Basic Decanter

All About Decanting Wine

The idea of decanting wine makes it seem complicated and way too fancy. How do you know what to decant? How long do you do it for? The whole idea of it can be very confusing!

But it’s much simpler thank you may think and a lot of it is about preferences!

 

What is decanting?Decanting wine

Decanting is where you allow the wine to mingle with a large amount of air to accomplish three things:  Evaporation, Oxidation, & Sediment Separation.

When a bottle of wine has been aged or cellared, there are many different chemicals changes that happen in a wine during storage. Allowing wine to mingle with oxygen causes evaporation of some of the unpleasant and “sharp” compounds that the wine might have developed.

Also, since the wine has been confined for so long, allowing air to mingle with the wine allows it to open and breathe. It will soften tannins allowing you to taste more of the wine, rather than just the tannins which can, at times, be a little too sharp. This allows the complexity of a wine to really stand out. This little bit of oxidation is key to developing the wine!

In regards to sediment separation, older wines can develop sediment, which can cause a gritty type texture and make it less appealing in texture. Decanting these older wines will help separate this sediment.

 

How to decant?

There are some really fun ways to decant. I have a couple tools that I have tried. Which I use tends to depend on the number of people I plan on sharing the bottle.

 

Small Aerators

Small Aerators are super handy and can give a wine a quick aeration. There are ones that you can stick into the end of bottle, ones you can hold above your glass and pour into, or even ones that have a built in stand!

Here are a couple examples of ones that I have in my personal collection.

Wine Aerator Pourer
Wine Aerator Pourer
Wine Aerator Pour into
Wine Aerator Pour Into

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROS

  • Perfect for when I am only having a glass or two
  • Aren’t as breakable as a large decanter
  • Incredibly easy to use
  • They are super quick

CONS

  • They vary on degrees to which they aerate the wine
  • They aren’t as gorgeous as having a beautiful decanter sitting out

At no extra cost to you, this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase from one of my recommendations, it allows me to make a small commission from of providing you relevant information.

 

Decanters

There are so many gorgeous decanters out there. They make a gorgeous piece of art at a party when set out on the table.

Here are two that are in my personal collection.

Decanting Wine Decanter
Decanter Le Chateau
Basic Decanter
Basic Decanter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROS

  • They allow for wine to be aerated evenly
  • They allow for a larger amount of wine to be aerated

CONS

  • They can be hard to clean
  • It takes time to full open up the wine
  • They are breakable

 

Dumping

Dumping is simply the process of dumping a bottle of wine from one large glass, pitcher, or vase into another a couple of times and then into the stemware.

PROS

  • Cheapest method!
  • Super quick

CONS

  • Not an appealing presentation
  • Can over aerate a wine

 

When & what should you decant?

Red Wines – The basic consensus is that the bolder the wine, the more time it should have to decant. This would be wines like Malbec, Shiraz/Syrah, Cabernets, and such.

White Wines – Some people say that white wines doesn’t need any decanting and that it can dilute the bright flavors that we tend to associate with whites. Others say that it makes whites more complex and mellows the harshness that white wines can have.

Sparkling Wines – Never decant. That is a universal agreed upon fact with decanting.

Decanting wine is still a much debated practice with wine professionals. That’s why it’s all about preferences. Try both! Straight from the bottle to your glass or with a little air!

 

Quick Decanting Tips

If you open a glass of wine and it isn’t quite developed enough and tastes muted, try using a small aerator and pouring just a small amount and see if it improves the bottle more to your liking. If the initial taste of the wine appeals to you, drink it the way it is and skip the decanting! It’s about what you like!

Decanting is basically a wait and see kind of game.

The best advice that I can give you, especially if you are new to decanting, is to start small and take your time, and do it with a couple of friends to debate what each of you like. Pour it into a decanter and pour a small glass every 30 minutes. Take your time and explore when you feel the wine is at it’s prime. Do this a couple times with a couple different wines and your palette will really start to develop!

 

Again, it’s all about preference. Find what you like!

 

Happy Wine-ing!

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  • Mark

    Personally i love the look of a decanter and I feel it adds to the presentation of the wine at a dinner party. It also helps to de-badge a wine. Sometimes you find a decent supermarket wine and you may want to hide the label and have the product appear to be better quality than the label would suggest. I have never tried decanting white wine and always thought that white did not need to breathe as much. Do you have a preference or does it depend on the wine for you? I love a deep full flavor red and I feel it really does need to breathe to get rid of the Tannin. I do not like the sharp taste and often get a headache when drinking red wine. This is why I enjoyed reading your article about natural wines earlier today. Thanks again for an interesting post. Mark

    • admin

      Decanting wine is not a science and is all about preference! If you aren’t sure about white, you should try it and decide if you like it! 

  • Steve

    Thanks for this post about decanting wine. I found it incredibly informative and now realize how important it is to enjoying the bottle. For Christmas, my father-in-law got us one of the small decanters that goes on the actual wine bottle. I don’t think it is one that you featured. It has more of a bulb shape in the middle. Know anything about those? My wife is pregnant, so we haven’t had the opportunity to try it out yet, but the time will soon come! Thanks again!

    • admin

      I have heard of those! They are amazing! I will get one of those and provide a review on it some time in the near future! And CONGRATS! 

  • Lawrence

    Wonderful post. I have learnt a lot! Thank you!

    Obviously I knew about decanting before, but I’d never really looked into it in such detail. I just knew that the taste is a lot better after decanting.

    I’d never come across the small aerators before. They are quite cute to be honest. But I probably will not go for them as my partner and I generally finish a bottle over the course of the night.

    I love the Decanter Le Chateau. Looks very classy and beautiful!

    • admin

      Even if you finish a bottle of wine in one night, try a small hand aerator and see if you notice a difference! Thanks for stopping by! 

  • Micheal N

    This an awesome article for those of us who just drunk down anything but could not feel the wine. I had heard of decanting wine as a way to give it a real taste and a feel as you drunk it. I thought it was a complex process but you made it simple. Thank you. Where do we buy  the decanters?

  • PrettySophia

    Hi, thanks for sharing this amazing article on all about decanting wine . I have no idea that they do decant wine or wine can be decanted until I read your article. This article is very informative and educative. But I have a question, please if will don’t decant the wine before drinking it, does it have side effect on health. Thanks for sharing once again.

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