1959 White Burgundy… When to Decant Wine

Emmanuel Broux of Domaine Guillot-Broux talks about reduction in a bottle of wine and tells the story of a friend who almost poured out a 1959 White Burgundy when he mistook reduction for a sign that the wine was dead. Emmanuel explains what happened and how he saved the wine.

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Reduction can be be nasty. I mean it can be like in a white wine it could be going for a kind of Chardonnay can go to a dead mouse! To to like I would say dust, for the best.
Reduction is … that is when it’s a problem. Then you can have reduction when the wine is actually closing down. So the effect is you don’t have the nose, you don’t have the fruit. You hardly find the structure, but then when you you put that in a glass and slowly the one really opens and you have all the aromas. Reduction is a classic way for the for the white wine to age. It can be normal if it’s actually closing down when it brings bad aromas it’s a fault of winemaking. So it’s very difficult to talk about reduction without knowing what is the winemaking because you can be really easily trapped with reduction. I mean we I have an example. I mean I’ve done a graphic novel about wine and the story comes from a discovery of a ’59 burgundy wine and one of the scene is, which was the truth, is my friend open the wine the 59 he doesn’t know anything about wine. He has horses and it smelled the wine he said “my god it smells like horses” I said what?! And in a very old bottle of wine to me that’s oh my god that’s reduction. So I took the wine and one was completely… really a lot, a lot of reduction in the wine. So he said “oh my god that’s undrinkable” and I said no its own reduction. So we decant the wine and after like half an hour or the one was back and was absolutely fantastic. And he tasted the wine after that and he said “Wow!”. And so he can if it was on his own he would put that straight into the bin,because for him it vineagar but actually was the best one of the evening. So that’s the problem of reduction. It can be fantastic because that was a very old bottle of wine and so the reduction was kind of the way of protecting the wine by itself.
Sometime you will drink some wine… a very young wine like a new vintage which has a lot of reduction, and that me is more that because they didn’t age the wine long enough or made that kind of a… not mistake but also style of wine. And for example you have a lot in the natural wine because they use the of the carbonic methods. You don’t have the oxygen coming, so the the natural wine will have that reduction, will have more reduction because you don’t have to fight with the oxygen. And sometimes that reduction can bring some really strong aromas which which are not the wine it’s it’s really a fermentation process.

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