WHY WE DECANT WINE
Reason #1 – Letting the wine breathe: If you like big reds, then you need a decanter. Here’s why: The aroma and complexity of full-bodied, red wine actually improves with aeration (the addition of oxygen). Simply removing the cork does not allow the wine to breathe. You need to get the wine out of the bottle, so oxygen can mix with the wine. Try this, pour yourself a glass of good, quality red wine, give it a swirl, and taste it. Set the glass on your kitchen counter for 30 minutes. Then, swirl the wine and give it another sniff. By doing so, you will be able to experience first-hand how a red wine evolves in the glass. When you decant a wine, you are increasing wine’s surface area, and thereby increasing oxygen into the wine, making the evolution process happen faster than in the glass alone. The greater the surface area the wine comes in contact with, the more oxygen is dissolved into the wine; hence the wide circumference of most wine decanters.
Reason #2 – Removal of sediment: At one time or another, we all have opened a bottle of red from our cellar only to find yucky sediment in the bottle. No worries. This is a natural part of the wine’s aging process. As red wines age, they lose color and tannin in the form of sediment. Full-bodied reds, with age of say 10 years or so, and Vintage Ports usually require decanting to separate the clean wine from the sediment.
Reason #3 – Creating a beautiful table: Whether red or white, wines in a decanter spruce up any table. And it does not have to be a formal dinner. From outdoor grilling for a crowd to simple dinner for two, serving wine from a beautiful decanter creates a fun, family-style approach to al fresco dining. We work hard to present our food in a visually pleasing manner…isn’t it about time we did so with wine?
MARIANNE’S FAVORITE DECANTER:
While you can decant into any glass or crystal container, decanters that have a wide circumference offer the best surface area ratio for aerating a wine. At home, and at the American Wine School, I use the Classico decanter from Schott Zwiesel. It is affordable, durable, and easy to use. Cheers!