Monthly Archives: August 2011

Do I Need to Decant the Wine?

Question from Janice: On the back label of a wine I just bought it says to decant it for an hour before serving it. Which wines need to be decanted? How do I know how long? Does it matter what kind of decanter I use? 

Reply: Hi, Janice. Thanks for writing! You can decant just about any wine except for a bubbly, but reds seem to be the wines that benefit the most. Especially vintage Port. 

There are two different reasons to decant your wine. In short: 

1. To help young wine become more expressive.
2. To remove old wine from its sediment. 

Many of us like to decant young reds because it makes them more expressive. Wine that, initially, seems to have nothing to say may open up like a fragrant flower on a warm afternoon! If there’s any off aroma, it will blow off unless there’s something really wrong with the wine. It’s fine to splash it around a bit to give it some extra aeration.

I’m not very scientific about how long. Big reds may need more time than the lighter ones. An hour or two should be plenty of time. 

TIP! I like to taste the wine before decanting it so I can enjoy the way it evolves over several hours.  Continue reading
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