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Those passionate about wines will undoubtedly have heard of the “decanter,” a tool that helps enhance particular wines that need greater oxygenation.
Let’s discover together when this tool should be used and how wine decanting works.
What is a wine decanter?
Even if some use it only for “show,” the wine decanter is still a functional tool. It is an object similar to a jug with a vast base and long neck to pour wine. Often in crystal, it is used to decant the wine; particularly in aged wines, it separates the sediments. In younger wines, it favors oxygenation, enhancing all the perfumes and aromas. But be careful: not all wines need to pass through this instrument. Sometimes a simple glass is sufficient.
Are all decanters the same?
The shapes are the most diverse: standard, carafe, large decanter, duck (with or without handle), horn, or swan.
Net of the more extravagant shapes, decanters with wider necks greatly favor oxygenation and are therefore indicated for younger reds. In contrast, decanters with narrow necks tend to contain it and are therefore preferable for more aged wines.
What does it mean to let the wine decant?
Decant comes from the medieval Latin “decanthare” and means to separate particles suspended in a liquid by sedimentation. Decanting is used for significant, mature, evolved, long-aging wines. The only secondary is that thanks to the decanter, the wine, closed for years in the bottle, can take oxygen and release all its complexity in the aromas.
The wine decanting procedure involves several steps.
After having uncorked the wine, it is necessary to pour a small quantity into the decanter and then put it back into the wine bottle before proceeding with the actual decantation. It is required to pour the wine slowly, being careful as soon as any sediment appears in the neck of the bottle. Once the racking has been completed, we check that the wine in the decanter is limpid.
When should the decanter be used?
The use of the decanter is only sometimes necessary; on the contrary, in the face of some types of wine, this tool is highly discouraged. For example, in the case of white wines, it is not necessary to decant them. The decantation of white wine is not only unnecessary but useless, as the only result that would be obtained would be to lose the aromatic content of the wine quickly.
As far as rosé wines are concerned, a passage in the decanter allows them to eliminate those unpleasant aromas released by the sulfites.
On the other hand, this tool is considered necessary when dealing with red wines characterized by a substantial structure, full-bodied, and aged for a few years.
!!! ATTENTION !!!
The decanter can prove to be a double-edged sword. Experts advise against using the decanter with very aged red wines because, after many years without oxygen, too rapid exposure to oxygen can irreparably damage them. Each wine has its balance, particularly delicate in the case of a wine aged for a long time in the bottle.
With long-aged wines, you need to leave the bottle standing for a few hours (at least 5) before decanting, then open it delicately (without jolts) and only then pour it into the decanter.