Wine Decanter

I have always felt that the wine decanter is the best wine accessory (after the corkscrew!) that a wine lover should have in their arsenal. Wine decanters allow wine to breathe. This makes the aroma and taste of the wine more vibrant when you go to serve it. Decanting wine also helps to separate wine from sediment that may have accumulated. Allow your wine bottle to sit upright for 24 hours before pouring it into your decanter. This will allow the sediment to settle at the bottom of the bottle making it easier to leave out when pouring the wine into the decanter. When you are ready to pour your bottle of wine into your decanter be sure to pour the wine slowly, stopping when you begin to see the sediment or notice the wine becoming cloudy. Decanters are traditionally made from glass or crystal.

What is the Difference Between a Carafe and a Decanter?

Now that you know the benefits of decanting you may ask but what is the difference between a carafe and a decanter? Simply put a carafe is typically used as a decorative serving tool for water and juices. It does not change the taste of the liquid that it's holding while decanters are designed to enhance wine taste.

Decanting Most Red Wines is a Good Idea.

For one thing, younger red wines need time to recover from fermentation; and a lot of young reds have had no time for the flavors to knit. Air helps that process in young wines. Even inexpensive wines can benefit and “come together” with aeration.

Also, many mature red wines get a bit “funky” after years in the bottle and can benefit from aeration.

Decanting White Wines

What’s new is that many white wines today are in need of aeration, and the best way to do that is by decanting. But if they’re transferred into a regular large-bottomed decanter, they can’t stay cold very long.

Riesling and Gewurztraminer -- and other aromatic varieties (including Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier) -- would benefit from not only decanting, but staying cool in an ice bucket.

The reason for decanting whites is that some (notably those sealed with a screwcap) have a dose of sulfur dioxide that leaves the wine with a hint of a matchstick aroma.

Decanting aerates the wine and gets rid of most of the SO2. Other aromas that are not supposed to be in wine also can aerate off by decanting.

Red wines that are a bit too young to drink generally benefit from decanting. This includes almost all wines on restaurant wine lists these days.

After decanting, most red wines begin to “breathe” and open up. The aroma benefits, while the wine actually tastes a bit softer and smoother.

Decanting Wine Makes a Difference

Simply pulling the cork on a bottle of wine does very little to allow the wine the aeration it needs to develop additional character. The amount of air that gets into the neck of the bottle is so small. As wine is poured from the bottle into the decanter it takes in oxygen, helping to open up the aromas and flavors of the wine.

All quality restaurants should be prepared to decant any wine the diner requests. It’s one of the reasons you’re paying such a premium for wine in restaurants: why not enjoy it at its best?

One of my favorite decanters is the Le Chateau Wine Decanter. It is beautiful, does a wonderful job aerating the wine, and is easy to clean. In addition, the slanted spout helps to avoid spills and drips.



  1. […] But let’s start from the beginning. We have a glass of wine in front of us and we want to truly appreciate it. The first thing one does in tasting wine, is to look at it. We are checking color, comparing it to others we have seen and noting how the light plays with the wine, or not. There are reference wines that we may know or have read about, so we are gauging the color against those, but also enjoying the visual display of a colored liquid in a fine glass. […]

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    Wine Decanter

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