why use a decanter

So what is a decanter? And while we’re on the subject – why would you even own one? I got one for Christmas one year and decided to try it. I was pleased that it actually works!

Decanters used to be used more often as wine was typically more plagued with sediment than it is now that we filter it mechanically. These days most wines you or I would buy are young enough and filtered enough to be crystal clear right from the bottle. Back in ‘the day’ though you needed to properly ‘decant’ or transfer your wine from the bottle leaving the sediment behind.

Our regular group got together to sample French wines and decided to decant two of them to see what difference it made. The first was a Beaujolais I bought for $19. This is made from Gamay grapes (my personal fave). As an aside, you have to know the region instead of the grape varietal when purchasing French wines. We tasted it as soon as we opened it straight from the bottle. It was light bodied with little finish and no real personality. I then splashed it heartily into my wide bottomed decanter and we proceeded to gossip about the ladies who weren’t there for about half an hour. Then we all tried it again. It was more aromatic, had a longer finish but didn’t really seem any smoother. It was different though.

The second was a terrible red that not a single person liked. It had a chemical taste right out of the bottle. Not one of us even finished our one ounce portion. Thirty minutes later we tried it again. Still gross. But I was happy to note it was a different gross. The wine smelled stronger and did taste yeasty and like a chemical. So, the experiment was a complete success!

According to thewinedoctor.com decanting should be considered for wines over 10 years old and wines that are very young. Young wines should be splashed into wide bottomed decanters to expose as much liquid to oxygen as possible. Older wines should be decanted slowly to avoid sediment which may make the wine unpleasant.

Here is a secret confession for those of you that read all the way to the end of my drivel… I have a fair sized stash of U-brew wine in my basement. We’ll get to why and how another time but I will tell you that even if I don’t decant it I always leave it open on the counter and it’s always better the next day!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jocellyn
    Feb 08, 2013 @ 09:32:45

    If I understand correctly, it’s not useful to buy a decanter for a 2010 wine? You should decant 2003 and older? I think decanters are so pretty, I might just buy one for looks anyway!



  2. frankkwine1982
    Feb 08, 2013 @ 10:45:20

    Isn’t it common sense to only decant old and very, very young wine?



  3. winecountrybc
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 11:24:40

    Yay, decanters! Nice article. You can also try it on whites as well. There are decanters out there that have a little tray for ice that will keep it slightly chilled as well.

    I used to work at a u-brew and they can benefit greatly from decanting as well.



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