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The White Wine Decant

Robert Whitley on

Decant a white wine, you say? The mere suggestion will make jaws drop.

Decanting, after all, is for older red wines and vintage Port, primarily to remove sediment. At least that's the time-honored custom. In reality, all wines -- red and white, even sparkling -- benefit from decanting.

For young red wines, the practice of decanting from the bottle into a glass decanter provides aeration that softens hard tannins. If you haven't tried it, you should. It will enhance the overall experience of drinking a good red wine a bit too young.

Decanting a white wine isn't as widely practiced. For one thing, as we move into the warmer months, there is the issue of maintaining a decent chill on a white wine. But there is no question aeration brings out the more complex and subtle aromas of higher quality white wines.

If serving a large group, maintaining the chill isn't much of a problem. The wine is decanted, poured around the table, and just like that you're ready for another bottle. Pretty simple. But when serving just yourself or one other person, not so much, unless you down it quickly, which I don't recommend.

I happen to have a decanter with a punt, similar to the punt you will find on many bottles of wine. The decanter came with a glass bowl that fits nicely inside the punt. Fill the glass bowl with ice, and voila, the wine holds its chill while you enjoy it at your leisure.

You can find such a decanter at most major department stores, or do a search online. It needn't be fancy to be highly effective. You can thank me later. You're welcome.

Best Value

Wines are rated on a 100-point scale. Wines are chosen for review because they represent outstanding quality or value, and the scores are simply a measure of this reviewer's enthusiasm for the recommended wine.

Chacewater 2018 Rose, Sierra Foothills ($18) -- The race is on, and the first dry rose wines of the 2018 vintage are coming to market. The Chacewater offers clean, fresh aromas of cherry and strawberry, is bone-dry and beautifully balanced. Made from 100% syrah, it's a great example of syrah rose. Rating: 90.


Tasting Notes

Tongue Dancer 2017 Chardonnay, Pratt Vineyard / Irwin Lane, Russian River Valley ($39) -- Winemaker James MacPhail has a knack for this style of chardonnay, which combines rich, creamy texture, intense aromatics and uber ripe aromas with exquisite balance. Therein lies the beauty of a MacPhail chardonnay. It has everything without having too much of any one thing. And the finish here is spicy and long. Rating: 96.

Frank Family Vineyards 2017 Chardonnay, Carneros ($38) -- Over the years, Frank Family chardonnay has stood out from the crowd because of its restraint. That restraint shouldn't be mistaken for a lack of flavor. The 2017 Frank Family chardonnay easily dispels that notion, showing intense aromas of lemon oil, baked apple and brioche, with a touch of oak vanillin and wood spice. Rating: 94.

Wente 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Wetmore Vineyard, Livermore Valley ($35) -- The Livermore Valley east of the San Francisco Bay area seldom gets the attention it deserves, which serves to keep a lid on prices. That makes it an exceptional resource for wine lovers more interested in value than cachet. Wente's Wetmore Vineyard cabernet from the 2017 vintage is a value gem, delivering layers of ripe black fruit aroma with supple tannins, a touch of wood spice and impressive length. Rating: 92.

Morgan 2018 Syrah, G17, Santa Lucia Highlands ($25) -- The G17 refers to a highway in Monterey County that connects many of the top vineyards, but the most important reference on the label is Morgan, the longtime Monterey producer known essentially for stylish reds and whites that are crowd pleasers but don't cost a fortune. This modestly priced syrah is another beauty from Morgan, showing notes of blueberry and blackberry with smooth tannins and a spice note on the finish. Rating: 90.

Mumm Napa Valley Blanc de Blancs, Napa County ($22) -- Mumm Napa consistently delivers an elegant sparkling wine product at a relatively modest price, and this blanc de blancs is no exception. It has notes of lemon and brioche with a touch of nuttiness on the finish. It is smooth, complex and delicious. Rating: 90.


Follow Robert on Twitter at @wineguru. To find out more about Robert Whitley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at Email Robert at



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