the taste better, with more vitality and complexity. Try pouring off part of a bottle and after an hour or so compare the two portions. Serve cool naturally! If a bottle has been resting, and is served very carefully, no sediment will be disturbed. Besides, the sediment becomes softer in taste as the wine ages, as the tannin molecules combine into larger forms which are much less astringent that the early short-molecule forms. If one is really concerned, and has time to plan ahead, the bottle can be stood up fo about 10 days, but I really don’t find this necessary if the bottle has been resting in the cellar.

i voted “yes”, but usually start with a slow-o and then formally decant it if needed.

I treat it as do the Burgundians. No decant.


I never decant Burgundy or PN.

Not anymore, no.

On the other hand, of the older (80’s) Burgs I’ve opened of late, most seem to die a horrible death in about 30 minutes. They turn sulfide-y, bretty, or lose everything that made them compelling in the first place. It’s been depressing!

A big no from me.

we have more yes than no, but almost everyone on the thread has replied no! Explanations plz.

Yeah, how do people get rid of the sediment?



well, I’ll be brave and say that I almost always decant. I’ve seen way too many people - even experienced wine drinkers - dismiss a burgundy with some age on it as not good when 30-45 minutes later the wine is much different and better. Think about it - if you were cooped up in a small space for a long period, you’d need to stretch out too! Seriously, not only does the wine in the decanter and later in my glass benefit from being taken off the sediment, it opens up and becomes more appealing to the drinker.

That said, I don’t run into many decrepit bottles as most bottles from my cellar were purchased on release and properly stored, often for 20+ years. And it’s not as if the wine is sitting around decomposing with no one to see its beauty - if I’m entertaining and doing a white wine first course (often that wine is decanted as well as brought out of the fridge 20 minutes or so before consumption), I’ll decant the reds and then everyone pours some of each into their glasses (yes, multiple glasses are provided unless I talk some of the guests into bringing their own stems) and can start smelling - and tasting if they like - each wine immediately.

The claim that they don’t decant in Burgundy is inaccurate. Last time I was there I asked almost every local - winemakers and people otherwise in the food/wine business - about their decanting habits and received a multiple of answers from “white always, red only sometimes” to “never” to “always and the wines are better for it.”

Think about how often you find that the last few sips out of the bottle/decanter are the tastiest and realize that shows how much the wine benefitted from the aeration.

PS - recently opened a 1979 Trapet Chambertin and decanted it and that wine was “good to the last drop” - nothing faded and it’s not as if it were drunk immediately - there were only 6 of us and we had 4-5 wines at once (can’t remember) - that wine was beautiful two hours later.

If there’s any sign of sediment, I decant. Otherwise, it gets air in the glass before I make a decision about decanting. My personal experience has been that sediment in Burgs often mutes the prettier aromatic qualities I treasure in an aged Pinot Noir, so decanting is important (as is prior standing up to get the sediment down into the punt).


^THIS^ [cheers.gif]

my wife says that I just always pour the final glass for her

Absolutely! With the advent of unfiltered Burgundy since the late '70s, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have sediment in these wines, so decanting is the rule, not the exception, with mine. The bit about prior standing is also something I’m much more inclined to do these days, but you have to have a bit of foresight for that. Letting the bottle stand upright for 72 hours or more is a good thing if you can think that far ahead.

I’m very much in maureen’s camp. I’ve yet to run across a burgundy that has been damaged by a gentle decant. and again, what do you do about the sediment? waste 1/5 of the bottle?

Also you need to be pretty specific about what is meant by decanting. I’ve run into people who say they never decant, but they do pour the wine off the sediment into another vessel and serve…(?!)

It all depends on your palate / sensitivities. There is no right answer, because people’s palates very widely. Decanting eliminates some things which are highly desireable to some palates; but decanting greatly improved the wine for other palates. The notion that there is one right answer is silly. It is, ultimately, a matter of taste.

I’m not questioning your decision on whether to decant. but if there isn’t a right answer, then how can you say someone is handling ineptly? Cause from all you’ve posted, you believe there is a right answer, that you shouldn’t decant red burgundy.