How often do you decant your wine, do you even proceed to? What difference does it make? Well, you have come to the right place to get to know this technique of wine tasting better. Not many are familiar with the secrets of decanting.
What is the wine decanting?
It is a process of pouring wine from one glassware into another, from the wine bottle into the decanter. In usual cases, wine is served straight from a decanter, but if demanded and due to some high-end restaurant policies, the decanted wine can be poured back into the original bottle. Wine decanting is usually presented in high-end restaurants but can be performed at home as well.
Why decanting wine?
Not all wines are suitable for decanting. Although you may attempt to, the wines that are best for decanting are heavy ones, full-bodied, and preferably aged. One of the main purposes of this procedure is to separate sediments, which is a solid material that settles at the end of the wine bottle, a tank, or barrel as it ages. Those sediments will not look pleasant in your wine glass, the taste and the sensation that will be left will throw you off a little. As one decants wine, they will be able to smell, taste, and feel the full beauty and magic of it. As you slowly decant the wine, deriving from the fact that it’s a very slow process, all those sediments will stay in the bottle and you will get a nice clear flavorful solution in your glass, and not the solution, let me correct myself, liquid gold. Swirling wine with your glass creates a similar effect as decanting wine, it helps the flavors to come out and be noticeable, as it’s exposed to oxygen. That’s the reason why decanting is a slow process, it takes oxygen as the wine is poured from the bottle into the decanter.
One may ask- can I decant white wine?
In my personal opinion, one should always feel free to explore themselves in this field, being a wine enthusiast means playing with every flavor and method you can get a hold of, so why not decant white wine? I think more people should try this method and get to see how every type of wine reacts to this process, after all, it’s all chemistry, isn’t it?
There are a few white wines that can benefit from decanting, preferably the ones that have been aged well. As the purpose of decanting is opening up the wine, young white wines wouldn’t benefit from it.
Let’s talk more about experimenting- can Champagne and Sparkling wine be decanted? And the answer is yes, as long as anything comes to imagination, everything is possible. Some people like me, find the bubbles in the young champagnes very aggressive, and in my opinion, they stop us from discovering its flavor. When Champagnes and sparkling wines age, it’s gentler and is less intense in sensation. Decanting can create that effect. But in the end, highly tannic and full-bodied wines benefit most from this – wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet blends, Syrah, and Syrah blends.
How to decant wine?
There are a few simple steps to decanting wine. I will be sharing my experience from my enology classes and practical studies from my university, Les Roches. Let’s see how it is done at a high-end restaurant. The person performing this process of art is usually a sommelier.
Step 1: Let’s consider that the wine is already selected and the table is set accordingly to the wine. Present the bottle to the guest that has selected the wine. That specific guest is the one responsible for choosing and tasting it before everyone else at the table. That guest is responsible for approving.
Step 2: After you show them the bottle and open it in front of the guests, pour a very little amount to the specific guest, let them taste it, and approve. After the approval, change the glasses. You usually have a little table to perform the procedure and to display the process.
Step 3: Your table is set, a small dish to put the cork on, a wine opener on the side, an essential hand/table cloth. A specific wine holder that might also be a dish just to rest the wine bottle on, a candle, and the most important, a decanter. There are many types of wine decanters as they are shown in the attached pictures to this article, but let’s imagine we are decanting a very rare and old full-bodied red wine, which is poured into the biggest decanter.
First, the candle is lit up. Secondly, the wine is poured from the bottle to the decanter, the bottle’s top part on top of the candle, so that sediments can be separated, and gently stirred with slow motions of circling.
The wine is Gently stirred around at the top of the candle and after the sommelier is done, the wine will be poured to the person that ordered it, approved, and then served to other guests. Now the guests have access to the display of flavors.
Any wine enthusiast should own a decanter at home and practice, experiment on more wines, and see how they perceive the flavors. The most interesting fact about this is the drastic difference it leaves before and after decanting, the taste is absolutely different. Wine decanting helps the wine become a better version of themselves. The process is mesmerizing itself, and the dish is so beautiful, how can one not own it at home? By this, we saw that wine tasting is a form of art.
Stay tuned for more unique, useful, fun, and interesting information about wines.
Tamar Tsikhelashvili, is the Global Wine Editor for TheFutureOfPR.com. A wine enthusiast, and from a family of wine creators – she has always been interested in winemaking. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org