Decanting Wine – When Should You Do It?
There are two reasons why decanting wine might be a good idea; it might be an old bottle, especially a Bordeaux wine with some sediment in the bottom, or you want to give the wine a bigger space to breathe before you drink it.
Decanting Old Red Wines & Ports
While sediments can be unpleasant to drink, they are totally harmless. Older red wines, especially old Ports, develop a sediment in them over time. Before decanting, allow the bottle to stand upright for several hours, giving the sediment to fall to the bottom of the bottle and settle there. If the sediment refuses to settle or if you are in a hurry, pour the wine through a clean gauze or a paper coffee filter that you have washed in cold water.
The next step is then to pour the wine carefully into the decanter stopping just before the sediment reaches the neck of the bottle. Decanting experts usually place a light source behind the bottle so that they can see the sediment gradually moving towards the bottle neck giving them advance warning of when to stop pouring. You can find further advice about this at Vins de Bordeaux (they know a thing or two about wine!)
Decanting Younger Wines
Most wines without sediment will benefit from decanting, particularly if they are young or full-bodied complex red wines. At a young age, many of these wines will be “tight” or “closed” on the nose or palate. When you pour the wine from the bottle to the decanter it takes in oxygen, which helps open up the aromas and flavours. Even inexpensive wines can benefit from this as I have tested on regular occasions!
Experiment for yourself with a couple of bottles of the same wine, one decanted and one not and see which you prefer.
What Too Look for in a Decanter
A crystal decanter is highly reflective and refracts light making it sparkle and the non-visible bumps within it can help aeration of the wine as you decant it.
Makes sure the decanter is big enough! 750ml, the typical bottle size is a little more than 25 ounces. Make sure your decanter is large enough to fit the whole bottle if you plan on pouring it all in.
If you are decanting spirits make sure there’s an airtight seal that doesn’t let air escape or enter – unlike wine. A decanter with an airtight crystal stopper like ours provides much the same quality of storage as the original bottle and the spirits will keep well.
The Hersey Decanters
Our handsome hand-made crystal decanters are hand blown in Devon by Dartington and finished by ourselves with a smart solid silver neck collar which provides a firm grip for perfect pouring and can be engraved with a message. An eye catching bubbled crystal stopper is specially hand-finished to make an air tight seal.
They are available in three sizes:
Check them out now!
In my next blog I will reveal the best ways too care for and clean your decanter.