Decanting a wine, how is it useful?

When you receive guests and want to serve wine, you are often faced with a dilemma. What is the best way to serve wine, decant or decant ? Both of these practices can make wine taste better when served. To better understand decanting, let's see the important information.

Decant or decant a wine?

Many people confuse these two actions. They are however different even if they present relatively a certain similarity. Although both practices involve putting the wine in a decanter. They have particularities:

  • The main purpose of decanting a wine is to remove the deposits present in the wine without aerating it, that is to say purifying the wine in some way. For decantation, the carafe chosen must limit the contact of the wine with the air as much as possible. Check out our article on settling to learn more.
  • On the other hand, the main purpose of decanting a wine is its aeration. So the carafe chosen must favor the contact of the wine with the air.

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Why decant - decant wine?

This is a question that many wine consumers ask themselves. Most people do it just because they've heard of it or seen someone do it. Wine is a sensitive drink whose quality can be easily altered. So before decanting or decanting, it is important to ask the question, why decant or decant wine?

For your information, nowadays some wines are no longer filtered. They therefore contain solid deposits. To have only liquid in the mouth during consumption, it is therefore necessary to decant . The operation is not essential, however it provides a more pleasant tasting .

As for the " decanting ", it is necessary to give suppleness to the wine. Indeed, for the components of the wine to be in perfect balance, it takes a certain time, hence the aging of the wine . A wine is best when it is old. However, today we have the habit of consuming young wines. To improve the quality of the latter, a decanter is necessary.

When the wine is still young, its aromas are not yet very distinct. It's still acidic and harsh, which often makes you wince, and the alcohol is very noticeable. The oxygenation of the wine will awaken the wine and reveal its aromas, it will contribute to the development of the wine. Oxidizing the wine will help soften it and make the alcohol less noticeable.

In order not to decant wrongly, it is important to know which wine to decant.

Wines to decant

As you might expect, not all wines are decantable. Those intended for decanting are (too) young wines.

As for old wines, it depends on the characteristics of the wine. However, in most cases, it is not very advisable to decant old wines. They will rather be those to decant.

Among the wines not to be decanted, there are sparkling wines. Once opened, sparkling wine loses all its bubbles, therefore loses its effervescence. They are opened before consumption. Decanting technological wines is not recommended. These standard wines easily lose their characteristics in the air.

Preferably, the wines to be decanted are young red wines, the rosés and the whites have nothing to gain from it.

But how do you know which wines to decant?

It is easy to distinguish them, young wines are more assertive, arduous and have a weaker smell.

Before moving on to “ decanting ”, you must first taste the wine. To do this, you must open the bottle of wine, and pour the wine into a glass. Before tasting it, sniff it for a long time, that is to say, plunge your nose into the glass. This will allow you to smell the aromas that emerge from the wine. In the mouth, the wine to be decanted will present an unpleasant acidity or a feeling of heaviness. You have to repeat the operation a second time. Smell it, then taste it. The second time you can see a change. It will be necessary to redo the operation for a third time after a few minutes. If after these processes the wine in the glass undergoes a marked improvement, it is better to decant it. This softening of the wine proves that the wine needs decanting.

On the other hand, the first time, if the wine has a pleasant and sweet taste, so tasty that you feel the urge to drink it again, the wine does not need to be decanted.

How long should you decant a wine?

Each type of wine has a different decanting time. Depending on whether it is red or white, the hour of decanting before tasting is specific to each person.

For a very powerful red wine, decant two to four hours before tasting. In the case of a light red wine, decant only one hour before consumption.

In the case of a white wine , it is not necessary to expose it to the air. So the decanting is done at the time of service.

For the decantation of old wines , it will be necessary to do it 10 to 15 minutes before consumption. It is always important to remember that prolonged exposure of wine to air can make it sour. So you have to know how to go about it.

How to decant and decant?

To decant the wine, first you have the necessary materials available: a wine carafe and a twist to open a bottle. The wine carafe is different from a water carafe, it has a more flared bottom and a longer and narrower neck. In a second step, it is necessary to ensure the cleanliness of the carafe.

Once the cleaning of the decanter is finished, take the bottle of wine, bring it closer to the decanter. Open the bottle with the gimlet and pour the wine into the decanter. And let it rest quietly until tasting. For a wine that is too young for which the decanting time is quite long, it can be shaken a little to speed up the process.

For decantation it is more delicate. And in addition to the carafe, we'll need a candle. First of all, you have to place the carafe; light the candle and place it against the light of where you are going to place the bottle. For decantation, contact of the wine with air should be avoided as much as possible. It is necessary to bring the neck of the bottle closer to that of the decanter, or even to glue the two necks. For the decantation to be done properly, the bottle must be held in such a way that the deposits remain at the bottom of the bottle while the carafe is being filled. The carafe is filled slowly without shaking the bottle. The lit candle will make it possible to see the deposits and to know when it is necessary to stop.

For old wines that are easily altered, it is best not to decant them. You just have to let it sit vertically and let gravity do its job.

Before decanting or decanting , decanting the carafe may be necessary. To do this, pour a little wine into the decanter and stir it until all the sides are coated with wine. Next, discard the wine from the decanter and begin your decanting or decanting. This operation will eliminate any odors present in the carafe before the operations.

Advantages and disadvantages of decanting wines

Even if young wines are not as succulent as older wines, decanting will still make them better. Thus, a good decanting has the advantage of improving the taste of the wine, bringing out all its particularities, making the wine more relaxed and wiser. During the tasting, there will be no grimace at the table.

However, this operation has a drawback. It makes the wine lose its own character, the character that makes it so different from others. Thus, it may be more difficult to distinguish which wine it is.