This decanting 101 guide explains why and how to decant wine.
Many wines benefit from being decanted. The process which entails pouring wine from its bottle into a different vessel. The purpose is two-fold: to removing any sediment that may have formed over time and to aerate a wine to enhance its aromas and flavours. Decanting wines for 30 minutes to two hours can also help maximize aromas and flavours. As a rule, aged and delicate wines will require less time decanted, while young and robust wines with more tannins can benefit from being decanted for longer periods.
How to decant your wine for sediment:
Step 1: Choose a decanter or other clean, clear vessel from which the wine can easily be poured into glasses. And don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be a fancy crystal wine decanter, though of course it can be!
Step 2: Now open your wine bottle carefully. The goal here is to avoid disturbing any sediment.
Step 3: Hold a candle or flashlight under the neck of the bottle so that you can see any sediment in your wine as it nears the neck of the bottle.
Step 4: Slowly and steadily pour the wine into the decanter until you see the sediment reach the neck of the bottle. Sediment isn’t always chunky or obvious; in some cases, it can appear cloudy or dusty.
Step 5: Discard the remaining ounce or two of sediment-filled liquid in the bottle. The wine is now ready to serve.
How to decant your wine for aeration:
If your wine is young and quite tannic, feel free to vigorously pour the wine into a decanter to maximize the air contact, which will open or aerate the wine faster.