Red Wine Decanting

Red Wine Decanting

When the cool weather is upon us, many wine lovers find themselves switching over to red wines to warm up for the winter. Here’s a quick little trick to show off your red-wine expertise next time you’re planning an evening with red wine embellishments – Decanting. Decanting is the simple act of pouring wine from its bottle into some other container. According to wine aficionados, there are several good reasons to decant most red wines.

If you are truly a collector of wines and ports and allow your selections to mature for longer lengths of time, you should consider decanting. Bottles that are aged on their sides often get a nasty-tasting sludge that settles along the bottom side of the bottle.

In fact, aged bottles of wine should not only be decanted, but they should be stood upright several hours before decanting—to settle the sediment at the very bottom. Then once you begin pouring wine with sediments into the decanter, you’ll need to shine a flashlight upward into the decanter so that you can stop pouring once the sediment starts flowing to the neck of the wine bottle. Simply discard the bottle once decanted with the sediment in it.

The second reason to decant most red wines is to let it breathe. It helps soften any harsh tannins and open up its aromatics – especially any not-quite-ready reds like young, full-bodied cabernet sauvignons, zinfandels, merlots, brunellos, and syrahs. Young wines typically require two to three hours of time in the decanter before indulging; but taste the wine periodically to see how it’s opening up. If you’re getting impatient for the wine to fully open, it’s okay to double-decant: that is, pour the wine back and fourth several times between two containers to speed up aeration.

Conclusion: Most wines will improve after being decanted for a half an hour—they taste smoother and more integrated than drinking them from the bottle. You wines benefit most with a two- to three-hour air time.

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