When, Why, & How to Decant Wine
Not everyone is familiar with a decanter or why you would use one. Some wine lovers use a decanter simply to provide a more elegant vessel for serving wine or have an impressive centerpiece for a dinner party.
However, there is a lot more to decanting wine than you think. A decanter is an important tool, and when done correctly, decanting a bottle of wine can elevate even the most average wine experience.
What Does Decanting Mean?
Decanting a bottle of wine means slowly pouring the wine from its bottle into a different container without disturbing the sediment. Red wine is often decanted into a glass vessel with an easy-pour neck, for example, the swan, cornett, duck, and standard decanter.
There are two main reasons for decanting wine. The first is a physical appearance by separating clarified wine from solids that have formed during aging. The second is the effect of oxygen, which releases certain compounds bound within the bottle. Both affect our perception of flavor, texture, and aroma.
Decanting for Sediment
The purpose behind decanting wine is to separate clarified wine from the solids in the bottle. Decanting was originally used to describe the process of removing the liquid part of a mixture from the solids. Today, we can filter wine and prevent solids from forming at all, but getting rid of sediment will always be a concern.
Sediment can be very fine and has the tendency to diminish the flavor and expression in wine, especially red wines. It’s important to make sure the sediment stays at the bottom of the bottle when decanting red wine. Ideally, you want to give the bottle a few days to sit vertically, so the sediment has time to shift to the bottom without being incorporated into the wine.
Decanting for Oxygen
When you pour wine from the bottle to the decanter, the air makes its way into the wine. If you notice an unpleasant smell upon opening, it’s a general sign of hydrogen sulfide.
To eliminate the smell, let the wine rest 30 minutes to an hour in the decanter to help release those compounds. This process will allow you to experience the wine for its other excellent qualities.
Further agitation like swirling, pouring wine back and forth, and decanter can help release hydrogen sulfide quickly. However, exposure to oxygen can lead to reactions in some wines, including deadening of flavor after being exposed for too long.
Wine Pairing at Metro Wines
Whether you’re just getting started to appreciate the difference between wines or you’re an expert at wine pairings, the fine art of wine appreciation is always evolving with new knowledge and interests in how wine is made and served.
At Metro Wines, we offer a wide selection of wines focusing on pairing just the right wine with any dish or event. Visit our shop in Asheville, or shop online and browse our incredible wine selection with local delivery options available.