You’ve seen those fancy crystal decanters in restaurants and wine bars. Perhaps you own one yourself. Decanters, just like wine glasses, corkscrews, bottle stoppers and other wine accessories, are what make drinking wine so much fun.
Now, if you want to use the decanter properly, there are few things you should know. Here’s all you need to know about decanting wine, why decant it and when.
This is Decanting 101.
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What is a Decanter, anyway?
Decanter is a fancy name for a carafe, or any vessel used to decant wine. And by decanting, we mean separating the liquid from the solids that accumulate on the bottom of some bottles.
Of course, very few wine bottles have sediments, so few bottles need to be decanted. Only age-worthy bottles of red wine that spend many years undisturbed in a wine cellar shed deposits. These muddy particles are pigments, tannins and other solids that precipitate in rich and concentrated red wine.
Decanters Oxygenate Wine
Wine is a complex liquid made of sugars, acids and alcohols. And when in contact with oxygen, a whole lot of physical and chemical reactions are triggered. Aromas in wine ‘wake up’, and as we say in the trade, the wine opens.
When you pour wine into a decanter, it gets in contact with air, and it opens up, releasing its aromatic personality. Not all wines might need it, but most of them benefit from it, both young and old.
The good news is that aerating wine by pouring it into a wide decanter works with white, pink, red and even sparkling wine! All wines can benefit from some aeration.
When to Decant Wine?
- Decant wine when you have an old bottle with sediments. Pour slowly and leave the residue behind.
- Decant any wine that you feel it’s too ‘closed’ and inexpressive. It will open nicely.
- Decant young wine to make it even livelier and aromatic. You can even stir it a little.
- Decant wine to elevate its temperature a few degrees. It will warm up quickly.
- Decant wine to serve it without letting your guests see the bottle. Ideal for a blind tasting game.
- Decant wine to present at the table to give the occasion a more memorable feel because decanters look awesome!
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