The ritual of decanting wine adds a sense of pageantry to any occasion. Whether you choose to decant every bottle of wine you serve or just a few, consider these tips.
Older wines may be delicate
Older red wines benefit from decanting, which eliminates sediment. Some older wines, however, are too delicate to retain their essence for long when exposed to oxygen during decanting. Decant older wines at the last minute. To do so, hold the bottle over a lit candle to illuminate any solids that have collected in the bottom, and then pour the wine slowly and carefully into the decanter until nearly all of the liquid is transferred and the sediment remains in bottle neck.
Decanting is great for young red wines
Young red wines with strong tannins that are almost chewy, woody, with an astringent taste greatly benefit from decanting. As the wine is poured into the decanter and left to sit for thirty minutes or so, oxygen softens the tannins and pushes the fruit forward to intensify the bouquet and delight the palate.
Showcase a beautiful decanter
White wines tend to be decanted less often than red wines, but doing so is a wonderful opportunity to showcase a lovely decanter. Decanters range from simple glass carafes to exquisite cut-crystal, but all should be clear so that a wine’s color and clarity are visible. Let your style be your guide.
Lastly, whenever you decant a wine, arrange the bottle with the cork next to it so that guests may see what they are drinking.