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How To Decant Red Wine

By Edited Apr 11, 2014 0 0

How To Decant Red Wine:

Red Wine Decanting and Aeration

How To Decant Red Wine

Unless you've been living in a cave, you've likely seen a red wine decanter like the one pictured above before. These little devices are found everywhere these days, particularly in swanky shops and in the homes of self-proclaimed wine afficionados. But are these items useful, or are they just shelf baubles meant to impress? Learning how to decant red wine is a great thing to focus on if you enjoy the beverage, and this article will teach you all about it. 

This piece will talk all about how to decant red wine, and we'll touch largely on the process of red wine decanting and why it improves the quality and taste of a red wine so much. We'll talk about the various types of red wine decanters

and aerators out there, and what you can expect to find in the way of price. 

Let's begin, and learn more about how to decant red wines!

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(price as of Apr 11, 2014)

What Is a Wine Decanter and How Does It Work?

Red Wine Decanting

How To Decant Red Wine: Red Wine Decanters

If you're entirely unfamiliar with these objects, or if until now you're only vaguely aware of their existence in the space time continuum, allow me to answer the question of what is a wine decanter before we go any further. A red wine decanter is a specialized jug or carafe designed to hold a wine directly before consumption. Obviously a fine wine doesn't last long after being uncorked, so red wine decanting is intended to take place shortly before you enjoy it. 

Aside from providing an excellent and attractive way to show off your fine red at the dinner table, red wine decanters serve another purpose. The shape of the vessel, combined with the pouring action as you transfer it from the bottle, helps to literally improve the taste of the drink itself.

The idea behind red wine aeration is that the addition of oxygen molecules to a red wine can help release additional aroma from the drink, enhancing the experience. There are some who theorize that it also helps 'soften' the taste of some more tannic wines out there. This has yet to be proven, but one thing seems clear: red wine decanters greatly improve the taste and experience of a nice red. 

A red wine decanter also helps to filter out sediment found in older vintages or in wines that were not properly filtered beforehand. A good decant keeps the sediment in the bottle and the liquid is much easier to drink. 

It should be mentioned also that the use of a wine decanter is useful in a situation where you don't want to be advertising the label of the wine of choice for the evening. A decanter is a great way to show off the drink in a classy way, avoiding tackiness.

Vinturi Deluxe Red Wine Aerator Set
Amazon Price: $89.95 $34.99 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 11, 2014)

Red Wine Decanting Tips:

Red Wine Aerator

-Make sure to get a high quality decanter. Lower quality ones won't show well, and they tend to be less effective. This doesn't mean you need to break the bank, just choose a moderately priced one instead of the bargain basement. Consider it an investment.

-Red wine aeration can be achieved without a decanter. Consider purchasing a red wine aerator

. This is a device that fits onto the end of a wine bottle and adds oxygen to the drink as you pour. Again, this artificially ages the wine, so it can improve a lower budget variety quite nicely. 

-Some wines are said to be less suitable for aeration. Pinot Noirs, for example, are considered delicate and easy to 'bruise' with a red wine decanter. Some people consider this a myth, however, and proclaim that all reds are better when decanted. It's up to you and your taste buds!

-They do have white wine aerators and decanters out there, and a white can definitely benefit from additional oxygen (though they rarely face the same issues of sediment that reds do). White wine decanters are typically smaller in size and profile, but they can be effective with certain varieties. 

Vinturi Essential Wine Aerator
Amazon Price: $50.00 Too low to display Buy Now
(price as of Apr 11, 2014)

How To Decant Red Wine?

Red Wine Decanting Process

So how do you use your red wine decanter properly? Fortunately for you, these things were created with proper aeration in mind. The shape of the vessel is ideally suited to mix in the right proportion of oxygen without overdoing it, at least with most models. You can see an example of a good pour in the first image of this article.

The basic idea is to make sure the liquid enters the vessel with some movement, allowing oxygen to mix in with the wine. You don't want to splash or bubble the wine, however, because this could not only make a big mess, but over oxygenate it. If you're overzealous in your pouring, you might also end up with some sediment in there too, something to be avoided. 

You should then allow the wine to stand for a bit out of the bottle before consuming. Red wine decanting involves a wait of anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour or so. Experiment with it and find out how long you like to wait (if you can handle waiting, that is!). 

By decanting a red wine, you're essentially artificially aging it, so it's a good process to get into the habit of. A lower budget red will drink like a much more expensive one. See if your friends notice the difference without prompting!

Riedel Amadeo Decanter
Amazon Price: $425.00 $349.99 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 11, 2014)
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