What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

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Sarah Kirschbaum
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What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#1 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 21st, 2019, 6:35 am

I am a firm believer that old nebbiolo should be opened and perhaps decanted quite early in the day if you are serving in the evening. Conversely, I believe young nebbiolo should not be decanted at all, as it tends to shut down with air in my experience. For purposes of this discussion, let’s take that as the premise – we can talk about whether I’m wrong to begin with another time. :)

My question is this: what’s the cutoff? Where does it shift from being old to young? Clearly this is a general question, and the answer will vary by vineyard, vintage, producer etc. Of course, if I know the wine well, I have a good idea how it’s showing and can make an informed decision. But if I don’t the wine, or haven’t had it in a long time? What constitutes old and young at this point?

For me, bottles from the 70’s and older fall firmly in the old category, and always get opened early. Bottles from the 90’s and younger are young, and are largely decanted right before serving and allowed to develop in the glass. So the cutoff is somewhere in the 80’s, more or less. It might be around ’85. I tend to err on the side of opening too late rather than too early since you can always give it more time, but you can never turn back the clock.

If you are also a believer in this nebbiolo magic, what’s your cutoff date?
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#2 Post by Izzy Nosnik » December 21st, 2019, 7:57 am

I'm right there with you on decant strategy overall, but was really intrigued to see that you cutoff waaay later than I do. I consider "young" pop and pour Nebbiolo to be about 15 years or less, again, these being the ones that shut down with air. I tend to do the 12 hour decant on wines approx 2000 and older. Caveat is that I open very little 5-15 year old Nebbiolo to to begin with as I generally don't like that phase.

Occasionally when I've encountered situations where I find a borderline-aged wine is doing the "shutdown in the decanter" thing, I find aggressive movement of the wine, swirling in the decanter/glass, etc sometimes helps.

I'd also add that another voodoo thing I do is that when I slow decant older bottles (i.e. >30 yrs+), I slow decant them at cellar temp. With younger wines I'll do room temp slow decant. Again, completely voodoo, but my remnant knowledge in molecular biology leads me to think that the ~20deg F difference will noticeably increase the rate of oxidation and make the wines show better. YMMV.

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#3 Post by Nathan V. » December 21st, 2019, 8:10 am

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 21st, 2019, 6:35 am
I am a firm believer that old nebbiolo should be opened and perhaps decanted quite early in the day if you are serving in the evening. Conversely, I believe young nebbiolo should not be decanted at all, as it tends to shut down with air in my experience. For purposes of this discussion, let’s take that as the premise – we can talk about whether I’m wrong to begin with another time. :)

My question is this: what’s the cutoff? Where does it shift from being old to young? Clearly this is general question, and the answer will vary by vineyard, vintage, producer etc. Of course, if I know the wine well, I have a good idea how it’s showing and can make an informed decision. But if I don’t the wine, or haven’t had it in a long time? What constitutes old and young at this point?

For me, bottles from the 70’s and older fall firmly in the old category, and always get opened early. Bottles from the 90’s and younger are young, and are largely decanted right before serving and allowed to develop in the glass. So the cutoff is somewhere in the 80’s, more or less. It might be around ’85. I tend to err on the side of opening too late rather than too early since you can always give it more time, but you can never turn back the clock.

If you are also a believer in this nebbiolo magic, what’s your cutoff date?
That sounds about right except that I think the extreme decants are unnecessary and a bit over the top, a few hours is generally enough (but if I'm drinking nebbiolo with Jamie it's whatever he wants to do).

I have a 1989 Brovia Rocche that I'm planning on drinking soon but I don't have a great idea how to treat it as it is a tweener.

Also, I've been enjoying just popping bottles from 2009, 2011 and 2012.
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#4 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 21st, 2019, 8:46 am

Izzy Nosnik wrote:
December 21st, 2019, 7:57 am
I'm right there with you on decant strategy overall, but was really intrigued to see that you cutoff waaay later than I do. I consider "young" pop and pour Nebbiolo to be about 15 years or less, again, these being the ones that shut down with air. I tend to do the 12 hour decant on wines approx 2000 and older. Caveat is that I open very little 5-15 year old Nebbiolo to to begin with as I generally don't like that phase.

