What is decanting?
Decanting wine is the process of pouring wine from the bottle into a different container for the purpose of letting an aged wine breathe or separate sediments before drinking. These containers are glass and look similar to vases, but with easy pour spouts.
How to decant wine
1. Let the bottle sit upright for a day or two before opening. This will allow the sediment to fall to the bottom of the bottle
2. Open the bottle of wine
3. Pour the wine slowly from the bottle into the decanter at a 45-degree angle
4. Leave 1/2 to 1 ounce of wine at the bottle if sediment has collected
5. Let sit for up to four hours before enjoying
What does decanting do?
- To separate sediment– Wines that have been cellared will often start collecting sediment. This sediment is a collection of acetic acid crystals, tannins, and other things that taste bitter. When properly decanted, this sediment will fall to the bottom of the bottle and anything leftover will fall to the bottom of the decanter.
- To let the wine breathe- Sitting in the decanter for a few hours will help to aerate older wines. Initial fumes will blow off and all of your favorite aromas of wine will come out.
- Presentation– Decanting is also a great way to present and showcase the wine. It is also easy to see how much is left.
Which wines need to be decanted?
All wines including white wines, old wines, young wines, rose wines, and dessert wines can benefit from being decanted for a few minutes or aerated while pouring, but it is not usually necessary.
Decanting has the most benefits for young and tannic red wines.
Examples: Bordeaux blends, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Barolo, Nebbiolo, Rhone blends
DO NOT decant sparkling wines. Sparkling wines will start to lose their carbonation just like soda starts to go flat.
Gadgets for decanting and aeration
- Wine Aerator- You can buy wine aerators that double as pour spouts at any liquor store or wine shop. This attaches to the neck of the bottle and aerates the wine as you pour it by exposing it to more surface area. This is perfect for older wines, white wines, or wines that you did not have time to decant.
- Wine Glasses– Don’t forget to have nice wine glasses to compliment and showcase the wine. Proper wine glasses, like the Riedel brand many sommeliers use, will showcase the wine properly through the correct shape of the crystal.
- Wine decanter or carafe- While wine aerators can do the drink most of the time, it is always a good idea to have wine decanter or carafe handy for special occasions, holidays, or to get younger wines ready to drink.