Does All Wine Benefit from Decanting?
Decanting simply means pouring wine out of its original bottle into a larger container. The decanter is usually made of glass or crystal and is shaped to allow oxygen to easily mix with the wine. A great many wines benefit from decanting; however, some wines can be ruined by it.
Reasons to Decant
There is more than one reason to decant a wine. One good reason is to remove any sediment from the wine. Sediment collects at the bottom of wine bottles and is common especially in older aged red wines. A second reason to decant wine is to “open up” or allow air to mix with younger wines to improve its flavor. And third, it looks nice in a fancy container, you dress it up a bit and improve its presentation.
Don’t Lose Your Bubbles
As mentioned, there are some wines that don’t benefit by decanting. The best example would be a sparkling white wine. Never decant a sparkling wine as the bubbles are the main event. No one likes flat champagne. Regular white wines are more sensitive to oxygen exposure than red wine and therefore are rarely decanted. Whites are also served cold, and even kept cold at the table by an ice chest or cooler. The wide based decanters are obviously awkward containers to keep anything cold in.
The Most Dramatic Differences
The most dramatic differences, and the best use of a decanter is when they are used with new or young wine. You’ve probably heard the expression “let it breath”, that’s when someone opens a new red and waits some time before pouring it. It’s all about the interaction of wine with oxygen. A test to see if a wine would do well if decanted can be preformed simply by leaving a half glass of wine out for an hour, pour a second glass and compare. If the wine that’s been out longer tastes better, then you know decanting can improve that wine. At the very least you’ll have fun experimenting.
Drinking Wine That’s Too Young
Decanting can bring out the best in complex reds but rarely improves white wine. If you make red wine from kits at The Wine Cellar in Kitchener, Ontario and you can’t wait the recommended six moths of aging, then try decanting your young wine.
Did you know? … The Wine Cellar offers Hungarian Oak cask ageing for added flavor to your home and store made wines.