Decanting wine is a debated issue in the wine world. While some professionals don’t believe it is necessary, most (including the WineCollective team) support that the process does influence the wine’s taste, aroma and overall quality. For new-to-wine drinkers, decanting wine may appear complicated, “Should I decant this, or not?”
The truth is, all wine can be decanted – including whites and not just and old Bordeaux. There are two reasons to decant:
1. To separate the wine from sediment (common in older wines).
2. To allow oxygen to mix with wine (typical in younger wines).
During ageing, it is common for sediment to appear in the bottle. Sediment is also intentional, if a winemaker chooses not to fine or only lightly filters the wine. While sediment is not harmful, it can leave a bitter taste. To remove, position the bottle upright the day before you plan on serving the wine. This will gather all of the sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Slowly pour the wine into the decanter and stop pouring as soon as you see the sediment. You can do this directly prior to serving or up to half an hour before.
At times, younger wines need to decant for a long period of time in order for it to fully aerate. Leaving wine for an hour or so in a decanter will allow for more pleasant aromas and a more mellow alcohol taste. Again, slowly pour the wine into the decanter and let sit for some time. You can pour directly from the decanter since they make a nice addition to a table setting.
With that being said, when choosing a decanter stay away from trendy spiral or painted designs. While they look super cool, they are impractical to clean and you want to be able to see your wine clearly. We suggest one with a big base and wide-open mouth.
Depending where you shop (Wine Enthusiast has quite the selection) and the decanter’s size and fanciness, prices from $40 to $400. If you don’t normally decant your wine, give it a try and experiment with time. Learning and tasting the difference and effects of decanting wine is all part of expanding your wine knowledge.