WHAT IS DECANTING?
I was given a beautiful wine decanter for Christmas and decided to use it a few weeks ago. I opened up a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that we drink regularly. I poured it into the carafe and allowed it to breathe for the next two hours. Wow, what a difference it made. The wine’s aroma and flavor were more prominent and enhanced. I have been drinking this wine for years, and decanting the wine introduced me to flavors and aromas that I never knew were there. If you have never decanted your wine, you should. It makes a difference.
Decanting wine means to pour the wine slowly from its bottle into a separate vessel while leaving the sediment in the bottom undisturbed. Here’s a decanter that we love.
- Decanting separates the sediment from liquid: Sediments often settle at the wine bottle’s bottom and is most common in red wines. Sediment is not dangerous, but the taste of it is very unpleasant.
- Decanting enriches flavor through aeration: The method of adding oxygen to a liquid is aeration. It allows all of the flavors and aromas to “breathe.”
WHICH WINES NEED DECANTING
Mainly red wines, some whites, and a few dessert wines benefit from decanting.
Young red wines that are high in tannin (tannin in wine adds both bitterness and astringency, as well as complexity) such as many red Zinfandel’s, Bordeaux, and Cabernet Sauvignon taste better after decanting because the process softens the tannins. The wine becomes less bitter and harsh. The younger the bottle of wine, the more time it needs to breathe.
Older red wines develop sediment, the tannin, and other particles solidify over time; after about eight years and will also benefit from decanting.
High quality, good dry white wine, like full-bodied Burgundies and white Bordeaux wines only get better with decanting.
HOW TO DECANT WINE
- Keep the bottle of wine sitting upright at least a day or two before decanting; this will allow the sediment to settle at the bottom of the bottle.
- When you are ready to decant, use a corkscrew to open the wine bottle.
- Slowly pour the wine out of the bottle into the decanter, watching the wine and look for any sediment as it approaches the neck. Stop the decanting process if you see any sediment nearing the bottle’s neck. Tilt the bottle back to an upright position, start again and finish decanting. Leave about a half-ounce of wine in the bottle with the sediment.
- Decanting time can range from 30min to 3hours
|Red Wine||Decanting Time|
|Pinot Noir||30–60 minutes|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||2 hours|
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