Should You Buy a Decanter?
Wine is one of the most consumed alcoholic beverages in the world. Whether people just want to sip a glass to go with their food or party all night, wine is always a great companion. But chances are that most of that wine is not decanted, nor most casual consumers know such technique.
At its core, decanting is nothing more than transferring the wine from a bottle to a new vessel exposing the liquid to air. While the bottle is made to preserve the wine, the decanter makes it ideal for consumption. Decanting is not about decanting at all - it is simply about a better wine experience!
At pvra design we specialize in creating decanters for this purpose. If you are a regular wine consumer or know someone who is, we recommend that you own a decanter. Here are our top reasons for always having one around.
Your Wine Will Taste Better
This happens through a process called aeration, which is the introduction of air into the wine, or in wine slang, letting it ‘breathe.’ The typical wine bottle does not do this well because of its narrow neck. With proper aeration, two things happen: oxidation and evaporation.
Oxidation is what makes your avocado turn brown after you cut it open, and evaporation is the transformation of liquid into air. Both these phenomena will enhance the desirable flavours and aromas by reducing the presence of a few particular compounds such as sulphites and sulphides.
In a way, you are naturally speeding up the process of aging the wine. While the results are not exactly the same, as natural aging is impossible to replicate, aeration does a good job replicating it. One word of caution: too much aeration will turn your wine into vinegar and flatten the flavours. The trick is the correct amount of aeration. This is why wine should be consumed after decanting it.
While most wines will benefit from decanting, there are some who will be greatly enhanced by it. As a general rule of thumb, you will want to decant wines that are “red, old, and bold.” Strong and young red wines particularly benefit from aeration to release their flavours. Usually, decanting these types for 30 minutes to an hour is recommended. Having a decanter available pays itself after a few bottles as it would be the equivalent of buying more expensive wine.
Older wines benefit from decanting too but for a completely different reason, which takes us to our next point for owning a decanter.
Protects Your Wine
The reason that old wine is usually decanted is not oxidize it, on the contrary, it should be consumed immediately as the desirable aromas are already prevalent by natural aging. Prolonging oxidation is not beneficial in this case. However, decanting is still useful to remove the sediments that eventually settle in the bottom of the bottle. These do not look good nor are they tasteful for the drinker, so it is important to remove them.
It is considered good practice to store the bottles horizontally in order to keep the cork moist and prevent air to get inside the bottle. Another tip is to leave the label facing up so you can check the wine without disturbing it. Lastly, roughly 24 hours before consuming the old wine you can leave the bottle upright, so all the sediments settle at the bottom. When ready to decant, pour slow and steady.
A bonus benefit of decanting is the possibility to save the wine in case of a broken cork. When transferring the wine to the decanter, stop once the fragments reach the neck. Do this as many times as necessary until most of the wine is out of the bottle.
Appreciating the Beauty of Wine
It does not matter if it is red or white, wine has a gorgeous colour. By serving straight out of the bottle and consume it immediately, you are denying yourself one of the great pleasures of drinking wine. And not only to yourself but to all others who you share it with.
When decanting the wine, it is possible to witness a different side of the experience. You notice the difference of colours from the usually darkened bottle to the pure clear glass of the decanter. It is like night and day. You see the way it flows and ‘feel’ the consistency of the liquid with your eyes. Finally, once it is all transferred to the new vessel, you are able to appreciate the full glory of the colours, texture, and light.
Furthermore, in case some sediments remained, you can detect them and avoid serving them to your guests.
A Timeless Object
This may not apply to all decanters, but in general they are beautiful pieces that you can decorate your house or office with. This particularly applies to more original shaped ones which will inspire questions and curiosity from those who see them. Hopefully, it can serve as an excuse to share a bottle too.
It is not only the wine that is visually enhanced by the decanter, the opposite happens too. Depending on the colour of the wine, the form and curves of the vessel will be more visible creating an effect difficult to replicate with an everyday object. This, in turn, will make your dining table more attractive creating a halo around it. It will complement your food, your cutlery, and your table overall.
Word of Caution: It May Be Difficult to Go Back to Un-aerated WineAnd we mean it. The good news is that it is an easy technique that everyone can use. You don’t need an expensive decanter either, a standard one will have the same effect. We obviously recommend our decanters for their beauty, tradition and superior aeration, but our goal is to let more people know what they might be missing by not decanting their favourite drink. If you’re interested in knowing more about our decanters you can check them here.