When to Decant a Wine
to Decant a
wine is really quite easy. Even though there are no absolute
rules to tell you which wines to decant, here are three
guidlines that should serve you well.
1 ) If the wine is old enough that you suspect it may have
thrown sediment (5 years old or more, generally) then you
will want to decant. The purpose of decanting in this
situation is clearly to keep sediment from being poured into
the glasses. If the wine is very old, it should be decanted
only a short while before it is to be consumed. The bouquet
of the wine is likely to be fleeting and may disappear if
the wine is opened too far in advance.
2 ) If you have a big, young red wine that is very closed or
very tannic because of its youth, you should decant it. In
this case, you are decanting to allow the wine to breath and
soften. This exposure to oxygen will cause the young wine to
open up (be more aromatic and flavorful) and will soften the
effect of the tannins on your palate. In the case of a 'big'
young wine, you will want to decant well before you are
planning on consuming the wine. A period of 2 to 24 hours
could be appropriate. This will allow enough time for the
bouquet to develop through exposure to oxygen. If the wine
is opened and decanted too short a time before consumption,
the bouquet may still be 'closed' and subdued.
3 ) When you want to make the situation special, decant.
Decanting can be a great way to add to the 'theater' of fine
Wines that would not generally be decanted would include
most 'everyday wines' and most white wines.