To Decant or not to Decant….that is the question.

So does pouring wine into a decanter really make a difference or is it just something people like to do because it looks cool? Well, a little bit of both! Below are the basics of decanters broken down into the 5W’s.

WHAT – A decanter is a glass container that you use to pour a bottle of wine into before serving. They vary in style and price. The more expensive ones tend to have more crystal and are finely crafted. However, there is nothing wrong with an inexpensive decanter. It will not ruin the wine as they all serve basically the same purpose. Think about buying a vase…the cheaper ones don’t ruin the flowers; they may just not be as impressive to look at.

WHO – Anyone that wants each bottle to live up to its full potential… or just wants to be known as the Decanting Dude or Dudette.

WHEN – You can use a decanter any time with any wine (Red, White and even Sparkling). However, it will really only make a difference with either very young wines that are not fully mature, or older wines that have been bottled up for so long that they need to breathe. Most average California wines come out of the bottle ready to drink, but the higher end wines will benefit from decanting. For the most part I find French and Italian wines improve the most after the decanting process.

WHERE – Wherever you like! But it is usually a crowd pleaser so you may want to do it in front an audience.

WHY – For the right wines, it will help the aeration process. When air hits the wine, it allows the flavors and aromas to come out that may otherwise stay hidden. The older the wine, typically the more time it needs in the decanter to fully open up.

HOW – The simplest way is just to pour the wine from the bottle directly into the decanter. You can also use a funnel which will help with the aeration and if the funnel has a screen, it will catch the sediment. Sediment is the funky solid stuff at the bottom of older bottles of wine. It is a sign of a good wine, but not something you want to be drinking (or chewing).

If you want to decant by the glass, then the Vinturi Aerator is a great option.  It works like a decanter for a single glass of wine. It may look like one of those gadgets that you would buy and doesn’t work, but it does….and REALLY well! If you go to the wine country in Cali almost all of the wineries have one in their tasting room so that their younger wines can open up quickly.

If you’re wondering where to get a decanter, my friends at Wine Enthusiast have the best selection and great prices. And if you have further questions, their knowledgeable Wine Storage Consultants will have all the answers! Check out the link below…


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