How to Decant Wine the Right Way

Wines are pretty common nowadays, and they keep getting more and more popular in the last couple of years. There are even countries like France and Italy that are specialized in this area and currently rule the industry of this beverage around the world.

As you may already know there are different types of wines such as Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and many more. They differ in the matter of taste, aroma, flavor, and functionality.

We all know that wines need special treatment in order to keep their freshness, aroma and good taste. They can stay for ages if not opened. However, after opening the cork for the first time, their days are counted. Of course, you can extend the lifetime of your wine by putting the latter into a fridge or storing it steady inside some dark place with constant temperature.

And even though these are pretty efficient ways to store a bottle of wine, still, they would not remove the sediments that are produced inside the liquid sometime after opening the bottle.

That’s why wine decanters were created. You can see them in very different and creative shapes. They are usually made of glass or crystal and have the volume equivalent to a regular wine bottle, which on average is 0.75 liters. They play the role of a vessel, holding the liquid. Now let’s dive deeper and see why we even need those decanters.

The Purpose of Wine Decanter

Generally, wine decanters have two main reasons to be used for. Firstly, they help to separate and eventually throw off the sediment from the liquid. The sediments we talk about are not only bad for the color of the wine but they also significantly worsen the taste of it.

They are very bitter and unpleasant to try. After using a wine decanter, you can be ensured that the amount of wine sediments inside your wine is well-balanced and that from that time on, it’ll look brighter and taste much better.

If it’s possible, put your wine upright for a day, so the sediments can go down to the bottom. After decantation, you get a bottle of clean wine, which can now be served without any concerns.

The second reason why people should decant their wines is the aeration process wines get from it. As you pour the beverage into the wine decanter, the liquid immediately starts to contact with air, which directly affects the aroma, smell, flavor, and taste of your wine.

All of the mentioned attributes get a lot better after decantation. It’s also good to know that full-bodied and highly tannic wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet blends, Syrah, and Syrah blends benefit most from this method of keeping the wine’s freshness.

White wines are not really exceptions when we talk about decanting wines. Of course, red wines benefit a lot more, as they have more sediments.

However, it turns out that the white wines can also get a little better while decanting, and even though many people consider the decantation of white wines meaningless, still, the results come out to be quite impressive. Here are two examples of how decantation can benefit the white wine.

Temperature – White wines are preferable for consuming once they are cold. If decanted, they will go down to their ideal temperature, but make sure not to keep it there for too long.

Tightness – As the red wines, white ones can also relief tightness. A little contact with the oxygen can expose enough space for the aroma to refresh. White wines, in general, are not that tight. They are way lighter, clearer and easier to digest.

If your white wine is not old, then you probably don’t even need to decant it. The beverage will just taste better in that way. If it’s older, then you can think of decantation, but keep in mind not to hold it inside the wine decanter for more than an hour. It takes less time for the white wine to fully decanter than for the red one.

Despite all the good effects the oxygen contact brings, you must make sure not to hold the wine in the open air for too long. The oxygen can also flatten the taste if their contact remains still for too long, so be careful on that part.

There is also the fact of age proportion here. If your wine is old and has the age of about 15 years or more, then you should not leave your wine in the decanter for more than 30 minutes. Otherwise, it will start spoiling and become undrinkable.

However, if you have a bottle of a new, full-bodied wine, then you can confidently keep it inside the decanter for about an hour or a little more before serving.

The younger beverage will take all the goods of decantation and refresh its taste and aroma. Still, make sure you don’t leave them there for a couple of hours. They may look good at the end of it, but their taste will not be as good as it should have been.

Red wine pouring in decanter

How to use a wine decanter?

You should be very attentive and careful while choosing a wine decanter. There are some essential factors you need to know about, so let’s bullet list all of them apart and review each one from there.

Cleanliness – The first and most important thing to do is getting a clean decanter. Make sure to wash and dry it before using. You don’t want any dust or harmful bacteria to get into your beverage. Spoiled wine may not only harm the taste of the wine but also affect your wellness too. Note, you must not wash it with detergent. Instead, use a mixture of ice and coarse salt. Leave it to open air for drying.

Glass/Crystal – Your wine decanter has to be made of glass or crystal. Comparably, glass is way cheaper and more transparent than crystal, so we’ll highly recommend you using glass unless, of course, you are a luxury lover. The transparency allows you to see through the decanter and check the wine color, as well as its quality. Generally, avoid colored decanters, they may rotten the wine and dramatically worsen its taste.

