Wine Decanters

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Decanting wine is a hotly debated topic in the wine world. The idea behind decanting is that when wine is exposed to air, it lets the aine breathe which helps you get the most out of your wine.

One of the main questions around decanting wine is what the difference is between removing the cork and decanting. Don鈥檛 they both let the wine breathe?

The issue is with surface area here. Just opening a bottle only exposes the top of the bottle to oxygen. If a wine is decanted, the act of pouring the wine and the larger surface area in the decanter helps the wine get exposed to more air. When some of the wine is then poured in your glass, swirled around, it gets exposed to even more air.

decanting wine, how to decant wine

When Should You Decant Wine?

The truth is that any wine can be decanted. A fine Bordeaux wine that is ready to drink ought to be decanted as much as a young red wine. The only difference is why they ought to be decanted.

Some wines are not filtered or are only lightly filtered. This process can leave some sediment behind which sinks to the bottom of the bottle. This is perfectly normal, and actually is a good thing. It means that the flavors have remained in the wine. Some of the best wines I have enjoyed had sediment in them.

You will usually find sediment in great Bordeaux (Chateaux) wines that are aged at least 10 years, California Cabernet Sauvignon that is older than eight years and vintage Port that is 10 years or older.

I鈥檝e also found sediment in Spatburgunder, big, bold Syrah and Barolo wine.

What Wines Should聽Not聽Be Decanted?

Wines that are 25 years or older should not be decanted. The flavors and aromas tend to be very fragile in these wines, so you want to preserve those as much as possible. Just open these and enjoy.

How To Go About Decanting Wine

What you will need:

  • Knife to remove capsule
  • Candle or flashlight
  • wine Decanter
  1. Remove the whole capsule from the neck. You are going to have to watch the wine travel through here.
  2. Light the candle or position the flashlight in such a way that you will be able to see the wine pass through the neck. This light gives you added illumination.
  3. Hold the decanter in one hand, your bottle of red wine in the other.
  4. Gently pour the wine into the decanter. You can put the decanter on an angle and let the red wine slide down the side of the decanter. Make sure that you are holding both the bottle and the decanter over your candle or flashlight so you can see the wine pass through the neck of the bottle.
  5. Keep slowly pouring until you see the first signs of sediment. Once you see this, stop pouring. If there is a large amount of wine still in the bottle, let it stand so the sediment settles. Then continue decanting.

How Long Should A Wine Sit And Breathe?

decanting wine, how to decant wine

For most wines, pouring into the decanter and then into a glass is sufficient. Big, bold wines like Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino can benefit from a little bit longer time in the decanter.

The great thing about is that you can experiment while decanting wine. Try a little glass directly after pouring. If you think it needs time to breathe more, let it sit. Try it again in 15 minutes.

Recommended Decanters

Personally, I prefer decanters with a large base. These give the wine a lot of surface area and therefore aerates faster. The great thing is that this style of decanter is not very expensive either. You can find a good decanter between $20 - $40.