How to + When to Decant Wine
To decant or not, that is a question most avid wine drinkers ponder when opening their favorite bottle. Decanting has been a part of historical practice within the wine culture dating back to the Venetians during the Renaissance period who brought to life the long skinny neck and wide bottom form to enhance wonderfully kept and produced wines! Although much of its appeal is within its stunning display, there is in fact a true rhyme and reason to its methodology!
Decanting, is a process used to ‘open up’ red wines and showcase a romantic way of presenting and drinking wine. Functionally, it allows the wine to aerate bringing out a wines flavors and softening any harsh acidity and/or tannins and removes the sediment from older red wines. Fashionably, it looks gorgeous and makes for a beautiful centerpiece. Lucky for us, it’s an easy process that should be valued versus viewed as a tedious practice.
How exactly does one decant? To start the process, gently pour the wine keeping the same side down as it was ‘aging’ in the bottle (if applicable), into the decanter to remove sediment. To be more effective and precise some hold a candle along the neck of the bottle while pouring to clearly see the lingering sediment. As the wine splashes into the decanter, oxygen mixes into the wine, which creates the process of oxidation. Finally, let the delicious wine rest, appreciate it’s beauty and wait a few minutes before pouring to enjoy. (tip: taste test before serving to ensure that the wine has been fully aerated. The wine will become easier to drink and really smooth.)
So when should one decant? Here are 3 main reasons when decanting should take place:
- Older vintage wines: Sediment is what collects over time in an older vintage wine. When transferring your bottled wine to your glass decanter, you leave behind the sediment thus the decanter to glass to mouth result is clarified and filtered.
- Full-bodied wines: Decant to let a young full-bodied wine ‘breathe’ so the wine’s magnificent aroma and taste can be enjoyed to its fullest. When the wine oxidizes, its distinct scents are released and the tannins become a bit softer which amplifies the entire ‘tasting’ experience and process – swirl, smell, slurp, taste, YUM!
- Entertaining: Your company will undoubtedly ‘ooh and ahh’ over what they are about to see and taste simply by its elegant presentation and smooth taste.