Why Decant Wine?
Blog Post By Winemaker Laura Barrett
How to properly decant wine can often be a mystery. When should I decant, why and how? Let me make this very simple for you! The verb decant is defined as: to gradually pour (liquid, typically wine or a solution) from one container into another, especially without disturbing the sediment.
There are two important reasons to decant a wine and the first is to remove an aged wine from its sediment. Have you ever taken the last sip from a glass of red wine and end up with gritty, chewy pieces in your mouth? As red wine ages, it precipitates solid matter that will collect at the base of the bottle. If you carefully pour the wine out of the bottle, into a decanter (or any other container for that matter) you leave the solid matter in the bottle and it does not end up in your glass (or in your mouth). Traditionally, people would use a candle to hold under the neck of the bottle as a light to identify when the wine goes from clear to cloudy.
The second reason to decant is to aerate your wine. This is often desirable for younger red wines that you may want to serve with a meal and allow the wine some time to “open up”. In this case, there are no solids to separate, so you simply pour the wine into your decanter, swirl it around and let it breath. As the wine is exposed to air during the decanting process, it releases aromatics and will show off its beauty in time to pair with your meal.
Although they are beautiful, you do not need a fancy glass vessel to decant your wines. Any container will do, and in the case of a young red wine, you can always pour the wine right back into the bottle! The simple act of taking the wine out of the bottle and putting it back in is enough air exposure to allow your wine to shine.