What Does Decanting Do For Wine And Do You Need To Do It?

One of the things that makes wine a fun hobby both to drink and to collect is to amass the accessories that are involved. For instance, many people that enjoy a good wine have a few decanters in their collection. These are basically pitchers that you pour the wine into.


They are usually glass and the types available are unlimited. You can go with simple and sleek to something out of a Dr Seuss fantasy with how complex they can be.


Yet, it sometimes seems like decanting a wine is a mere affectation that serves more to show off than to actually have any practical value. Which is actually not true at all. Decanting wine is something that is important to do to get the most out of your wines.


This article will give you something to think about when it comes to wine and how best to enjoy it by going over when and how to decant it.


What is wine decanting?


The term decanting just means pouring the liquid from one vessel into another. It could be pouring a beer into your pint glass from the bottle as that is all the word itself means on its own.


In the wine world, it has a much deeper significance than just that. This is when you pour the wine from its bottle into a glass vessel to help to aerate the wine. No matter how cheap or expensive your wine is, it can be helped along by decanting. If you drink a lot of wine, like if you have a subscription to a wine club, then you definitely need to have a decanter in your repertoire.


Once the wine is in the decanter, it is then served from that.


How does the decanter help the wine?


There are two major reasons to decant your wine. And the type of wine it is will determine how it benefits from the decanting process. What that means is that decanting can be done to help remove sediment from old wines, and at the same time or independently, also aerate the wine to help “open” and let it breathe.


When you have an old wine, chances are there is some sediment at the bottom of the bottle. If you pour from the bottle, that sediment will end up in the glass and ruin the drinking experience. Decanting it will allow you to pour the wine in such a way that the sediment stays in the bottle and doesn’t get into the decanter.


Then, you will pour from the decanter and not have to worry about the sediment.


Then, there is opening the wine, or helping it to aerate. When the wine is in the bottle, it is sealed away from any oxygen which would hasten the process which causes wine to go bad. But, when you open it, the air will actually help the wine during the time from when you pour it to when you drink it.


Once the wine is exposed to the oxygen, it starts a chemical process which allows some of the harsher elements of the wine to dissipate. Tannins, which are what make your mouth pucker, will ease up and not be so harsh while still giving the wine structure. If the wine is fruity, then the roundness of the fruit is allowed to come through in a big way.


Aerating the wine helps any wine, but especially red wines that have more of a structure than whites. And, whether your wine is $10 or $1,000 in value, it can benefit from this aeration.


When you shouldn’t decant


There are times when you can actually hurt the wine by this aeration process. Delicate wines that have been aged for a long time may end up getting too much oxygen from decanting and simply need to sit in the glass for a few minutes before drinking.


For example, there are fine Burgundy wines that age very well but are also extremely delicate when they become vintage wines. These will oxidize much too fast if you decant them. This is especially true if you decant and then let it sit for more than a couple of hours.


A young, fresh white wine would gain nothing by decanting so it really is a waste of time to do so. Often, once the wine is poured from the bottle to the glass, it has gotten enough oxygen for any rough edges to dissipate. It will also be difficult to keep the wine chilled in the decanter which is a must when you’re drinking a young white wine.