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Why and How to Decant Wine

Posting date: 1st March 2007 16:50

Three Reasons for Decanting Wine

  • Old wines that have been cellared properly will contain sediment due to the aging process. By properly decanting the wine, the sediment will remain in the bottle.
  • Young full-bodied red wines can benefit from decanting. When the wine comes in contact with oxygen, the aromas present in the wine are released. The decanter in this case should be a wide bottomed decanter. Wide body decanters provide more surface area for oxygen to allow aromas from the wine to be released. It should be noted that simply removing the cork from a bottle to let a wine "breath" accomplishes very little as the surface area of the wine in contact wiht the air is so small.
  • The presentation of wine in a beautiful crystal decanter adds to the ambience of a beautifully set table and prepared dinner.

How to Decant Aged Wine

For old wines with sediment one needs to be very diligent about pouring the wine into a decanter. First, stand the bottle up for several hours to allow the sediment to settle at the bottom. Fine sediment will take longer to settle to the bottom of the bottle. When in a hurry, and with fine wine you never should be, you can also pour the wine by keeping the same side facing down as it was in your wine rack.

Use a lit candle or lamp. Hold the bottle of wine so that the area just below the neck of the wine bottle can be seen through the light while pouring. Ever so slowly begin pouring the aged wine into the decanter. Be patient. Hold the bottle as much as possible perpendicular to the candle. As the last one-third of the wine is poured, carefully watch for sediment. Stop pouring when any sediment appears in the neck of the bottle.

How to Decant Young Red Wine

For young red wines, splash the wine into the decanter. The more it splashes into the decanter, the more it comes in contact with oxygen. Let the wine settle and rest for a short time. You should note than when in contact with air the oxidation process is taking place, a little of which will alter the flavour of the wine for the better. A lot oxidation will create more and more vinegar, steadily overpowering any nice flavours the wine had.

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18 Sep 2019