Decanting Wine: An Easy Guide from the Head Sommelier

Decanting Wine:

An Easy Guide from the Head Sommelier

Whites, reds, or rosés. Dry, off-dry, medium, or sweet. From Italy, France, or Germany. Old or new vintages. Wines all come in different colors and tastes. But while matured wine is considered to have reached its prime and is treated as top quality, young wines shouldn’t be neglected either. Even though they might not fully open up their flavors until a few years down the line, you can still enjoy a bottle today. Good wine is good wine, no matter the age. You’ll find out how to uncover the real potential of a young wine by decanting it.

Whites, reds, or rosés. Dry, off-dry, medium, or sweet. From Italy, France, or Germany. Old or new vintages. Wines all come in different colors and tastes. Good wine is good wine, no matter the age. You’ll find out how to uncover the real potential of a young wine by decanting it.

Why Decant Wine

 

Wine appreciation has never been easy. It takes years and years of hard practice to master the art of wine tasting. You learn to dissect different types of wine and acknowledge their expression on your palate and in their aromas. 

When you take a sip from your stemmed glass, what can you feel? Can you sense fruit like pear, grapefruit, blackcurrant, pomegranate, or quince? Or are you savoring a flavor more like nutmeg, vanilla, black pepper, or licorice? What about the taste of cedar, leather, or soil? Or even petrol? Can you feel a combination of some of these flavors? 

You also want to analyze its color and sweetness, evaluate its body, and see if it gives you a pleasant and lasting aftertaste. When it comes to red wines, and sometimes white wines, you also want to appraise tannins—molecules from grape seeds, skins, and stems—that give you a drying sensation on your tongue. And to appreciate young beverages to the fullest extent, sommeliers would advise you use wine decanting.

Wine decanting | MER

What Is Wine Decanting?

 

Decanting is the process of pouring wine into a special glass container that will help the wine aerate or remove sediment (mostly red wine). 

Decanting has been used in the past for older wines to remove sediment, but nowadays it’s used mostly for younger wines. Aerating the wine gives it the opportunity to make its aroma more pronounced. 

Young wines deserve to be tasted and appreciated before they take the time to age. But untrained winetasters do not always know how to do it correctly without spoiling the experience of young wine tasting. And this is when this process comes to the rescue. Decanting is perfect for young wines that are also tannic.

There’s nothing difficult or extraordinary about decanting wine. You are not required to have special skills or have considerable experience in the process. The only things you need are your love for wine and a special vessel.  

Decanting wine process | MER

How to Decant Your Wine

 

A decanter is all you need for this process. As with wine, decanters come in different sizes and shapes. Choose the one that you like the best, the one that appeals to your aesthetic taste. But also pay attention to the pragmatic side of it—how you will take care of it, clean and maintain it. 

You might want to choose a standard decanter that has a long but narrow bottleneck with a broad-bottom base, or maybe you’ll take a shine to a swan-like decanter with a curved bottleneck and body that reminds you of the graceful bird. Alternatively, you can go for a stylish cornetto that has an intricate form. Size also does not matter—you can choose a small, medium, or large decanter. 

Once you’ve chosen your perfect decanter, open the bottle and pour the wine. Do it slowly to allow mixing with the air as the wine flows from one container to the other. Empty the whole bottle into the decanter. Try to make the wine hit the sides of the vessel. You can also swirl the decanter to let more air in. Do not be concerned about the foam that might appear in the process. 

You can re-decant the wine by pouring it back into its bottle and then repeating the process. When you pour the wine into the bottle again, cork it and leave it for a time. The decanting process will oxygenate the wine and open up its authentic taste and fragrant smell. 

A decanter for decanting process

How Long to Decant Wine

 

If you are wondering how long you should decant wine, the time varies. Some sommeliers say fifteen, twenty, or forty minutes will be perfect enough to oxygenate. Others would prefer to keep it up to three hours, and some will advise you to aerate it up to twenty-four hours straight. 

Don’t wait to take part in this experience! Choose a favorite decanter, an excellent wine (which you can select from our website), and start the process. You’ll be surprised how easy and effortless it is. You’re going to make the best out of your wine with amazing results and experience, uncovering all the flavors and aromas your wine has to offer. 

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