What Is A Wine Decanter When And How To Use It

What Is A Wine Decanter? When And How To Use It?

A wine decanter: In order to increase the amount of surface area a wine has exposed, wine is typically poured into a decanter, which is frequently made of glass or crystal.

More oxygen than usual interacts with the wine as a result. The tannins in a wine are softer, the ethanol’s alcoholic character is moderated, and the sulfur-scented sulfites are helped to evaporate by the oxidation process, which is amplified by oxygen exposure. Essentially, decanting many wines improves their flavor and aroma while leaving the wine’s sugar and alcohol levels untouched.

In order to better understand wine decanter, we will explain in more detail in the following article.

What Is A Wine Decanter?

The main functions of a wine decanter are to store, serve, and let the wine breathe. To properly oxygenate a surface, there must be a sufficient amount of it exposed to air.

Red wines frequently contain sediment and cork fragments. Pouring into a decanter can aid in filtering and eradicating any unwelcome residue. Furthermore, it will take away the acrid flavor and taste that come with aged wines.

Wine decanters typically have a flat bottom and a wide bowl (up to 30 cm). The height of the neck is typically 30 cm, or so, and tapers inward. Typically, their volume is equal to 0.75 litres, or one standard wine bottle.

What Is The Purpose Of A Wine Decanter?

Decanters are used to deliberately initiate the oxidation process in wine and draw out complex flavors. In order to allow oxygen to bond with as many molecules as possible, the wine’s surface area is increased. This is not a novel concept because wine glasses are made to increase the surface area of wine. But only a small amount of wine can be exposed to oxygen because they also have smaller openings designed for drinking. A wine decanter enhances aeration in a glass. Particularly, their distinctive shapes maximize the regions where wine can flow and rush. Additionally, they aid in bringing red wine to room temperature, which is perfect for serving to clients and visitors.

Additionally, wine decanters make it simpler to serve aged wines, typically reds, with sediment without adding the sediment to the wine glass. If there’s any chance you’re going to open a wine bottle that has sediment in it, let the wine stand upright for 12–16 hours for the sediment to settle. If you do this before using a decanter, the wine may not be completely cleared before serving..

Decanters might be required to revive an extremely old wine because wine bottles themselves also limit oxidation. For instance, wine bottles are frequently tinted on purpose to reduce the possibility of bottle shock and light damage. However, it is much simpler to see the sediment when your wine is in a clear container. Many decanters also have a lip that is designed to catch sediment as it is being poured into the glass.

Why Do You Use A Decanter?

The only benefit of using a decanter is to make wine taste better. It’s really that easy. The main goal of using a decanter is to guarantee that a bottle of wine is consumed in the best possible condition. If you own a high-end bar or are just a wine enthusiast, you probably have a wine cellar full of beverages that need to be decanted before serving. In fact, many winemakers demand that their different wine varietals be decanted so that you can fully appreciate the complexity of flavor that they worked so hard to achieve.

When and for how long should wine be decanted are the bigger issues. Decanting is typically only recommended for older, better-quality wines. To extract the most depth from these wines, decant them for anywhere between 30 minutes and 4 hours. If you don’t have that much time, 15-20 minutes is also acceptable. Since newer and less expensive wines can lose their flavor more quickly when exposed to air, you shouldn’t spend the time decanting them. Because they lack sufficient tannins to benefit from decanting, many varieties of white wine shouldn’t be done so either. It would be advised to use an aerator instead. See more about What Is Blush Wine?

What Serves As A Wine Decanter?

Decanting is intended to enhance the flavors and drinking experience of wine, as with anything we do to our prized vinos. This can happen in two different ways.

Let It Breathe

Ever hear someone say that a wine needs to “breathe”? Sounds odd, right?

Actually, what they’re saying is that the wine needs to interact with the oxygen in the air for a few minutes so that the tannins loosen up and the flavors and aromas of the wine become more pronounced. Decanting allows the wine to do exactly this.

Your delicious wine is breathing deeply and waking up as it hangs out in the decanter. For older vintages that have been confined in their bottles for a while and have developed quite the body of tannins, this aeration process is especially crucial.

