Decanting releases and maximises aromas and flavours, in both red and a few white wines. It allows your wine to aerate or ‘breathe’.
A second reason to decant is to remove any sediment that lies at the bottom of the bottle or attaches itself to the cork in the form of crystals before serving.
Decanters, wine funnels and aerators are specifically designed to both filter sediment and aerate the wine. The funnel directs the wine against the inner wall of the decanter, releasing flavour by maximising the surface of the wine that is exposed to the air.
A few points to remember…
- In general, the heavier and denser the colour of red wine the longer it will need to breathe.
- Young and easy drinking new world reds usually do not need to be decanted.
- Rich, oaky whites do become more complex if they are allowed to breathe for 15 minutes or so.
- Decanters are meant to be used for a few hours to allow wine to breathe… not for storage.