LETTING IT BREATHE

  • 'An older wine in need of decanting will be delicately pulled from the rack in the cellar, placed in a cradle to minimize movement, and brought to the dining room, where it is presented to the host of the table. Once the host has confirmed it's the correct bottle, the sommelier brings it to the credenza just as a normal bottle of wine would be treated. In a ritual of drama and elegance, the sommelier lights a candle to illuminate the bottle so that the thin layers of wine can be seen as it's poured slowly into a decanter. If properly done, the sediment in the bottle will not spill into the decanter. Guests often marvel at the sommelier's precision and concentration. Once the bottle is emptied into the decanter, it is placed on the credenza, it's label facing the guests. The sommelier samples the decanted wine. If it meets his or her standards, the sommelier approaches the table and pours the host a sample, and service proceeds from there.' ~Edmund O. Lawler in "Lessons in Wine Service from Charlie Trotter"