Occasionally when I've encountered situations where I find a borderline-aged wine is doing the "shutdown in the decanter" thing, I find aggressive movement of the wine, swirling in the decanter/glass, etc sometimes helps.

I'd also add that another voodoo thing I do is that when I slow decant older bottles (i.e. >30 yrs+), I slow decant them at cellar temp. With younger wines I'll do room temp slow decant. Again, completely voodoo, but my remnant knowledge in molecular biology leads me to think that the ~20deg F difference will noticeably increase the rate of oxidation and make the wines show better. YMMV.
Wow, that is indeed much younger than I would do an extended decant. Thinking about it, though, it's just the decade of the 90's where we differ. I consider the 80's my grey area in this regard - yesterday I did the slow ox for a few hours on two '82s, but not an '89. Anyway, as to the 90's most of my wine from that decade is from '96, which is particularly structured. I've had a ton of '96s shut down on me, so with a few exceptions I treat them as young.

I also don't open much that's younger than 15 years unless I know the wine, or I'm deliberately evaluating a young wine. In that latter case, I always pop and pour. Anything else defeats the point of doing an evaluation, in my book.

I have a '58 Conterno Barbaresco Riserva and a '61 Conterno Barolo on deck for tonight with roast goat. I'm opening them now, and will try your cellar temp thing.
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#5 Post by A G Aguirre » December 21st, 2019, 9:08 am

Interesting...what’s the rationale for slow ox / extended decant for older nebbiolo?
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#6 Post by john stimson » December 21st, 2019, 9:11 am

I actually thought you were going to be asking "when do you stop buying newly released Barolo/barbaresco?".

I'm actually more in Izzy's camp, and would have said 10-15 years. But I actually rarely drink anything younger than 10-15 years if age, and have to admit (perhaps because of this) that it's unusual that I experience the shut down with air phenomenon. almost all of my 2004's are untouched, working on 2001 and older.

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#7 Post by Ron Erickson » December 21st, 2019, 9:21 am

What about vintage? I've has some 07's and 09's that have opened up rather quickly, but an 08 may sit there hard as nails for quite some time.

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#8 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 21st, 2019, 9:33 am

A G Aguirre wrote:
December 21st, 2019, 9:08 am
Interesting...what’s the rationale for slow ox / extended decant for older nebbiolo?
That it works, again and again.

Yes, I'm being flip. But I'm also not aware of anyone who has a firm scientific explanation of this works for nebbiolo specifically.
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#9 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 21st, 2019, 9:35 am

Ron Erickson wrote:
December 21st, 2019, 9:21 am
What about vintage? I've has some 07's and 09's that have opened up rather quickly, but an 08 may sit there hard as nails for quite some time.
As I wrote: "Clearly this a is general question, and the answer will vary by vineyard, vintage, producer etc."
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#10 Post by R. Frankel » December 21st, 2019, 2:19 pm

I’m curious about the decanting length. My general approach for pre-2004 is a 2-3 hour decant. How much change do you see with a 2 vs 12 hour decant?
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#11 Post by Ron Slye » December 21st, 2019, 3:01 pm

I too at first this was about buying rather than drinking!

I really like Barolo but am still feeling my way on this issue. I tend to like to follow a wine over time -- as much for education, as well as Sarah's point about not missing out on the perfect drinking window. I too have a good deal of 1996, and am mostly letting those rest. I do find that the first year or two can be enjoyable, but then I need to wait a good ten or more years.

I find Barolo (perhaps Nebbiolo generally, I have less experience with Barbaresco) quite confounding in how a wine that feels over the hill at first can open and feel more youthful hours later. I fear that in my early days I may have poured down the drain a great wine that appeared over the hill when I first opened it.

