If you don’t know anything about wine decanters, then they can look menacing. What are all those crazy shapes all about anyways? Here are some things to consider when trying to find the best wine decanter.
What is the purpose of a wine decanter?
Wine decanters not only look cool, but they actually serve a purpose. Decanting your wine before drinking it will expose it to oxygen, and can improve the flavors by softening bitter tannins and allowing the fruity and floral aromas to really come through.
Most people prefer to decant older red wines, but you can really do it with any red wine you'd like. The beauty of wine is that it never stops evolving, even after it's been bottled. Experiment with decanting your wine for 30 minutes or even an hour, and see if you can notice the different flavors and aromas that come out.
Choosing the right wine decanter
There are different types of wine decanters that are better suited to different types of wines.
Large wine decanters with a wide base are best suited for full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Monastrell and Tempranillo. This is because full bodied red wines contain a high tannin count and will need to be exposed to oxygen. By choosing a wine decanter with a wide base, you can increase the amount of oxygen exposure to the wine more efficiently.
Medium sized wine decanters have a smaller sized base and will hold a deeper volume of wine. This type of glass wine decanter is best suitable for medium bodied red wines like Merlot, Sangiovese, and Barbera.
Small wine decanters are the smallest size option and look similar to a carafe. These are used for light bodied red wines like Pinot Noir and Beaujolais. It’s not necessary to serve white wine or rosé wines in a wine decanter, although some people do prefer to put them in a small chilled decanter for aesthetic purposes.
What’s the best wine decanter shape?
When you look for a wine decanter, you'll realize there are really endless shapes to choose from. That being said, make sure to pick one that’s easy to pour into and clean. If it’s too much of a pain to use, chances are it will just wind up sitting on the shelf collecting dust.
How to use a wine decanter
When pouring your wine into a decanter, try to angle it so that it hits the sides of the glass. The reason for this is so there is more oxygen exposure to the wine, resulting in better aeration.
How long does it take to decant my wine?
Depending on which wine you choose, decanting can take 15 minutes to 3 hours.
- Older red wines will take about 2 hours to fully decant.
- Full bodied red wines will take about 1-2 hours.
- Cheaper wines need a lot of oxygen exposure to improve the aromas. Here’s a tip: Pour out some of the wine from the bottle into the decanter. Pop the cork back into the bottle and shake it vigorously to improve oxygen exposure. Pour the wine into the decanter and wait about 20 minutes.
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How to clean a wine decanter
It’s important to properly clean your wine decanter so that it doesn’t collect deposits over time. For best results, don’t use vinegar or soap with fragrance to clean your decanter.
The best method to clean your wine decanter is to get a decanter cleaning brush. These brushes have a long handle and a head at the end that can usually reach the entire inner surface of a decanter. To dry it, you can rest it upside down in a large bowl with a drying bowl, or purchase a decanter dryer.
Do you need a wine decanter?
Wine decanters look beautiful and serve a purpose. But unless you're planning on hosting a lavish dinner party, you really don't need a wine decanter because there are other ways to decant your wine.
Wine aerators attach to the end of a wine bottle.
When you pour wine into a glass, it begins to decant. If you wait long enough (if you can hold out) then you'll reap all the benefits without having to purchase an actual wine decanter. You can also purchase a wine aerator that attaches to the head of the bottle and allows air to come in contact with the wine and begin the process while it's still in the bottle!
In the end, it's up to you if you'd like to purchase a wine decanter or not. Now that you know what a wine decanter is and what purpose it serves, you can decide if it's right for you. The most important thing is to enjoy your wine and have a fabulous experience! Cheers!
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