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How To Decant Wine
How To Decant Wine
Decanting wine is an easy way to bring out the flavours and nose of a wine. It's also an easy way to separate the sediment from the wine in older vintages.
Younger wines greatly benefit from decanting. As the wine is poured slowly from bottle to decanter, the oxygen hits the wine and helps to reduce bitterness, while also bringing out the more subtle flavours it embodies. When looking for a decanter, it's good to choose one that allows the wine to sit with as much exposure to the air as possible, such as those with a very wide base. After pouring the wine into the decanter, swirl the wine, mixing the wine with the air. You can leave the wine to sit anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours. Younger wines often benefit from more time than older wines, which should be handled more cautiously.
Some decanters come with fine sieves, and these are excellent for older vintages. If your wine has been stored on its side for a long time, let if first rest in an upright position. This allows the sediment to fall to settle at the bottom of the bottle. Whether or not you have a sieve, the next step is the same. Slowly pour the wine into the bottle. It's best if you do this with a candle or other light under the neck of the wine. When you see sediment in the neck, stop pouring the wine. You should end up with a decanter full of wine and about half a glass left in the bottle with sediment.
You don't necessarily need a fancy decanter to aerate wine, but if you don't, it's good to have large red wine glasses on hand - the thinner the glass and wider the base the better. Just like when decanting, pour the wine slowly into the glass, so that you have a waterfall effect. As the wine is being poured, it hits the oxygen. Once you've poured the glass, give it a gentle swirl to allow more air to mix with the wine. You can leave it to stand for a few minutes before drinking to get an even better taste.
You can also try 'double decanting', a method that allows you to still enjoy wine out of the bottle. After slowly pouring the wine into the decanter, slowly pour it back into the bottle using a small funnel. This technique is not only easy, it also allows the wine to mix with oxygen twice, and brings out the flavours of the wine brilliantly. It's also great for dinner parties, as it still allows your guests to see which wine they're drinking.
Decanting wine is a wonderfully simple way to get the most out of a good vintage.