This raises a related question (apologies in advance for veering slightly from the OP). There is this general rule of thumb that if you decant and give a young wine time over an evening, you will approximate aging. Barolo seems to me to be a strong counter to that, which makes me wonder if it is a strong counter for other/all wines. I have definitely had some older (2-3 decades) Bdx blends (mostly domestic) that at first seem tired but then open up with time. There are of course others that are dead on opening, and stay that way. But do we (I certainly admit to thinking this often) err in thinking that opening, decanting, swirling a young wine gives us a strong approximation of what age will do?

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#12 Post by R. Frankel » December 21st, 2019, 3:26 pm

‘Strong approximation’ is the question, and I think the answer is no. For very young and tannic nebbs, I’ve found that decanting for 2 or 3, even 4 days can soften the wine enough so you can taste the fruit behind the tannin wall. But the rest of aging transformation doesn’t happen at least in my experience.
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#13 Post by Billbell » December 21st, 2019, 5:10 pm

R. Frankel wrote:
December 21st, 2019, 2:19 pm
I’m curious about the decanting length. My general approach for pre-2004 is a 2-3 hour decant. How much change do you see with a 2 vs 12 hour decant?
I never actually decant old nebbiolo, I find that opening it and doing a slow-ox tends to work best. I don't know if you need to slow-ox a full 12 hours before starting to drink though...I've had pretty good luck opening about 8 hours before I plan to start drinking and then following the wine for a few hours so the last glass will have had 11-12 hours of air. I've been amazed many times at the dramatic recovery in wines that seemed lifeless and tired upon opening. I usually only do this with pre-90s wines.

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#14 Post by john stimson » December 21st, 2019, 9:18 pm

Actually, Sarah, when you say "opened and perhaps decanted" can you clarify what you actually do? (to me there's quite a bit of difference between slow oxing and decanting in terms of elapsed time, and then I'm always interested in what people are doing when they decant a few hours ahead--are they decanting and leaving a decanter in the cellar, or on the counter reaching room temp, or are they double decanting and leaving in the bottle for a few hours.) I realize you don't likely want this to become yet another decanting discussion, but what is it you actually do when you open an older Barolo in the AM?

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#15 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 22nd, 2019, 6:24 am

john stimson wrote:
December 21st, 2019, 9:18 pm
Actually, Sarah, when you say "opened and perhaps decanted" can you clarify what you actually do? (to me there's quite a bit of difference between slow oxing and decanting in terms of elapsed time, and then I'm always interested in what people are doing when they decant a few hours ahead--are they decanting and leaving a decanter in the cellar, or on the counter reaching room temp, or are they double decanting and leaving in the bottle for a few hours.) I realize you don't likely want this to become yet another decanting discussion, but what is it you actually do when you open an older Barolo in the AM?
I've almost never opened bottles in the morning for evening service. Noon is the about the earliest I'd open for dinner.

By "opened and perhaps decanted" I mean I will open the bottles, take a tiny taste, and decide based on how they are showing whether I leave them sitting open in the cellar, put the corks back in part way, decant immediately, or decant a couple of hours before service. Or something in between. I usually leave the bottles or decanters in the cellar during that period, or at least try and keep them slightly cool when the wine is delicate, especially if I'm serving to a group where pours will be small (warms up in glass faster). So it really varies by how the wine is doing. The sticky point there, though, is that I always find the tiny taste unpleasant, so it's hard to evaluate.

Yesterday, I opened a '58 Conterno Barbaresco and a '61 Conterno Barolo. The bottles had been standing for weeks, and all sediment was firmly caked at the bottom. I pulled both corks around noon. The '58 showed a lot of madeirization and the '61 a lot of VA and was much more delicate. Both had good body, though, and didn't seem too tight. I left them in the cellar uncorked until about 5 PM, just before guests arrive. I tasted both again and found the progression positive - both madeirization and VA were improving. I decided to decant both at that point, planning to serve them with our second course at ~7. I washed both bottles in case I wanted them later.

