Decanting, when done correctly, can elevate your wine-drinking experience to a whole new level. But, what does decanting do to your wine? What’s the right way to do it? We’ve got all the answers.
What is Wine Decanting?
Decanting wine means slowly pouring the wine from its bottle into a different container, without disturbing the sediment at the bottom. You do this mainly to separate the sediment at the bottom of the bottle from the clear wine, and to aerate the wine before drinking it.
Removing the sediment that reaches the glass is especially apparent with older, ‘vintage’ wines. Unwanted sediment will accumulate in the bottle over time, mostly in red wines rather than white. Very occasionally, pieces of crumbling cork can also be found in wines, so removing these in the decanting process is also vitally important.
Decanters often have an easy-pour neck and come in all shapes and sizes. The most common shapes are swan, duck, cornett and the standard decanters which come in small, medium, and large sizes.
Benefits of Wine Decanting
Decanting has three main benefits:
- Sediment removal: Decanting is primarily used to separate the wine from the sediments that settle at the bottom of the bottle. Sediment is not harmful, but it tastes unpleasant. Sediment might also make some of the wine’s flavours taste duller.
- Aeration: When you pour the wine into a decanter, the liquid is introduced to oxygen, and various changes occur. Oxidation allows the wine’s aroma and flavour to open up making it a great tasting experience for wine drinkers!
- Removing broken cork pieces from the wine: If you notice that the cork has broken, slowly pouring the wine in a decanter will retain the cork pieces in the neck of the bottle.
How to Decant Wine
Decanting wine requires a light hand and some patience. Here’s how to go about it.
- If your bottle of wine has been stored horizontally, remove it from storage and sit it upright for a full day prior to decanting. This allows the sediment to settle at the bottom of the bottle.
- Open your new bottle of wine using a corkscrew.
- Very slowly, with a steady hand, pour from the bottle into the decanter and keep an eye on the clarity of the wine as it leaves the bottle and enters the neck of the decanter. The older the wine, the more likely it is that you’ll eventually see some sediment appearing and if, and when this occurs, stop pouring immediately. Ideally, this is where you should use a funnel to trap the sediment before entering the decanter.
- Allow the now-decanted wine to stand for 2 hours; this will allow the wine to reach room temperature, ideal for red wine.
Which Wines Need Decanting?
Most types of wine, from young to old, red to white, and even rosés, can be decanted. In fact, almost all wines benefit from a few seconds of decanting, if only for aeration. Young, strong red wines, on the other hand, require decanting because their tannins are more intense.
Wines that should absolutely be decanted include:
- Shiraz (Syrah)
- Cabernet Sauvignon
Decanting Without a Wine Decanter
You can easily decant wine without a decanter.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Use your wine glass: Swirling your wine in the glass is an effective and easy way to accelerate the oxidation process.
- Use a carafe: All you need to do is to pour the wine into another vessel so it can breathe. So, if you don’t have a wine decanter, a glass carafe will do the same job and enhance the wine’s aroma.
- Use a wine aerator: A wine aerator (like the Venturi wine aerator) is a little device through which you pour the wine into your wine glass. When the wine goes through the aerator, it is exposed to a stream of oxygen which increases its contact with the air.
- Use a blender: Blending wine might sound taboo to most wine lovers. Even though it is not the most careful decanting method, it works surprisingly well.
So there you have it. Everything you need to know about wine decanting. Decanting has become an essential part of the wine experience, and besides the extra flair it brings to the serving process, it’ll also take your drinking experience to the next level.
We have a wide range of wine decanters. But if we had to pick, these would be our favourites!
For the entertainer: Crystalex Xtra Wine Decanter 1400ml
For the artist: RCR Invino Wine Decanter 2l
For the traditional: Bee Glass Ship Decanter 1800ml
For the extravagant: Crane Crystal Roller Decanter 1800ml
For the ageless: RCR Timeless Wine Decanter 900ml