But beware: There’s some debate among oenophiles about how long wine should be allowed to aerate. While some wine experts advise waiting just a few minutes, others claim that wines older than 15 years need to be left for 20 to 30 minutes.

But don’t let the heated discussion influence you. Conduct your own taste tests to determine the best time to decant wine. This is the best way to determine the ideal time. Fresh wine from the bottle should be consumed. Consider, wait a few minutes, and then take another sip. Repeat responsibly.

You have an explanation if you think the flavors get stronger over time. You know to decant that vintage less the next time if it seems the notes get softer as your wine spends more time outside.

Get Pure Liquid Gold

Older wines are frequently decanted because sediment forms in them over time. There will be sediment in your wine because of a natural precipitation process; this does not indicate that the wine has gone bad.

Sediment is only problematic in that you typically don’t want to drink it. Although it won’t harm you, it’s just not that enjoyable. Typically, it lacks flavor and has a gritty texture.

If you’ve found a great vintage, let the bottle stand upright with the cork in place for at least 12 hours to allow the sediment to sink to the bottom. Pour your wine into a decanter and look for the sediment layer when you’re ready to drink it. Stop pouring when the sediment fills the bottle’s neck.

Take a moment to let the decanted wine settle and any stray sediment sink to the bottom of the wine carafe before savoring.

Those Fancy Shapes

At times, it’s entertaining to simply browse Amazon’s selection of wine decanters to see all the unique shapes and designs people have created. There are some reasons you might want a decanter that is a different shape, even though it may seem absurd to some to purchase a decanter that is 30 inches tall and doesn’t fit in a cabinet.

The purpose of decanting wine is to make sure it is exposed to oxygen in the air in addition to separating it from sediment. Your wine will only be exposed to a small amount of oxygen if the decanter has a very narrow neck and small base. A large wine decanter, on the other hand, will allow more oxygen to mix with those tannins due to its wide base and fanned opening.

It’s best to start with a decanter that you are familiar with and can clean quickly when you first begin decanting wine. You don’t want any soap to become trapped in the decanter and taint your upcoming vintage. For precisely this reason, many wine connoisseurs simply rinse their decanters with water rather than using soap to clean them.

What Is A Wine Decanter When And How To Use It
What Is A Wine Decanter? When And How To Use It?

When To Use A Wine Decanter

Now that we know why we should decant, when and how long should we do it for? You decant the wine before serving it. There is disagreement regarding the duration of this process, so it is impossible to provide a definitive answer. Decanting wine for a long time can lead to the oxidation and fading of the aromas and flavors. Additionally, wine loses more oxygen when it is swirled from the glass, so storing it in a decanter for an excessive amount of time will only cause the wine to deteriorate.

The fact that not all wines are created equally should also be kept in mind Younger, fuller-bodied wines may require an extra hour of decanting time before serving. Young wines require more breathing time because they have less complexity from not having aged as long. Decanting wines older than ten years for no longer than 25 minutes prior to consumption is advised by some wine experts. They require less time to decant because they have already been aged for a long time and the emphasis is on separating sediments. The wine should be put back in the bottle after decanting and the air should be sucked out using a wine bottle vacuum pump so it can be kept for a few days, according to experts.

How To Use A Wine Decanter

Before drinking, make sure the bottle has been upright for at least 24 hours so the sediment can collect at the bottom and separate more easily.

Depending on the type of wine you are decanting, there are two main methods: regular decanting and shock decanting.

During standard decanting, the wine is poured slowly into the decanter. Either keep the decanter on a table and pour the wine in, or hold the decanter in one hand and pour. Pouring slowly preserves the structure and color of older wines regardless of the technique used.

Debris can be seen by the pourer during routine decanting. Maintaining a lit match or lighter under the bottle’s neck while slowly pouring is the best way to detect sediment. You’ve completed the process when the wine that the flame lit starts to look dusty or cloudy. You can see the sediment as you pour the wine into the decanter.