The evening ended up going a little slowly, and at maybe 6:30, one guest and I went down to cellar and checked on the wines. Both were tasting very good, cleaning up and putting on weight. If I had been worried about them then, I might have gone back into the bottles and stoppered them then, but everything was fine.

At close to 8, we brought the decanters up and served the wine to 10 guests, so quite small pours. The '58 was much more classically proportioned, with good depth and only a tiny hint of the madeirized notes it had originally. The '61 was really interesting, extremely floral and had put on a lot of weight since opening. Both were beautiful wines, interesting and delicious, and continued to improve noticeably in the glass, even over the short period of consumption. The group was split over which they preferred, and everyone agreed they were a great match with grilled maitake mushrooms with Castelmagno cheese fonduta.

Looking back, I'm very happy with the approach. I don't think a little variation one way or the other would have made all that much difference in our enjoyment. I have no way of knowing if something different would have been better, but there was nothing wrong with what we did.
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#16 Post by R. Frankel » December 22nd, 2019, 2:00 pm

Sarah, thanks for detail on how you handled these bottles. Your taste & evaluate approach makes a ton of sense. Really helpful!
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#17 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 22nd, 2019, 2:09 pm

R. Frankel wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 2:00 pm
Sarah, thanks for detail on how you handled these bottles. Your taste & evaluate approach makes a ton of sense. Really helpful!
Good I'm glad that's helpful. If I'm being honest, it's "taste, evaluate.... and guess!" ;-)
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#18 Post by ybarselah » December 22nd, 2019, 2:34 pm

i decant all older nebs late morning for dinner that night. i've found that the first few hours are brown and tawny and by dinner it totally changes. i have zero idea why or how this works but it does. jamie wolff of chambers street wines told me this years ago and i've had consistent results. my takeaway is that a few hours might not be enough time and i've never had the situation where they fall apart because of this. i also generally have a strong preference for a wine being ready when poured as opposed to opening in the glass. now, granted, this is limited to wines from the late 60s at the oldest and mostly 70s into early 80s. and i decant all young wines as well, but that's closer to service and those tend to be lesser nebs as opposed to high end baroli which i generally just leave alone.
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#19 Post by john stimson » December 22nd, 2019, 6:13 pm

Yes, Sarah, I know we've hijacked your thread, but the information on how experienced folks handle their wines I think is useful for all. My own take for older wines, particularly Barolo, but also rioja, Burgundy, Bordeaux, northern rhone, and Washington reds is that folks don't give them enough air. there seems to be this fear that they will "fade", but the bigger danger is that they are just not given a chance to wake up and open up. Those who say that they "never decant" a whatever wine can stick to that and follow a wine as it evolves over 6-8 hours, but I personally don't have the free time or patience to do that. (I do realize that there are wines that will reach a very enjoyable level within an hour of opening, and I'm not really referring to these here. If you try to do this with an older Barolo, you will generally flunk).

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#20 Post by Mike Grammer » December 23rd, 2019, 8:44 am

R. Frankel wrote:
December 22nd, 2019, 2:00 pm
Sarah, thanks for detail on how you handled these bottles. Your taste & evaluate approach makes a ton of sense. Really helpful!
Not that I see lovely older bottles like that all that often, but I echo Rich's huzzah, Sarah--really appreciate you giving us all that detail.

Only recent reference is a 2000 which we had on day 1, was pretty tight, left about half open in bottle and next day was singing beautifully (granted, I might be reading from a heretical textbook [grin.gif] ).

