Decanting champagne?

This has been mentioned in several recent threads. When it comes to champagne, decanting seems at odds with the whole idea of cork-popping, effervescent goodness.

How do you know when a champagne should a champagne be decanted? Is it based on vintage? Or producer? Or something more esoteric and mysterious?
Original Post
I've heard of this with very full bodied Champagnes. I had a really mind opening experience with a glass of 1988 Krug some years back. At the request of a friend, I put a few ounces in a Burgundy stem and left it until after dinner. After the wine warmed and lost most of it's effervescence, it was like drinking a great White Burgundy. Not the way I enjoy my Champagnes typically, but a real eye-opener. Even with a younger full bodied bubbly (a Phillipponat Clos des Goisses for example) the act of decanting serves the same purpose as decanting a young red.

PH
quote:
Originally posted by Board-O:
I left it in the glass for an hour and it was then flat and not ready to drink. The wine needs to be aged.

I agree with Board-O that nothing benefits a fine Champagne like age itself. Decanting will never, ever, mimik the benefits. This is pronounced more with Champagne than most any other type of wine, IMO.

That said, I've experienced several truly fine Champagnes that continuously evolved in the glass over several hours (2-3hrs). I recall w+a posting in the past that Philipponnat had their Champagnes out in the tasting room for several hours for tasting, purposely, as they showed better with the exposure (If I'm inaccurate about this, w+a, please correct me).

The point is, IMO, that there are more than one types of Champagne styles. Not all of them shine in the 'effervesent, active beading' period, but indeed shine with only minute amounts of beading activity is evident. They don't all go flat. Personally, I really enjoy experiencing a fine Champagne throughout its' transition period in-glass. It's a fantastic journey.

As PH posts, older and less 'lively' Champy is not to everyone's taste. But it is certainly something that everyone should take the opportunity to invetigate if it is.
At our visit to Philipponnat, all the wines we tasted had been previously opened except the Clos des Goisses, but they had temporary closures on them to prevent the loss of bubbles. They were all almost completely full, so I'm not sure there was much exposure to air.
quote:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
I've heard of this with very full bodied Champagnes. I had a really mind opening experience with a glass of 1988 Krug some years back. At the request of a friend, I put a few ounces in a Burgundy stem and left it until after dinner. After the wine warmed and lost most of it's effervescence, it was like drinking a great White Burgundy. Not the way I enjoy my Champagnes typically, but a real eye-opener. Even with a younger full bodied bubbly (a Phillipponat Clos des Goisses for example) the act of decanting serves the same purpose as decanting a young red.

PH


If the Champagne is made with Chardonnay grapes, the fact that it winds up tasting like a White Burgundy isn't all that shocking.
quote:
Originally posted by irwin:
If the Champagne is made with Chardonnay grapes, the fact that it winds up tasting like a White Burgundy isn't all that shocking.


The wine does contain a significant percentage of Chardonnay, but also Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. It's vinified differently and intended to be consumed differently. It tasted like a GREAT older white Burg. Shocking? Not sure. Surprising? Absolutely.

PH
I just found this thread. I rarely check this section of the forum.

I have had a number of bottles decanted before, both here in the USA and in Champagne.

The first time was with Thierry Garnier while tasting wines at Philipponnat. Each of the young wines were decanted. ( Clos des Goisses) Cedric Bouchard also decanted a wine before we tasted it.

The decant question was once on the Philipponnat website, but not sure if still there. They even recommended a decant for young wines.

I have had both Krug and Dom decant young wine at there annual Christmas dinner here in Texas.

A young wine will not go flat, and effervescence will still be there, trust me.

I often prefer young Champagne in a white Burgundy glass. Gkpoor and I just enjoyed a very young '96 Champagne this week, and we both drank out of still wine glasses.
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
The decant question was once on the Philipponnat website, but not sure if still there. They even recommended a decant for young wines.

I searched the Philipponnat site and do not find their discussion of this topic.
However, I did come across an interesting blog on this subject (in line with Berno's post) (clicky)
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
KSC02, Philipponnat still refers to decanting.

Click on the storing and service link under the Le Clos des Goisses link.

Got it. Thank you.

Recommended decant time of 10 minutes?
Just as well to 'open in glass', no?

BTW, I really like their '360' link in the cellar.
Almost gives one goosebumps (sound must be on for full effect). Wink
quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:
quote:
Originally posted by wine+art:
KSC02, Philipponnat still refers to decanting.

Click on the storing and service link under the Le Clos des Goisses link.

Got it. Thank you.

Recommended decant time of 10 minutes?
Just as well to 'open in glass', no?

BTW, I really like their '360' link in the cellar.
Almost gives one goosebumps (sound must be on for full effect). Wink


I think they mean 10 minutes before trying first sip. It does continue to decant you know, unless you drink very VERY fast. Razz Wink
quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:
quote:
Originally posted by VELISSA:
Decanting Champagne? Serve and wait a few minutes before drinking.

The temperature the champagne is served at is more critical.

I think we may have a new 'empty suit' blown into town... Roll Eyes



Up until that post KSC this was very informative...I have NEVER decanted Champagne...not because I dont think it should be decanted... but because I didnt even know it was a option. I have used larger mouthed glasses before to see if it would open up a bit...these do work fairly well IMO.
quote:
Originally posted by marcb7:
I have NEVER decanted Champagne...not because I dont think it should be decanted... but because I didnt even know it was a option. I have used larger mouthed glasses before to see if it would open up a bit...these do work fairly well IMO.

True, marcb. I find the shape of the glass has a HUGE influence on many, many Champagnes. I personally never consider decanting Champagne as much as I ensure that I keep enough to last for a long while (couple of hours). Great Champagne transitions continuously over that time. Older bottles may not last that long, true, but the entire time is an adventure.

Gage consumption to transformation. Wink
quote:
Originally posted by KSC02:
quote:
Originally posted by VELISSA:
Decanting Champagne? Serve and wait a few minutes before drinking.

The temperature the champagne is served at is more critical.

I think we may have a new 'empty suit' blown into town... Roll Eyes


I have not seen the empty suit reference recently on this forum. Smile

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