Decanting wine might seem like an elaborate ritual reserved for sommeliers and wine connoisseurs. However, understanding the process and benefits can greatly enhance your wine-drinking experience. Let’s dive into the world of decanting and discover the difference it can make to your favorite wines.
What is Decanting?
Decanting is the process of slowly pouring wine from its bottle into a separate container, called a decanter. The main reasons to decant are to separate the wine from any sediment that has formed and to aerate the wine, allowing it to breathe and open up its flavors.
Benefits of Decanting
1. Separating Sediment:
Sediment is natural and harmless but can impart a gritty texture and bitter taste. Older wines, especially reds, often produce sediment as tannins and pigments bond over time. Decanting allows you to separate the clear wine from the sediment, ensuring a smoother taste.
When wine is exposed to air, it interacts with oxygen, triggering the release of its aromas and softening its flavors. This process, known as aeration, can make wine more expressive and enjoyable to drink.
Ways to Decant Wine
1. Traditional Decanting:
This is the classic method, involving a slow and steady pour of the wine into a decanter. Hold the bottle at an angle, pour slowly, and watch for sediment reaching the bottle’s neck. Stop pouring when you see this. The key is patience, as rushing can mix the sediment back into the wine.
2. Splash Decanting:
Also known as “shock decanting,” this involves pouring the wine vigorously into the decanter to maximize its exposure to oxygen. This method is often used for younger wines, which can benefit from the aggressive aeration.
3. Double Decanting:
This process involves decanting the wine into a decanter, then cleaning the original bottle to remove any sediment, and decanting the wine back into its original bottle. This method can be useful when you want to serve wine in its original bottle, but still want the benefits of decanting.
When to Decant
While decanting can benefit most wines, it is particularly useful for young, tannic reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec or Bogati Winery’s Fat Ass Red blend. These wines often benefit from an hour or two of decanting.
Older wines with sediment should be decanted right before serving. As they have already aged, their flavors have developed and they don’t need as much time to breathe.
Lighter, delicate wines, like Bogati Winery’s Seyval Blanc or the 2021 Blush, typically don’t require decanting. However, a brief decanting can sometimes enhance their aromas.
In conclusion, decanting can elevate your wine-drinking experience, highlighting the complex aromas and flavors of the wine. Like most things in the world of wine, the best guide is your personal preference, so don’t hesitate to experiment and discover what you enjoy the most.