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The Ultimate Source for Wine
Collecting, Cellaring and Serving

The Care and Opening of a Museum Wine

Our guest contributor Shannon Noble, rare & aged wine expert, reveals his top tips to help you ensure you serve and experience your vintage wines at their best.


Museum wines both white and red often form sediment or tartaric in the bottle which can dramatically affect the taste and clarity of a wine if not properly handled prior to opening and serving.

The difference is so dramatic that a glorious wine can appear corked, too old, musty, tainted and ruddy.

These guidelines have been developed over a 15yr period handling these types of wines and are shared with you to ensure maximum enjoyment from the wines you purchase from our museum cellar – It’s all about respect.

1. Always stand the wine upright in a cool space away from sunlight for a minimum of 24/48hrs prior to serving.

2. Keep the wine in an upright position when handling to open/uncork. Do not tilt it to read the label. The less movement the better.

3. Layout your wine opening tools, a decanter and some paper towel or quality serviettes near the wine or on a stable surface where there is ample light to open the wine.

4. Do not lift or tilt the bottle to open at any stage, remove the capsule and any wax, clean the cork with paper towel. Take care during this procedure as often the corks are very brittle and soft.

5. We recommend opening your wine with a Durand wine opener. Do not use a mechanical or scissor type opener.

6. After removing the cork clean the inside of the bottle neck, removing any dirt or small pieces of cork.

7. Decant the wine into your decanter as slowly as possible in one motion (preferably also using a fine metal sieve), taking care not to let the wine glug too much. Stop pouring as soon as you see fine sediment through the glass in the neck of the bottle or when 50mls remains.

8. You should now have a decanter of wine with lovely clarity and glistening colour, ready to be served or rested depending on your wine of choice.


Taking your museum wine to a restaurant

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If taking your Museum wine to a restaurant for a special occasion make arrangements to drop it off a couple of days before and ask them to store it upright in a cool place where it will not be moved or disturbed by anyone.

Be sure to also tell them you do not want the wine placed on its side in a wine fridge or wine rack as often this is where it will end up if not communicated clearly.

On the night we would recommend you ask the sommelier to take care when opening your wine as you do not want the sediment mixed through the wine.



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1. All Museum wines both white and red should be decanted.

2. Decanting a museum wine will allow your wine to freshen up and blow off any bottle stink which can build after many years in the bottle. It will also allow your wine to open and start to fill the room with its lovely fragrance.

3. White wines should be taken from the fridge and decanted for 30 minutes before serving. This will allow the wine to open and show its best. It will also allow the wine to rise in temperature so as to show all of its complexity. White wines served directly from the fridge will hide much of their fragrance and flavour while emphasizing the acidity.

4. Red wines should be decanted at room temperature (remembering this refers to European room temperature 15-18 degrees).

5. If decanting older more elegant wines such as red Burgundy we recommend a very short decant, basically pour the wine into the decanter and then pour immediately into your glass.

6. For more robust wines such as Barolo, Bordeaux, Cabernet, Shiraz we recommend a minimum 30mins in decanter before serving your wine.



Please note: These guidelines are indicative only and should not be considered rule – feel free to experiment and find out which ritual you enjoy most!


Posted by Shannon Noble

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Shannon Noble is the founder and co-owner of Rare Wine Dinners. Often referred to as Australia’s maestro of vintage wine with close to 20yrs experience, Shannon has a very extensive knowledge of, and experience with aged wine, its care, handling and serving. Shannon is also a collector and great enthusiast of all aged wines with a particular interest in German Riesling, Burgundy and Rioja. Shannon regularly travels around Australia to host and present some of the most amazing tastings and dinners with aged and rare wines from all over the world.
Other articles by Shannon Noble

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