The lack of wine product reviews here lately hasn’t been intentional—blame can be laid squarely at the feet of our toddler, who has been keeping us busy with her daily growth spurts, emotionally-expressive freedom, and overall adorableness.
I was, however, afforded a rare opportunity to actually give a product sample a try, mostly because we felt the need to drink and the sample in question—Le Portteus’ Red Wine Decanter (about $49)—was both readily at hand and insanely useful in the moment.
The Le Portteus Decanter is probably misnamed, as we savvy wine types know that the occasional young white wine also benefits mightily from patient decanting. However, we will let that slide given what you get with this package: a hand-blown, lead-free crystal vessel that feels sturdy thanks to a thick and substantial profile; a fun, racquetball-shaped cork stopper; and a set of cleaning beads which are a must (Ever tried cleaning these things with a brush and/or rag? In the immortal words of Star Lord, “it sucks!”).
Anyway, this decanter came in handy when I cracked open another product sample: a very, very young stallion of a red from VML:
2019 Virginia Marie Lambrix VML San Remo Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley, $68)
This young buck from the San Remo vineyard sees 50% new French oak, and is nowhere near ready to be imbibed at full throttle. After 2+ hours of decanting, however, you start to get a feel for what this powerhouse has in store in a few years: dark cherries, wild strawberries, hints of rhubarb, notes of cedar and toast, and earthy savoriness. While it’s silky now, when the palate elements are woven together in greater accord (after a bit of bottle aging) this will be even more of a hedonistic delight.
The only thing missing with the Le Portteus is a drying stand, which you don’t really need if you’re patient. Speaking of being patient, this decanter allows for a nice, slow softening and opening up of younger wines due to its immense base, which gives a ton of surface area exposure for an entire 750ml bottle of vino. Why they picture the decanter filled to the near-brim with what must be well over two bottles of wine on the box is beyond me, since doing that would effectively nullify 80% or more of the purpose of using it (the decanter, not the box) in the first place. Whatever.
Anyway, given that you get almost everything you need for a decent decanting experience in this stylish and fairly-priced package, I’m giving it a solid thumb’s-up, field-tested recommendation to any of you who might be on the hunt for a new decanter to add to your arsenal.