The Art of de Cant

I’ve never been a big “decanter.”  I mean that as loosely as possible; I literally don’t own a decanter.  But my recent experience has me thinking of making a purchase.  I opened a bottle of 2006 Bonterra Syrah.  It probably should have been opened a while ago honestly.  It’s been collecting a little dust in my mom’s wine collection.  But, hey, that’s what she brings me home for.  So, voila! Daytime vacation drinking!  I’m drinking while typing, so this should make for a good post… 

The Bonterra Syrah is an organic wine from Menodcino country in California.  I don’t actually know much about the organic wine process, so I’m trying to learn.  To be organic, at least in the United States, the grapes and vineyard must both be certified Organic.  But again, what does that mean?  Firstly, no use of harmful pesticides.  There are many ways of irrigating to avoid or reduce harmful pests from vines.  For example– planting roses around the edges of a vineyard!  Beautiful AND they attract pests that are also attracted to grapes.  Win win!  Secondly, to be certified organic, a wine devoid of any added sulfites. It may have naturally occurring sulfites, but the total sulfite level must be less than 20 parts per million.  Sulfite or sulfur dioxide is used as a preservative in wines. It has strong antimicrobial properties and some antioxidant properties.   It’s also, apparently, what causes red wine hangovers for much of the population!  So there’s an extra vote for Organic wine!

Moving on, I decanted it!  Why?  When I took the first sip, it was tart and had a stingy kind of taste. One that might make me think it was past its prime. But rarely is that actually the case for good wine.  Oxidized wine? The stuff you’ve left open on your counter for a week? Yeah, that’s vinegar- toss it.  But bottled?  No, it’s probably still good and you’re not drinking it correctly.  So, try it again.  Wait a few minutes (like 10, people, not 1) OR… for those bolder types, pour it into something that exposes it to air.  When it “aerates” (interacts with air) the flavors typically become a bit more cohesive and in my humble opinion, a little more delicious. Smoother and gentler- as in, not harsh or tart- at the finish.  So I used a pretty ineffectual decanter type- really more of a vase. But it DID expose more of it to air!

And… I liked the second taste MUCH more!  (success? or luck.  Either way, it’s a win!)

Taste: Very fruity, nicely balanced, not too acidic.  Plum like whoa with a little blackberry.

Texture: I LOVED the texture.  I was distracted by the tart taste at first, but on the second taste, I was much more into this wine’s body.  It’s long- tasty from start to finish, not much sandpaper on the tongue, but the taste lasted because there was a syrup-thick texture that held onto the fruit.   I liked that a lot!  The thick texture was partly due to a long aging process in oak and I could see that by looking at its legs.

Color: Beautiful- dark garnet, almost purple-y.  Age + soil/sediment gives the color and it was yummy looking.  If that’s a thing.

Pairing: It was a delicious afternoon treat all on its own.   I would not detract from it with fish or salad- complement it instead with meat (lamb or beef especially) or have it on its own.

JuliaUncorked says: 8.5/10.  I really enjoyed this- the price point might be a little top heavy- I saw it for $14, but also at $11 and there’s no reason not to buy below $12!  It’s solid!

Happy drinking!

Southeast Massachusetts Program Director, The Nature Conservancy, Boston, MA

The Southeast Massachusetts (SEMA) Program Director oversees the landscape conservation efforts of The Nature Conservancy in the lands and waters of Southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and the Islands. S/He closely collaborates with Chapter staff to implement successful terrestrial, marine and aquatic protection, restoration, and policy strategies and projects. The Southeast Massachusetts Program Director works closely with government agencies, NGOs, local communities and other partners to direct public and private resources, formulate public policy approaches, build consensus on priorities and strategies and long-term support for conservation. The SEMA Program Director ensures that conservation efforts are aligned with both the Conservancy’s Integrated Landscape Plans and the Massachusetts Chapter Strategic Plan, and proactively works with staff across the Chapter to advance priority strategies. Basic Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in public policy, biology, natural resources management or related field and five to seven years related work experience; Negotiation skills and the ability to simultaneously manage multiple priorities and work under pressure with flexibility; Supervisory experience; Successful experience in partnership development; political savvy.  To apply to this position, please submit resume and cover letter as one document. All applications must be submitted in the system prior to 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on December 30, 2010. For more information, visit

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