How and Why To Decant Wine
Everything you need to know about decanting wine.
We frequently receive samples of recently bottled wines, a common wine-industry practice analogous to literary journalists receiving review copies of new books. When the wine is a rosé—or a red or white meant to be consumed upon release—there’s little cause to quibble.
But many wines we receive would likely reach their pinnacle of flavor and aroma after five years (sometimes much more!) in the cellar. We still taste these wines but decant them first.
You should also consider decanting, especially if the wine is a newly released red or has been stashed in your cellar for a while.
What Is Decanting & Why You Should Do It
Decanting essentially entails pouring wine into a different glass container. It’s important to do this slowly, so the sediment at the bottom of the bottle doesn’t join the party. Sediment — solid particles that develop during aging, a normal and unavoidable process most common to red wines and ports—can flatten the flavors and aromas of otherwise delicious wines.
But the main reason we decant the latest releases is to unlock the flavors and aromas in those delicious bottles. The process of decanting, followed by a resting period of two hours, can tame tannic and burly youngsters, revealing nuances that reflect the winemaker’s intentions.
With mature reds, decanting separates the sediment and allows bottled-up flavors and aromas to uncoil.
How To Decant Wine
Wines that often benefit from decanting young or old include Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and other Bordeaux reds, Syrah and Burgundian reds.
You can find beautiful vessels for decanting wine. For the best results, choose a glass one with a wide mouth.
When decanting a bottle that’s spent time in the cellar, stand it up straight for a few days, so the sediment falls to the bottom. Open the bottle, pouring the wine in slowly and steadily. Leave the last few drops at the bottom of the bottle; that’s where all the sediment is.
Now, sip and enjoy and prepare for pumped-up flavors!