"2000 E Pira e Figli Barolo Via Nuova Chiara Boschis

Tomato leaf, sour strawberry and raspberry, this has a great deal of life on the tongue, with fine length and promise of much in the future. That promise is realized the next day, when some tar and darker earth notes—and perhaps even some barnyard—show up. On the palate, this has really gotten to textbook Barolo—berries take the lead but florals, earth and a small bit of eucalypt, actually. Very fine wine here."
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#21 Post by Ron Slye » December 23rd, 2019, 9:32 am

Echoing Mike and Rich, thanks very much for this Sarah. This has been one of the most informative postings here, and I will be referring to it often! We are probably going to open a 1996 and 1997 Barolo in the next week or two. I will report back on how they are -- my plan is to decant late morning and taste on and off throughout the day to see how they develop. We have cousins visiting who are becoming more into wine, and love Italian wine, so it will be fun to share with them.

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#22 Post by Doug Schulman » December 24th, 2019, 3:54 am

R. Frankel wrote:
December 21st, 2019, 3:26 pm
‘Strong approximation’ is the question, and I think the answer is no. For very young and tannic nebbs, I’ve found that decanting for 2 or 3, even 4 days can soften the wine enough so you can taste the fruit behind the tannin wall. But the rest of aging transformation doesn’t happen at least in my experience.
My experience is that in many cases, those wines shut down hard after a couple of hours in the decanter and never become as good as they were just after opening, no matter how long you wait.

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#23 Post by Doug Schulman » December 24th, 2019, 3:55 am

Great thread, by the way. I've been wondering about the same thing for a while.

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#24 Post by Mattstolz » December 24th, 2019, 6:12 am

I would love to see threads like this about all classic age-able wines. mostly because I do exactly what you do with Nebbiolo, Sarah, but I think it is probably singular in its ability to put on weight and color and completely change with that long slow ox. I have never seen this happen with an old pinot or cabernet, for example. but it has happened to me every time I open a Nebbiolo from the 80s or prior.

personally, I think my cutoff is even the same. 90s I will PnP and 80s or earlier gets a slow ox. But I typically don't decant them, just open them early morning and my taste is just to decide if I leave the cork out or stick it back in.

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#25 Post by john stimson » December 24th, 2019, 8:29 am

Matt--this happens repeatedly for me with older Rioja as well.

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#26 Post by Jayson Cohen » December 24th, 2019, 9:21 am

This is a great thread. I personally don’t think there’s an easy answer.

For example, we coincidentally drank a handful of Barolos from the 60s last week, double decanted between 3:30 and 6:30 for a 7:15-7:30 dinner, and there was tremendous evolution in the glass and uncorked bottle for all wines at the table that may have been missed if we had decanted even earlier. There were seeming mid-dinner mini-shut downs for 20-30 minutes even.

I do agree with the original proposition for young Barolo. But as another rough counter-example, when I tried Brovia’s 2013 Barolo 1.5-2 years ago, it was so much better on days 2 and 3 with plenty of air. I didn’t decant but the air in the open bottle was essential to this showing well young.

It’s so hard to tell with Nebbiolo.

On the original Q the transition vintage in the 80s isn’t so clear as a general matter although I agree that’s the right time frame to consider. Many 85s and 90s don’t shut down and haven’t for many years. While certain 82s, 88s, and 89s do. Wine by wine.
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#27 Post by Mattstolz » December 24th, 2019, 9:37 am

john stimson wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 8:29 am
Matt--this happens repeatedly for me with older Rioja as well.
I've only ever gotten a chance to try one bottle of old Rioja but that is exactly what happened now that you mention it. maybe not to the same degree as a 1970s Nebbiolo but definitely put on weight and fruit character with air.

