Tag Archives: Hugh Johnson

Does Wine Need to Breathe?

ALL OF US who love wine will have had the same experience. We open a bottle, it doesn’t impress us at first, but as the meal goes on it seems to wake up, so that by the time we’ve finished the bottle we are astonished at how good it is. “How the wine has opened up” we say, assuming that it’s the contact with the air that has released those previously hidden aromas. Some of us will even decant any red wines that are more than a few years old in the hope of getting the aeration done from the start.

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My Approach to Enjoying Wine

Attentive readers of this column will have noticed a philosophy of wine appreciation emerging. When I started writing I didn’t know I had such a thing, but that’s part of the joy of writing: it forces you to decide where you stand. So here is my advice to someone interested in getting more out of drinking wine than they do at the moment.

I think this is wine
Teach yourself. Your preferences are unique to you and they can never be wrong. Forget the scoring systems that give one wine 92 points and another 93. A wine can’t be better than another in the way one washing machine is better than another. Forget the tasting notes, where one expert finds notes of bramble and over-ripe fig while another finds, in the same wine, tobacco and chocolate. Ask just two questions: do I like it and does it have enough character for me to recognise it again? Which leads to the second piece of advice:
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