Wine Serving Tip: Using a DecanterDecanters make great wine gifts for new couples, new homeowners, or even your boss. Their elegant design allows them to look attractive on a shelf, home bar, or wine cabinet. However, this handsome wine tool does serve a purpose (other than adding classy elegance to your home).
A decanter allows the full flavors of a red wine to open up after being corked in the bottle for so long. Additionally, the design and shape of the decanter will allow the sediment to settle at the bottle, then be caught on the flared base before being poured into your guests' wine glasses.
Typically bottles of red wine are decanted. However, not all red wine need to be (or should be) decanted. You can use your own preference of taste to decide if decanting improves the flavors of your bottle.
One note from our residence wine expert: Red wines that are high in alcohol are better served after decanting because the process for decanting allows the alcohol to dissipate highlighting the natural flavors of the drink.
To decant your wine, simply pour the wine slowly into the decanter in one steady motion, leaving a bit of wine in the bottle. The little bit left in the bottle catches the last bit of sediment before pouring into the decanter.
Serving from a decanter is as simple as pouring the wine into your wine glass after the wine has had enough time to aerate (or open up). When in doubt, you should try decant your wine an hour or two before serving. However, ten minutes is better than nothing. With older, fragile claret (another name for red Bordeaux), give it less time in the carafe because it may have a shorter life once opened than a younger red.
To speed up the aeration process in a decanter, you can swirl the wine a couple times. Then, let wine settle again before serving. The long neck design of a traditional wine decanter should minimize spillage. Use caution with shorter, wider necked decanters.
The designs of decanters can vary greatly. At A Bit of Wine, we have over 70 different decanters. Some are more suited for spirits, while others are designed specifically for a port wine (a red wine fortified with brandy and drank after a nice meal). But most popular are our standard wine decanters that come in various sizes depending on style and preference.
Decanters don't have to be an expensive wine gift either. A classic red wine decanter costs as little as $24.95 on a Wine Enthusiast The "U" Decanter. Depending on the lead free crystal, the design, and the maker, you can spend as much as $200 on a Ravenscroft Crystal Salmanazar Decanter that holds 396 ounces of wine!
Do you use a decanter for your red wine? Why or why not?
Cheers wine friends!