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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#28 Post by R. Frankel » December 24th, 2019, 9:42 am

Doug Schulman wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 3:54 am
R. Frankel wrote:
December 21st, 2019, 3:26 pm
‘Strong approximation’ is the question, and I think the answer is no. For very young and tannic nebbs, I’ve found that decanting for 2 or 3, even 4 days can soften the wine enough so you can taste the fruit behind the tannin wall. But the rest of aging transformation doesn’t happen at least in my experience.
My experience is that in many cases, those wines shut down hard after a couple of hours in the decanter and never become as good as they were just after opening, no matter how long you wait.
Doug, agreed completely. I see this happen a lot with very young (under 5 years) Nebbiolo. Upon opening, interesting youthful smells/tastes. Within an hour or two (even without decanting), up comes the massive wall of tannin (recent example: 2016 Ca Nova Montefico). I pretty much never open Nebbiolo younger than 15 years old or so, though there is some vintage variation. I read about good experiences with 2009 and 2011 now, but I haven’t opened any. Right now I’m opening select 2004s, more 2001s, almost anything older. CT is super valuable for deciding if something might be ready.

By the way, different story for Langhe Rosso or Langhe Nebbiolo types - I tend to drink those young, and really like many. A good way to scratch the Nebbiolo itch while the Barolo/Barbaresco slumber.
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#29 Post by Michael O'Brien » December 24th, 2019, 11:32 am

Thanks for kicking off this thread. It is very timely for me. I have a very few bottles of 1947 Barolo Riserva I will likely open soon. Most of the rest of the Barolos I have are from the late 90s. This thread is covering the ground I needed covered.
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#30 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 24th, 2019, 1:26 pm

I'm glad people are finding the discussion useful. It's been thought provoking for me as well.

Personally, though I have seen other old wines improve with extended air, I have never seen a wine which I deem madeirized upon opening recover over hours open except Barolo and Barbaresco.
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#31 Post by Nathan V. » December 24th, 2019, 1:57 pm

So for the 1989 Brovia Rocche (a bottle I've owned since release imported by Neal with a cork only stained at the end) I decanted from a basket at 2:30, covered the top of the decanter and returned to the cellar. I re-canted back into the cleaned bottle at 4:30, re-corked and it is waiting in the cellar.

When you folks say you stand the bottle up and then take a taste aren't you stirring up sediment? If I do the stand-up rather than use a basket to decant (which is way better IMO) I go strait at it and will taste form the decanter before returning to the bottle. The whole point is that the sediment in nebbiolo is tricky and can change the experience of the wine.

I want someone to invent a basket with an LED light in the side so that decanting is super easy.
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Sarah Kirschbaum
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#32 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 24th, 2019, 2:11 pm

Nathan V. wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 1:57 pm


When you folks say you stand the bottle up and then take a taste aren't you stirring up sediment? If I do the stand-up rather than use a basket to decant (which is way better IMO) I go strait at it and will taste form the decanter before returning to the bottle. The whole point is that the sediment in nebbiolo is tricky and can change the experience of the wine.

I want someone to invent a basket with an LED light in the side so that decanting is super easy.
Not much if you do it carefully. I will stand old nebbiolo upright for 3-4 weeks before drinking. The sediment is firmly in the bottom of the bottle at that point - it often won't easily come out when I tip the empty bottle into the sink for washing out - and it takes only a very slight and gentle tip to get a small taste out. The slight disturbance isn't problematic to me, and I'd rather take that risk and have the majority of the sediment caked at the bottom than go the basket route where some is usually down the side. I can certainly see arguments for both, and have done both. This one works better for me. The process of decanting will stir up a tiny bit as well, no matter how careful you are.
Sort of ITB - my husband imports a small amount of sake and I help out

john stimson
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#33 Post by john stimson » December 24th, 2019, 2:14 pm

Nathan V. wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 1:57 pm
So for the 1989 Brovia Rocche (a bottle I've owned since release imported by Neal with a cork only stained at the end) I decanted from a basket at 2:30, covered the top of the decanter and returned to the cellar. I re-canted back into the cleaned bottle at 4:30, re-corked and it is waiting in the cellar.

When you folks say you stand the bottle up and then take a taste aren't you stirring up sediment? If I do the stand-up rather than use a basket to decant (which is way better IMO) I go strait at it and will taste form the decanter before returning to the bottle. The whole point is that the sediment in nebbiolo is tricky and can change the experience of the wine.

