The main purpose of a wine decanter is that it allows wine poured into it to breathe, which means that the wine is exposed to oxygen and this helps in aerating the liquid. A wine decanter typically has a big base and a lovely flared lip.
The most common type of wines that benefit from decanting are the younger wines. All wines that are youthful, especially the ones that have a lot of tannins or are very full bodied are the ones that will benefit the most from decanting.
Having said that, listed here are six benefits of decanting wines:
The first benefit of a decanter is that it allows you to release all the wonderful aromas and flavours of the wine. As mentioned above, a decanter allows a lot of oxygen to go in helping the wine to open up and aerate it. Pouring the wine into a decanter is a very simple process. Tip the wine straight into the decanter, let the wine settle for a couple of minutes and then it’s ready to pour into the glass.
Older wines that have aged for 20-30 years such as vintage ports or still red wines, Bordeaux, and Burgundies, have the ability to evolve and age gracefully over a period of time. But as these wines age, they actually release a sediment, which settles at the bottom of the bottle. These sediments need to be separated from the wine before pouring. While the sediments are not poisonous, they are very astringent and at times bitter. So, a lot of experienced sommeliers in restaurants first keep the bottle upright for the sediment to settle at the bottom and then very carefully tip the bottle into a decanter, keeping the latter at a 45-degree angle. However, an interesting act by the sommeliers is that they light a candle near the neck of the bottle through which they are able to see for any leftover sediments that can travel from the bottom of the bottle into the decanter. As soon as they see these sediments when the wine is being poured, they halt the process of decanting.
The third benefit of decanting wine is that there are times when uncorking a bottle, the cork crumbles or disintegrates, and tends to fall back into the bottle and into the wine. In such a case, the wine needs to be filtered through a muslin cloth, so that the cork particles remain behind and the wine that falls into the decanter is fresh, sediment free, and cork free.
The fourth awesome benefit is that the taste and aroma of even the most inexpensive wine when poured from a decanter is elevated. The act of decanting an inexpensive wine also helps to aerate it and enhance its taste further. Once you decant this wine, wait for a couple of minutes before pouring it into a glass and the difference cannot be missed. The wine that is poured out of a decanter will have a more elevated and enhanced taste. This is because the fruit comes to the fore when you pour the wine into the decanter, as it opens up the wine.
The fifth benefit of decanting a wine is that if you are indeed going to pour an inexpensive wine for your guests, and you don't want them to know the type of wine that is being served. then decanting is the best option.
The last, but not the least benefit is that a decanter adds to the charm of your bar. They come across as stylish which enhances the wine drinking experience when there are guests at home. Regardless of the type of wine one is pouring, if it is from a decanter, then you come across as an elegant host.
A tip: Decanters are available in a variety of shapes. There is the classic and simple shape, while they are also available in the form of a duck, a swan bell shaped and snail shaped. So, time to add a decanter to your bar cart!
Originally published April 26, 2022