Shock decanting, also referred to as quick splash decanting, involves tilting the wine bottle vertically and pouring it by gravity into a decanter that is either sitting or being held vertically. Although you cannot isolate the sediment using shock decantation. In a decanter, wine splashes off the bottom and swirls around as it falls forcefully to the bottom. This technique is intended to vigorously expose the wine to oxygen and speed up aeration. The best red wines for this are young, tannic ones that haven’t been aged for very long. Usually, under two years.

Wine Decanter Types

Because it allows air to circulate freely inside, a circular decanter is the best type for wine. The fastest way to get more air in is through a wide neck. Larger bowls and shorter necks on decanters allow them to accomplish their task more quickly, which contributes to their faster operation. A good decanter should have aerated the wine, mellowed the tannins, released the aromas, and removed the sediment from the wine’s bottom in an hour or less. Decanting wine for at least two hours is advised by some wine experts.

Keep in mind that the type of red wine you are drinking may also influence the decanter you require. For light-bodied red, rose, and white wines, a modest decanter is adequate. Decanting is advantageous after only about 30 minutes for light-bodied wines like Beaujolais and Pinot Noir. However, some wines will oxygenate more slowly than others. As an illustration, full-bodied red wines with high tannin (the astringent, mouth-drying sensation) typically require more time in a decanter. Select a decanter with a broad base to increase the wine’s exposure to oxygen and hasten this process.

Decanter For Red Wines

Depending on the style, serving old red wines is best done in large bowl decanters.

A large-bowled decanter will give the aeration of full-bodied wines, such as Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon, more surface area.

For medium-bodied wines, a medium-sized decanter allows more air to flow through it without restriction. Merlot, Sangiovese, Dolcetti, and Grenache are some of the wines that can be served in the medium decanter.

Decanter For White Wines

White wines are simpler to decant than red wines. Although it’s acceptable to decant into any container, smaller decanters are preferable for white wines. White wines usually don’t have sediment, so decanting them isn’t likely to make them bad.

What Advantages Does Decanting Wine Offer?

Decanting has three main benefits:

  1. 1. Separating sediment and liquid by decanting. First and foremost, decanting is the process of separating wine from the sediments that collect at the bottom of the bottle. Younger white wines have less sediment than older red wines, particularly vintage ports and older wines. Although harmless, sediment has a bad taste.
  2. 2. Aeration from decanting improves flavor. The process of adding oxygen to a liquid is known as aeration. This is also called allowing a wine to “breathe.” By reducing tannins and releasing gases that have built up without oxygen, aeration improves the flavor of wine. Wine can expand and breathe while being decanted, releasing flavors and aromas that were dormant while being bottled.
  3. 3. In the event of a broken cork, decanting preserves wine. Sometimes a cork will break, releasing solid particles into your wine glasses that you don’t want. As you decant into another vessel while pouring, the cork will gather close to the bottle’s neck (sediment does the same). Use a strainer to remove the smaller pieces while decanting if the cork crumbles.

Do You Need To Decant Which Wines?

Most types of wine can be decanted, whether they are young, old, red, white, or even rose. In fact, almost all wines benefit from decanting for even a brief period of time, if only for the aeration. Decanting is essential for young, robust red wines, though, as a result of their stronger tannins.

Wines that should absolutely be decanted include:

  • 1. Malbec
  • 2. Shiraz (Syrah)
  • 3. Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 4. Bordeaux
  • 5. Burgundy

What Wines Do Not Require Decanting

Sparkling wines, like Champagne, are the only ones that shouldn’t be decanted. That’s because decanting and aeration reduce the bounce that sparkling wines need to thrive, which is similar to how a soda loses its fizz when left out of the refrigerator for too long.


The beauty of wine is that it goes through several stages of life, unlike other alcoholic beverages. Wine undergoes continuous development from the time it is in contact with the bits and bobs of the grape during the maceration process until it is bottled, aged, and then decanted.

You, my fellow wine aficionado, must decide when in your life you enjoy drinking wine the most. Do you favor them better when they are young and intelligent? Or would you prefer to savor some time with a wine that has matured and gained depth?

I appreciate you reading.

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