Often a misunderstood aspect of enjoying wine, decanting wine is a rewarding and important process when it comes to wine tasting.
Decanting wine can improve the tasting experience. It can also ruin a wine. When done correctly, decanting can elevate even the most average wine experience. However, knowing when and whether or not to decant wine is not that straightforward. There are changes triggered by the process you should consider, along with keeping a few guidelines in mind.
Why Is Decanting Wine Important?
Despite not being mandatory, decanting adds value to any wine tasting experience, but do we know why should we decant wine? There are two main reasons for decanting wine: separating wine from sediment or aerating wine to bring out its flavor. Breaking it down, the first is physical and pertains to the separation of clarified wine from solids formed during aging. The second has to do with oxygen, which releases certain compounds bound within the bottle. Furthermore, decanting can also help sustain ambient temperatures. Decanters also bring up the temperature of any wine. If, for instance, your bottle is too cold because it came right out of the wine cooler, simply wash the decanter with warm water until reaching the appropriate temperature and pour the wine into it.
When and How Long to Decant Wine?
There are no hard-and-fast rules for neither when nor how long to decant a wine. It can take up as little as 5 minutes to about 2 hours. Generally, the very action of pouring a wine from the bottle into a decanter does most of the work. However, a rule of thumb is the more tannic the wine, the more time it needs to rest in the decanter. This is why high-tannin wines such as Syrah, Barolo or Chianti benefit from longer decantation times. You can speed up the decantation process by pouring the wine once or twice between two decanters, swirling the wine in the decanter, or getting a Vinturi wine aerator.
As for when, there are hardly any wine that won’t benefit even a bit from decanting. For younger wines, decanting helps soften tannins and elevate drinkability. Meanwhile, older wines also benefit from decantation through the removal of sediments, anywhere from 30 to 120 minutes. Keep in mind that over-decanting a wine can kill it by muting aromas and stripping flavors.
Although the decision of decanting a wine is entirely up to you, there are some cases when it is highly advisable to do so. Cheap wines usually taste better after decanting, the resulting wine can be very tasty and valuable. The same goes for expensive wines, the higher quality these are, the better they will taste after undergoing decantation.
The bottom line is decanting wine can be beneficial to most wines and there is no right or wrong time to do it. However, it is definitely not always necessary.
Simple Decanting Instructions for the Initiated
There no much science to decanting wine, but you should pay attention when doing it. It is important to decant wine in one slow, continuous pour. If you pour interruptedly, you could mix the sediment into the wine and defeat the purpose of the whole process. For basic decanting you will need a decanter and a clean cotton cloth. There are more meticulous ways to do it, but to decant wine properly you should do the following:
- Remove the cork and wipe the neck and lip of the bottle with the cloth.
- Pour the bottle vigorously into the decanter, trying to avoid spilling.
- Allow the wine to rest in the decanter for at least 30 minutes (longer for more tannic wines).
It might be obvious by now, but decanting wine isn’t just pouring a wine into a fancy vessel. It is a rewarding and powerful tool at every wine lover’s disposal to get the most of this wonderful beverage. Keep in mind there’s not always one answer to whether a particular wine should be decanted.
Decant the VenToSpain Wine Experience
Remember, decanting or not decanting is the question with no right or wrong answer. Like wine, decanting wine is about personal preference.
If you have never tasted Spanish wines before, it is never too late to give them a try. Are you curious about Spanish wines? Check out our international wine line VenToSpain. Put your newly gained decanting skills to test with our line of wines packing all the flavor and unique personality of Spain into the bottle. Do not miss out on discovering VenToSpain, all you can do is taste and enjoy.