I want someone to invent a basket with an LED light in the side so that decanting is super easy.
I use a Pourvin professional light, which is an LED light that goes around the neck of the bottle.

Nathan Smyth
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#34 Post by Nathan Smyth » December 24th, 2019, 2:16 pm

I have a 1989 Brovia Rocche that I'm planning on drinking soon but I don't have a great idea how to treat it as it is a tweener.
Hold it until 2039, when it is in early middle age.

And then agonize about whether to open it.

Nathan Smyth
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#35 Post by Nathan Smyth » December 24th, 2019, 2:19 pm

Most of the rest of the Barolos I have are from the late 90s. This thread is covering the ground I needed covered.
I wouldn't touch a Barolo from the 1996/97/98/99 quartet before Thanksgiving of 2046/47/48/49.

And for many of the more famous labels, even that could still be infanticide.

Doug Schulman
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#36 Post by Doug Schulman » December 24th, 2019, 5:38 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 2:11 pm
Nathan V. wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 1:57 pm


When you folks say you stand the bottle up and then take a taste aren't you stirring up sediment? If I do the stand-up rather than use a basket to decant (which is way better IMO) I go strait at it and will taste form the decanter before returning to the bottle. The whole point is that the sediment in nebbiolo is tricky and can change the experience of the wine.

I want someone to invent a basket with an LED light in the side so that decanting is super easy.
Not much if you do it carefully. I will stand old nebbiolo upright for 3-4 weeks before drinking. The sediment is firmly in the bottom of the bottle at that point - it often won't easily come out when I tip the empty bottle into the sink for washing out - and it takes only a very slight and gentle tip to get a small taste out. The slight disturbance isn't problematic to me, and I'd rather take that risk and have the majority of the sediment caked at the bottom than go the basket route where some is usually down the side. I can certainly see arguments for both, and have done both. This one works better for me. The process of decanting will stir up a tiny bit as well, no matter how careful you are.
I'm in the decant fully and don't mess with it by tasting first camp. Some very fine sediment gets stirred up no matter how carefully I've tried to sample some first. I never try anymore. If the wine doesn't need/want air, it can go straight back into the bottle after being taken off the sediment. I agree about the basket vs. standing up, but I now rest wines at 45 degrees, and I've seen this work phenomenally well many times as long as they've rested that way for multiple weeks. I try to make sure the lower side was the bottom during aging. Don't get me wrong; your system obviously works to your liking, and I'm sure your old wines show well, or you'd be doing something else. I just like to go a different route.

Jayson Cohen
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#37 Post by Jayson Cohen » December 24th, 2019, 6:04 pm

Nathan V. wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 1:57 pm
So for the 1989 Brovia Rocche (a bottle I've owned since release imported by Neal with a cork only stained at the end) I decanted from a basket at 2:30, covered the top of the decanter and returned to the cellar. I re-canted back into the cleaned bottle at 4:30, re-corked and it is waiting in the cellar.

When you folks say you stand the bottle up and then take a taste aren't you stirring up sediment? If I do the stand-up rather than use a basket to decant (which is way better IMO) I go strait at it and will taste form the decanter before returning to the bottle. The whole point is that the sediment in nebbiolo is tricky and can change the experience of the wine.

I want someone to invent a basket with an LED light in the side so that decanting is super easy.
I decanted a ‘67 from a cradle last week. Bottle had been at ~35 deg angle to horizontal for about 4-5 months, and I maintained the angle while moving to a cradle. (I also move wines from horizontal to cradle with no problem.) The end of the cork was wet. Clear cranberry red. Sediment caked onto the side and about 1.25 inch left in bottle when the first signs of sediment appeared and I stopped decanting. The bottle had issues but not from sediment.

