Table of Contents

    Why And When You Should Decant Your Wine

    Decant Your Wine

    What Is Wine Decanting?

    If you’ve dined at an upscale restaurant or visited a winery then you’ve likely experienced the process of decanting. This is when a bottle of wine is poured into another vessel. 

    The wine you’re drinking will usually be served from the decanter, but sometimes you’ll see restaurants pouring the wine back into the original bottle.

    Many wine drinkers are unsure of which wines require the process. They’re also unsure of when the proper time is to decant. Some will even question if this is just an outdated tradition that has no place in the modern world of wine drinking. 

    However, this process serves two very important purposes. First, to separate your wine from sediment that comes with age. Second, to expose the aromas and flavors of the wine to its full capacity.

    Why Should You Decant?

    You don’t have to decant every bottle of wine you drink, but when it comes to those vintage ports and beautifully-aged Bordeaux wines, you’ll need to rid the bottle of the sediment. Not only does sediment create a cloudy appearance in the wine, but it also makes the wine taste far more astringent than it should.

    This process must be done with care so that the sediment stays in the bottle as the wine is transported to its new vessel for drinking. You’ll also find that there are wine drinkers and connoisseurs who use decanting as a method to aerate wine. Exposure to oxygen unlocks aromas and flavors of otherwise younger wines. Fuller-bodied wines with high tannin content will also benefit from aeration. 

    Once you’ve decanted your wine, there’s hardly any need to swirl the wine in your glass. The process of aeration has already begun. Playing too much with oxygen will actually cause your wine to lose some of its flavor and aroma. 

    Can You Decant White Wine? 

    This isn’t a widely known fact, but yes. You may decant white wine if you wish to do so. Its a whole lot simpler than decanting red wines since you’re not at risk of ruining your bottle of white wine. This is because whites hardly contain any sediment. 

    Higher-end white wines will truly benefit from the process, especially those that have aged. Pouring it into another vessel will allow the wine to lose some of that slightly off-balance flavor. 

    Allowing the wine to catch its breath and sit in another glass bottle helps open the wine up. A properly aerated wine will present its true colors in aroma and taste. WIth newer wines, you don’t need to make the extra effort. Simply uncork and enjoy.  

    Should You Decant Sparkling Wines?

    You’re correct for thinking that this would defeat the purpose of having fizz. Decanting might dissolve the bubbles, but older vintage champagnes are said to benefit from a ‘slight’ decant. 

    Champagne is known for its complex aromas and flavors, so when Riedel introduced a decanter designed specifically for champagne, one has to wonder “is there a method to this madness?”.

    Champagne ages well in most cases. Over time, the fizz will travel more delicately on your tongue and presents itself in a less dominant fashion. Decanting is also known to bring down the aggressive fizz in younger champagnes down a notch. However, there are still those out there that argue that the overpowering stream of bubbles is what makes the experience unique. 


    Whatever your stance or reason for decanting may be, it does serve a purpose.  

    Other than aeration and sediment removal, decanting really is just a matter of personal taste or even habit. It most certainly makes a wine-drinking experience that much more pleasurable and has truly become the trademark of an oenophile who’s in pursuit of perfection.