The decanter is a container similar to a glass or clear crystal ampoule, used to oxygenate the wine. It is used after uncorking the bottle and before serving the wine.
Its particular shape, with a very wide and rather flat base guarantees a large contact surface between oxygen and wine and, thanks to the considerable volatility of alcohol, allows its aromas to be released faster and in the best possible way. The final part, with the narrow and elongated neck, on the other hand, prevents a rapid dispersion of perfumes. In other words, the decanter allows to enhance the aromas and organoleptic characteristics of a wine. There are two types of wine that need to be decanted: aged and tannic wines, which need to be deprived of any sediments that settle over the years, and young, tannic wines, with an important acidity that need oxygenation to “Open up” and reveal the aromatic bouquet faster. In this second case, pour the wine into a large glass and wait for the necessary time, however, allows perfect oxygenation of the wine!
Amarone is a structured red wine aged for a long time in French oak barrels. It is always advisable to decant it especially if it is from an important year in order to separate any residues and open it to the maximum of its aromantic expression.
How to use the decanter
The first rule to use the decanter in the right way is to position the bottle correctly: it must be kept vertical for at least 24 hours before uncorking it in order to let any sediment slide to the bottom in order to facilitate its separation. The decanter must be perfectly clean and dry, without any trace of dust on the bottom or on the neck.
Before pouring the wine, we bring the bottle close to a source of light to be able to see against the light when the deposit approaches the neck, even if this is particularly complicated in the case of wines of intense color. Then pour the wine slowly from the bottle to the decanter.
To correctly pour the wine into the decanter it is necessary to proceed very slowly and with extremely sweet circular movements, performed in a clockwise direction to better oxygenate the wine and release its aromas. We must stop as soon as the sediment reaches the neck of the bottle in order to prevent the poured wine from becoming cloudy.
When to use the decanter
If decanting an aged wine is an indispensable operation to eliminate its sediments and increase its enjoyment on the palate, in the case of younger wines, decanting is essential if there are reductions and there is a need to open it.
Not all wines need decanting: Too often its charm and elegance lead to inappropriate use or only for aesthetic and scenographic purposes. Decanter is an element able to embellish and give luster to the table. In fact it has its own charm, it makes any banquet more elegant and solemn and embellishes the mise en place of every table.
Remember that first of all its function is to separate any solid suspensions of the bottom. It also has an oxygenating action on the wine, especially if it is a product that has been aged for a long time in the cellar. Or white wines served at too low a serving temperature tend to make the palate perceive excessive acidity: decanting allows them to be enjoyed at a suitable temperature, thus enhancing their aromas and flavors. We can simplistically generalize into two categories:
Decant red wine
There is a very common mistake that you see around: red wines do not necessarily have to be decanted! However, it is true that it is generally red wines that most need to be decanted into the decanter. This is because often the aromas of red wine evolve over time, as the wine has contact with oxygen, but also because it is the components that give color to the wine that “precipitate” over the years, that is, they become solid and they end up at the bottom of the bottle. Structured red wines, aged in wooden barrels, from 5 onwards it is recommended to use the decanter only if it has solid residues or is “closed” or “reduced”.
Red wine settling time
If the nose is blocked, 20 minutes of decanter will be enough, for the most important wines you can wait even 40 minutes. To avoid mistakes I recommend that you taste the wine every 20 minutes: you can really feel how it changes over time! If it smells of reduction, leave the wine in the decanter for 30 minutes and the stench should disappear.
Even in the case of young, very tannic and / or acidic wines it is advisable to decant.
Decant the white wine
Generally white wines do NOT need to be decanted. Their scents are very delicate and a lot of oxygen could make them fade quickly.
White wine settling time
There may be a need to decant white wine if you smell reduction on the nose, i.e. rotten eggs or a burnt match.
In these cases about 20 minutes of oxygenation will be enough: I advise you to let the wine rest directly on the glass. You will rarely find solid residues in white wines.
Even in the case of young, very tannic and / or acidic wines it is advisable to decant
Decanter is a wine and wine-lifestyle media brand. It includes a print and digital magazine, fine wine tasting events, a news website, a subscription website – Decanter Premium, and the Decanter World Wine Awards. The magazine, published in about 90 countries on a monthly basis, includes industry news, vintage guides and wine and spirits recommendations. Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) is a wine competition founded in 2004 With over 15,000 entries per year, the DWWA is the world’s biggest wine competition. The results of the competition are published on Decanter’s website and in Decanter’s August edition.