The question “Should I decant wine?” is all too familiar and often goes unanswered. However, we are here to help you find the answer to this baffling wine topic. Under our helpful’ how wine works’ blogs, we aim to help you with your wine tasting experience, making it an enjoyable and memorable occasion.
Why should wine be decanted?
Decanting wines is the best way to ensure you enjoy wine to its fullest. Today, some wines do not need decanting as they have been thoroughly clarified during the winemaking process; however, other wines benefit from decanting.
Typically speaking, these are wines that have aged in bottle. This would generally be red varieties where sediment is often present, and the aim is to separate the wine from its sediment. If these wines are not appropriately decanted, they often leave an unpleasant taste on the palate and occasionally displeasing on the eye. Decanting also allows air into the wine, releasing the complex aromas. If wines deteriorate after decanting (and have not been over decanted), this is a sign the wine is corked.
Younger wines also benefit from decanting by allowing the wine to breathe and increase oxygenation. This encourages a wine’s flavour to develop, opens up aromas and softens the ‘youthful bite’.
Finally, the presentation of wine in a crystal glass decanter adds to any table setting, creating a delightful ambience, something which is not as easily achieved with a bottle of wine placed on a table.
How far ahead do I decant my wine? How do I decant old/young wines?
In most cases, you want to get air into the wine. For young red wines, this can be from half an hour to three hours before consumption. Old wines, however, do generally not need to be decanted for as long and can usually be decanted just before consumption.
Older wines occasionally oxidise far more quickly when released from the bottle, which is why this last sentence is vital to understand. Not all old wines will oxidise quickly, but you must realise that they may, which is why we recommend an occasional check on the decanter once the wine has been decanted. The secret is to drink the wine at its optimum flavour and aroma peak before it begins to recede from the effects of oxidisation.
It is important to remember that you can always let wine develop in your glass. However, you cannot reverse a wine back to its original state if it has been over decanted.
If you are decanting old wine, pour slowly into the wine decanter without letting any sediment leave the bottle. Alternatively, if you are decanting young wine, pour the bottle directly into the decanter. The ‘splashing’ into the vessel will help promote oxygenation.
How will decanting wine enhance the wine tasting experience?
Decanting wine reduces the amount of carbon dioxide and matures the wine. This allows the bouquet and flavours to develop faster. Once red wine has decanted, the levels and complexity of fruit flavours are released to their full potential.
Are you not convinced?
Try the following exercise if you are still unsure about the benefits of decanting wine. Using identical wine glasses, decant half of your chosen bottle of wine and serve the other half directly from the bottle. Taste and draw your own conclusion.
Suggested wine decanters
If you’re looking for a practical and long-lasting wine decanter, we can help you. The following wine decanters are our most requested and most popular designs.
This unique wine decanter from renowned glassmakers Eisch Glas will prevent those dreaded red wine stains on your tablecloth. The special no drop effect treatment is guaranteed on the rim of the decanter; the ergonomic design allows you to pour the contents easily and is the best option for oxidising your red wines.
Smooth, stylish and sleek are the first words that spring to mind when you see the Riedel Ultra Magnum Wine Decanter. It’s convenient and perfect for decanting wine. It adds a classic look to any table and holds up to 2L of your favourite red wine.
Do you own a wine decanter? And if so, how often do you use it? Let us know your thoughts on wine decanting and any tips you have learnt along the way. After all, wine tasting is an experience to be enjoyed and shared.