The Art of Decanting Wine

The ritual of using a wine decanter makes serving wine a celebration. The process of decanting wine is simply to move the wine from its bottle to another container before serving it. This practice is normally only done with red wines as white wine should be served chilled. The traditional method is to use a clear glass decanter with a narrow neck; for pouring the wine into; and a large base to allow for an increased surface area which accelerates the breathing process.

Why decant wine?

There are 3 main reasons to decant your red wines.

1.Aesthetics – decanting wine adds some theatrics to the evening and helps to create the perfect ambiance. When decanting wine for this reason leave the bottle and cork at the table so your guests can still observe them for more details about the wine.

2.Old wines – are most commonly decanted to remove the sediment from the bottom of the bottle before drinking. The formation of sediment in older wines is part of the natural aging process and usually occurs because of poor filtration or in most cases no filtration at all. Well sediment is not appealing to the eye and it has a bitter taste, it will not cause you any harm. Nor will it affect the wine in any way, in fact in most cases it will help to bring out the flavor of the wine during aging. Note: some older wines will dissipate with too much exposure to oxygen so drink these ones within half an hour of decanting.

3.Young wines – are not likely to contain sediment because in today’s market producers use more advanced filtration systems but they can still benefit from decanting. Since the market today demands most wines be ready to drink immediately after purchasing the aging process is normally accelerated. This often leaves young wines lacking in flavor. Decanting them and exposing them to oxygen creates a chemical reaction that allows the aromas and flavors to loosen up and become more vibrant.

The benefit of using decanters is still a great debate among connoisseurs, the English swear by it and the French tend not to use it at all. Decanting wine will at the very least add some theatrics to your evening.

Source of The Art of Decanting Wine by Valerie Kane – author of The Art of Decanting Wine article

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