Decanting wine: everything you need to know about a special step

Many connoisseurs know that some wines benefit from a little time in the decanter. While the separation from the depot is considered an important reason for wine, there are other aspects that speak in favor of decanting a wine. In this overview, connoisseurs will find a lot of valuable information about the important step between uncorking and enjoyment.

What is decanting and what is the point?

If you want to decant a wine, you slowly pour it out of the bottle into another vessel, the so-called decanter. It is important that the sediment inside the wine bottle does not flow into the vessel, but remains in the bottle. What a decanter actually looks like cannot be answered in general terms. However, most vessels consist of a bulbous part that merges into a narrower neck.

Pouring red wine into decanter

Also Read: The 7 Best Wine Decanters

As for the reasons for decanting, they can be further defined in terms of three benefits.

First advantage: The separation of the depot for wine optimizes the quality

By decanting wine, connoisseurs separate the dregs from the liquid. The sediment consists of natural suspended matter, which accumulates on the ground during storage. Red wines contain such sediments to a particular extent. Basically, the sediment is not harmful, but has the potential to affect the taste of the wine. In addition, the “crumbs” are unsightly in the mouth.

Second benefit: oxygen improves the taste

The stay of a wine in the decanter is associated with oxygen contact. This aeration, which allows the wine to “breathe”, improves the taste by making the tannins more accessible and allowing flavors and aromas to develop. Any unwanted gases that may have arisen from the time without significant contact with oxygen also evaporate. The wine gains individual expression in the decanter.

Third advantage: Decanting often helps with broken corks

Decanting wine has the potential to salvage enjoyment in the event of a damaged cork. If a cork breaks when the bottle is opened, it sometimes happens that small pieces end up in the wine. With the help of a decanter, it is then possible to separate the depot from the wine and also to remove the cork residue.

Which wines benefit from decanting?

It is a myth that is long outdated that it is only worth decanting red wines. Whether young or mature, red or white: almost all wines benefit from being in the decanter. Decanting is particularly important when it comes to young and strong red wines with intense tannins, for example.

Experts only do not recommend decanting for sparkling wines. This is because sparkling wines lose their finesse character and fine perlage in the decanter. As a result, they taste stale after a short time.

Digression: What is the difference between a decanter and a carafe?

A question that often comes up: Is it possible to use a carafe instead of a decanter? We deny this. Although both decanters and carafes are vessels for wine, the carafe is only for serving wine. The decanter, on the other hand, is specially shaped and thus promotes sensible aeration. Carafes are not able to do this.

Wine glasses and wine carafe filled with red wine

Decanting wine: instructions and tips

An important goal when decanting wine is that the deposit remains in the bottle. The process therefore ends as soon as the solids reach the bottleneck. Before decanting, it is important to consider the storage of the bottle. If it stood upright the entire time, there is nothing to prevent an immediate start. With bottles stored horizontally, however, the solids collect on the side of the bottle wall. Therefore, it is worth putting the bottle in the vertical position at least a day before drinking.

Anyone who has not yet performed this maneuver may feel insecure. Here are the instructions for decanting wine in several steps:

  • Open the bottle carefully with a corkscrew or remove the screw cap.
  • Now gently tip the bottle with the neck towards the decanter. The bottom of the bottle should initially not exceed a 45-degree incline. It is also important to hold the bottle still so that the dregs remain unmoved.
  • Then pour the wine carefully and evenly into the vessel without causing violent sloshing. The bottle opening should always provide some space for air exchange. Pay attention to how the sediment behaves while pouring.
  • As soon as the sediment reaches the neck of the bottle, carefully set the bottle upright, wait a moment and start again. Decanting is complete when about thirty milliliters of wine are left along with the lees.

How long to decant wine? An individual question

How long wine should decant before it is ready to be enjoyed depends on the individual characteristics of the wine. A duration of at least 15 to thirty minutes is recommended, although several hours can be justified for heavy and still sealed wines. Wine should not remain in the decanter for longer than 18 hours.