Tom G l a s g o w
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#38 Post by Tom G l a s g o w » December 24th, 2019, 6:14 pm

Doug Schulman wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 5:38 pm
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 2:11 pm
Nathan V. wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 1:57 pm


When you folks say you stand the bottle up and then take a taste aren't you stirring up sediment? If I do the stand-up rather than use a basket to decant (which is way better IMO) I go strait at it and will taste form the decanter before returning to the bottle. The whole point is that the sediment in nebbiolo is tricky and can change the experience of the wine.

I want someone to invent a basket with an LED light in the side so that decanting is super easy.
Not much if you do it carefully. I will stand old nebbiolo upright for 3-4 weeks before drinking. The sediment is firmly in the bottom of the bottle at that point - it often won't easily come out when I tip the empty bottle into the sink for washing out - and it takes only a very slight and gentle tip to get a small taste out. The slight disturbance isn't problematic to me, and I'd rather take that risk and have the majority of the sediment caked at the bottom than go the basket route where some is usually down the side. I can certainly see arguments for both, and have done both. This one works better for me. The process of decanting will stir up a tiny bit as well, no matter how careful you are.
I'm in the decant fully and don't mess with it by tasting first camp. Some very fine sediment gets stirred up no matter how carefully I've tried to sample some first. I never try anymore. If the wine doesn't need/want air, it can go straight back into the bottle after being taken off the sediment. I agree about the basket vs. standing up, but I now rest wines at 45 degrees, and I've seen this work phenomenally well many times as long as they've rested that way for multiple weeks. I try to make sure the lower side was the bottom during aging. Don't get me wrong; your system obviously works to your liking, and I'm sure your old wines show well, or you'd be doing something else. I just like to go a different route.
Why wouldn’t 30 degrees work better? Only kidding.

Sarah Kirschbaum
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#39 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 24th, 2019, 7:03 pm

Doug Schulman wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 5:38 pm
Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 2:11 pm
Nathan V. wrote:
December 24th, 2019, 1:57 pm


When you folks say you stand the bottle up and then take a taste aren't you stirring up sediment? If I do the stand-up rather than use a basket to decant (which is way better IMO) I go strait at it and will taste form the decanter before returning to the bottle. The whole point is that the sediment in nebbiolo is tricky and can change the experience of the wine.

I want someone to invent a basket with an LED light in the side so that decanting is super easy.
Not much if you do it carefully. I will stand old nebbiolo upright for 3-4 weeks before drinking. The sediment is firmly in the bottom of the bottle at that point - it often won't easily come out when I tip the empty bottle into the sink for washing out - and it takes only a very slight and gentle tip to get a small taste out. The slight disturbance isn't problematic to me, and I'd rather take that risk and have the majority of the sediment caked at the bottom than go the basket route where some is usually down the side. I can certainly see arguments for both, and have done both. This one works better for me. The process of decanting will stir up a tiny bit as well, no matter how careful you are.
I'm in the decant fully and don't mess with it by tasting first camp. Some very fine sediment gets stirred up no matter how carefully I've tried to sample some first. I never try anymore. If the wine doesn't need/want air, it can go straight back into the bottle after being taken off the sediment. I agree about the basket vs. standing up, but I now rest wines at 45 degrees, and I've seen this work phenomenally well many times as long as they've rested that way for multiple weeks. I try to make sure the lower side was the bottom during aging. Don't get me wrong; your system obviously works to your liking, and I'm sure your old wines show well, or you'd be doing something else. I just like to go a different route.
Yeah, sometimes I do, too. But sometimes I don't want that much air. Every time is a little different. :)
Sort of ITB - my husband imports a small amount of sake and I help out

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NoahR
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Re: What's Your Nebbiolo Cutoff Date?

#40 Post by NoahR » December 25th, 2019, 7:56 am

2006-8 for me. I don’t really enjoy young Nebbiolo unless it’s been open less than an hour and we chug the bottle. After that it’s a facef*%k of tannins and unpleasant. I think 96-04 need hours and hours personally, but I’m also holding those and relatively unlikely to drink them right now, exceptions maybe being a few Barbaresco and maybe La Morra.
Noah Raizman
Washington, DC

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