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We’ve all been there. You pop open a bottle you had on a trip, or that a friend sang the praises of profusely, you have that first sip...and the wine falls flat.

“What happened?” you ask yourself, “this was sooooo good when we had it in Chile! I hope we didn’t accidentally get the wrong bottle!”

Rest assured, there’s a good and simple reason that the wine tastes so different: it never had a chance to breathe and develop the true flavors hidden by years under a cork.

We stress letting wine breathe a lot at Grand Cata. As an informal rule, we like to remind our patrons that even half an hour of being open can pay huge dividends for a wine. However, the ideal time is more like half a day, sometimes up to two or three!

We had the idea to write this piece because so many of us came back from Thanksgiving with a newfound appreciation for this simple, but slow, process. There is no substitute for time if you want the wine to evolve into it’s true self.

Remember, when we recommend a wine to you we do so based on the wine’s true attributes, the ones the wine only unleashes after it’s fully opened up. When you taste here or at a winery, the wine will have already been open and tasting as it should. We make it a point to be sure that wines we sample during our daily cata have had time to breathe.

Why does letting the wine breathe make such a difference? Without getting too into the nitty gritty details, the wine needs to come into contact with oxygen for certain flavors, aromas, and textures to activate. This process works slowly, especially if you don’t agitate the wine at all. While a decanter or aerator will make a difference, often a profound one, we cannot stress enough that there is just no substitute for time.

So, try to get into the habit of opening all of your wine well before you drink it. This applies to reds, whites, rosés, fortified wine, vermouth, even spirits and beer. We suggest a minimum of 30 minutes, so that at least the ball is rolling by the time you start drinking. However, shoot for more like 3 hours, and if you know the wine will get served, the night before.

Happy sipping! We promise your patience will pay off!

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