Wine decanters are vessels made of glass and are used to serve wine. Decanting wine is a process of pouring the bottle’s content inside a decanter before consumption. Wine decanters are usually chilled before the decanting process, most especially if they will be consumed immediately.
Decanters could also be a serving utensil where the decanted wine will be served in individual wine glasses. Some special restaurants will pour the decanter’s content back to its original wine battle, which adds another visual presentation before taking a drink.
Why Do You Put Wine in a Decanter?
Decanting your wine is done for two meaningful reasons.
First, the decantation process also serves as a filtering method—wherein the clarified wine will be separated from the wine solids and sediments. These sediments called tannins typically have a bitter, astringent flavor that is unpleasant to some’s palette.
Store-brought wines tend to have bodies of tannins around the bottle. This buildup is natural, although its flavor could be offsetting—even for the wine connoisseur.
Before pouring the wine inside the decanter, make sure that the sediments are placed underneath the bottom. To ensure this, let the wine bottle sit on the countertop for one to two hours or until the sediments are piled back at the bottom of the bottle.
The second reason why wine decanting is useful—it improves the flavor and aroma of your bottled wine. Decanting introduces oxygen into the liquid, allowing the wine to “breathe.” Breathing occurs when the dormant flavors and aroma from the liquid are released through aeration.
The breathing process could last as quick as 5 minutes and as long as 4 hours, depending on the type of wine and flavor you aim for. To determine if your decanted wine is ready, you may do a quick taste test. If the taste has improved, you may serve it immediately.
If you leave the decanted wine for too long, it will lose its essential flavors and aroma, leaving it flat and tasteless.
How Long Can You Leave Wine in a Decanter?
Decanting your favorite wine to increase the complexity and fullness of its flavor. When you pour your wine bottle on a larger decanter, it allows the wine to breathe—releasing its dormant fruit and flower tones stored inside the liquor. It also decompresses the liquid from its tight packaging, making it smoother to drink.
The duration where your wine could stay depends on two variants: (1) the type of wine and (2) the type of decanter.
Full-bodied red wine containing higher levels of tannins should be decanted for longer periods. White wines, sparkling wines, and other wine-based cocktails could be decanted for only 10 minutes—just enough time for the liquid to absorb the chilled wine decanter’s temperature.
Aged-wine or wine stored in cellars for years does not necessarily need a longer decantation time. You can consume your decanted aged-wine within 5 minutes. This is because aged wines have already been aerated, and the decantation process is for the filtration process only.
Wine decanters with a wider base or large-sized decanters could fasten the “breathing” drinking wine process. By allowing oxygen particles to penetrate on a wide surface, it will fasten the process of aeration.
If you are unsure of the decantation process, you can do a controlled taste test. Collect a small shot of freshly-opened wine which will serve as a controlled subject. Start the process of wine decanting until the sediments are separated from the wine. Taste the wine every five minutes, and record the improvement in the scent, flavor, and texture. Once you’re satisfied, you can now enjoy your perfectly-decanted drink!
How Do You Pour Wine in a Decanter?
Pouring wine in a decanter could be challenging for first-timers. Before the decanting process, make sure that the bottled wine has been sitting for hours—to ensure that the sediments are placed underneath the bottle.
Sediments are commonly found on full-bodied wines and are not harmful for consumption. However, these sediments leave a bitter, astringent-like sensation on the entire tongue. Decanting your wine will surely eliminate these unwanted sediments in your liquor. If you can spot the sediments with your naked eye, you may consider the “flashlight technique.”
The flashlight technique involves the usage of the flashlight as the main light source. To do this, stand the flashlight near the decanter. Make sure that the light source is pointed near the neck of the bottle.
Steadily, pour the wine bottle’s content inside the decanter—without stopping. When you get to the middle part of the bottle, pour its content even slowly, ensuring that the liquid will not rush quickly on the decanter’s spout.
Once it reaches the bottom part, you will notice a darker hue of the wine. Before it reaches the endpoint of the neck, refrain from pouring and dispose of the sediment immediately. Sediments may appear cloudy or may look like specks of dust near the bottle’s neck.
If there’s no flashlight available, you may use a candle. Just make sure that it is not close enough to the bottle, prone to breaking and shattering.
What Is a Good Wine Decanter?
To fully enjoy the real taste of your wine, you must own a good wine decanter. Decanters may come from various base widths, neck length, and spout radius—suited for different types of wine. For some, decanting looks like transferring the bottled wine’s content on a larger bottle—without noticing its benefits.
Decanting wine introduces oxygen into your liquor, which aids in unlocking its dormant layers of flavor and aroma. It also hastens the process of “aging” the wine—by releasing tannins quickly. You can get a taste of a decade-old wine just by decanting your full-bodied red wine for 3 hours.
Use a standard-size wine decanter, which could be used on various wine types. Wine decanters with wider bases and spout could fasten the introduction of oxygen inside the drink. Smaller wine decanters work well for white wines and light-bodied wines or if you want to serve your drink quickly.