Smoothness/Thinness – Make sure your decanter is smooth and thin. Those two attributes guarantee that what you see inside the decanter is the liquid itself, not some sort of optical illusion that confuses your brain. Also, it’ll improve your observing experience and give you the real outcome.

After reviewing all the attributes required for good decanting, let’s jump into the instructions. The steps are quite easy to follow, you just need to be careful while doing them, so the wine wouldn’t spill off.

Before rushing to put your wine right after buying it, take a moment and as yourself if you really need to decant it. If you are unsure, read until the end of the article, and you will get informed about whether your wine needs decantation or not. If your answer is yes, then go on and pour the wine into the decanter.

You can use a funnel, which will not allow any of beverage to spill out and create discomfort. Allow the wine to breathe for at least 40 minutes. The flavor will enhance over the course of several hours.

After decantation, pure the wine back to the glasses. If you have guests that would have liked to taste your wine, fill them with small portions, so they could notice the taste change as the time passes.

More: How to Stop Fermentation in Wine

When to Decant Wine?

The most difficult part of decanting wine is to know whether you actually need to do it or not.

If you got a young wine with high tannic, like Cabernet or Syrah, then we would highly recommend to decant it for an hour or a little more. The decantation of young wine makes the tannin less abrasive, which in its turn results to smoother wine with better flavor and aroma. It’ll feel like a brand new bottle you opened just a couple of seconds ago.

If you have a wine that is pretty old, then you need to be careful with it, not letting the wine to contact oxygen for more than 25 minutes. If it does, the liquid will start spoiling and worsening. The taste will actually flatten instead of improving, and you’ll lose your wine entirely. Older the wine is, more care it needs, so keep that in mind.

You have to remember that some old wines don’t need to be decanted, especially if the latter is not stored properly. If their temperature, stability, inner air, and surface area were not measured well before, your wine is already worsened than what it was used to be.

In case of opening that bottle and pouring it out to the decanter, the wine will contact more oxygen which will rapidly rotten the aroma and taste of the beverage.

How to Decant Wine without a Decanter?

What if you don’t have a decanter at the moment? What then? Nothing to worry about. Of course, it would be nice to have a decanter, as it looks better and is classy like wine, but there are alternatives you can use instead of the original wine decanter.

Wine glasses – This option is pretty common. You have probably seen it being used during events or different kind of ceremonies when about 50 glasses of wine are filled and put on the table before people could even get inside. It works quite fine, you just need to find good-looking and elegant wine glass for that, like Rastal Teku, Schott Zwiesel Tritan or Riedel Vinum.

Pan – Yes. It can actually work but make sure to clean it before. It shouldn’t contain any tiny pieces from your previous meal. Otherwise, it’ll worsen the wine and spoil it at the end. The thing is that a pan is wide and can do the job for the surface area needed for the liquid to contact the oxygen, giving the exposure. However, the problem here would have been the process of pouring out the decanted wine of the pan. Even with a funnel, it will be very difficult not to spill out a bit of the wine.

Vase – It turns out vases can not only serve flowers. They are very similar to the decanters with their shape and in many cases, circumference, enabling the wine to aerate as well as it would with an original decanter.

Blender – Now that’s a funny one. A blender? Yes, no matter how surprised and unconvinced you are right now, blenders indeed can be a good alternative for decanters. You can blend the wine and as a result, it’ll expose itself to air and do the job. 20 – 45 seconds is enough time for your beverage to decant. An amazing option especially if you are hurrying.

“Conclusion”

Decant wines have become quite a thing in the past few years. Many people seem to like that version of wine, and some don’t even drink without decanting it first. It’s a state of fine wine that makes a lot of difference for some individuals. And there are some who just love the color and physical visibility of their favorite beverage.

Besides, the wine looks pretty classy and elegant inside the decanter. People use decanters on different occasions. They are commonly used during business meetings, family evenings, parties, and dates. It brings special value to the table, while also refreshing and warming the atmosphere.

What is more, the wine decanters can have different shapes. You can have your very own decanter that you know doesn’t exist anywhere else. There are also famous and high-quality decanters like, Le Chateau, Sempli Vaso-Vino, Ravenscroft Crystal Pinnacle.

For an instance, Stemless Fountain Aerating Wine Glass has an incredible design, having a fountain inside the decanter. There are also different types of decanters such as swan, cornett, duck, and standard, so pick the on you like the most.

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