Decanting is simply pouring wine from the bottle into another container.

Decanting wine can have a major impact on how a wine shows

There are two reasons to decant a wine:

To separate the wine from any sediment it may have deposited;

To expose the wine to more oxygen in order to get it to “open up” or become more expressive.

With older wines that have thrown significant sediment I almost always decant the wine, off the sediment, then rinsing the bottle clean before returning to the wine to its original bottle.

  • While this sounds like a lot of work for little gain, there are 2 good reasons for returning the wine to its original bottle:The first is so you know which wine is which. Sounds pretty obvious, I know.
  • The second reason to return the wine to its original bottle it to limit the amount of air a wine encounters. While allowing a wine to breathe can greatly enhance its perfumes.

You’ll find that many decanters are quite wide, providing for a large surface area that exposes the wine to a lot of oxygen. This is particularly good for quickening up the process that allows a young wine to breathe, but it’s not so good for older wines that also need oxygen, but at a much slower rate. The rather narrow and even sides of a wine bottle happen to be perfect for the slow oxygenation that allows older wines to slowly reach their apogee.

In fact, many wine lover goes by the slow oxygenation method of allowing a wine to breath for hours without decanting it.  The technique revolves around popping the cork on a bottle, then pouring off a bit of wine to help increase the surface area of wine exposed to air a bit, then letting the bottle sit and wait 6, 10, even 12 hours or longer.

Don’t you think.. some of the fun of drinking wine is watching it open in the glass and transform from a hard, tough old bird into a majestic wine that soars..??

Whatever works for you is the right method,

just take some time and play around with your options.

You never know, you might be very pleasantly surprised!


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