This is a new series of experiments following the protocol outlined in my last post. It involves just two glasses, and the test to see if the presence of secondary and tertiary aromas discriminates between the bottle and decanter. For the first experiment in this series I used an inexpensive Bordeaux. Here are my notes, written before the reveal:
On the left, fine spicy cedar notes and good fruit. On the right, a slightly funky mushroom overtone. So the one on the right is the bottle.
I was right. And tasting after the reveal, I thought the tannins on the decanted palate were mollified by the soft fruit. Perhaps this is behind the notes you sometimes read saying that the tannins softened with air. I’ve never believed it possible that the tannin composition changes chemically over such a short time, but possibly the revealed fruit aromas create a perception of softening.
I found the difference quite decisive. In previous breathing experiments the difference often seemed very subtle. Maybe formulating a hypothesis sharpens the mind’s attention in a way not present when you are simply trying to decide if there is any difference at all.
Here is my tasting note on the wine.