Is wine decanter decoration or utility? The doubts about the functionality of the wine decanter are, unfortunately very frequent. Wines do not come with a user manual, and the reality is that only a few know the real function of decanting. The whole process of decanting is about aerating and removing eventual sediment from your wine to make it look and taste better.
The wine decanter doesn’t only serve to embellish your dinner table, but it will also enhance the organoleptic characteristics of the wine. Originally, the decanters are used to separate the wine from the solid deposits that are formed over the years, especially in long ageing red wines. This way the liquid material is separated from the sediments caused by ageing and maturation in the bottle. Even today we associate decanting with blended red wines such as Bordeaux or Rioja, wines that throw a lot of sediment while they age. This simple operation will make wine more smooth, less acidic and less tannic.
When it comes to younger wines, we want to improve their structure by letting them more in contact with oxygen. Aerating wine will enhance wine’s flavour and soften it. It also helps eliminate possible stenches from wine that has remained in the enclosure for a long time.
Many types of decanters are distinguished depending on their designs and utilities. Nowadays, classic decanters have been evolving and turning towards into the so-called aerators. But focusing on the utility of each one of them related to its design, we will mainly distinguish two types of decanters: decanter for maximum oxygenation and decanter for minimum oxygenation.
Decanter for maximum oxygenation will provide enough oxygen to your wine in order to enhance the purity, aroma and taste. Pouring the wine into the decanter air makes its way into the wine. This type of decanters come with a large bottom to encourage maximum wine aeration. The structure of their walls allows the wine to „break” while pouring and removing sediment that may have built over time.
On the other side, a decanter for minimum oxygenation come with a narrow lip and a steep inclination of the walls which will allow wine to slide through the walls of the container without breaking. It is necessary to point out that it’s always good to have decanter accompanied with some useful instruments for decanting such as a candle. The candle will ensure a steady state of wine flow and help visualize the sediments as you pour your wine.