Decanting Wine, Pouring and Other Serving Tips

There is still a lot of debate over when decanting wine is necessary. This section provides you with some information on when you should decant it. It also includes tips for pouring and serving.

Decanting Reds

decanting red wine

There are really only two times when it is essential to decant. The first is to remove sediment from it. The second is to tame it a little if it is too tannic to drink.

Decanting wine with sedimentation gives you the opportunity to remove the sediment from the bottle before pouring it into your glass. If they are not decanted, the sediment will end up in your glass making it a little more difficult to drink it.

Since the sedimentation can be bitter tasting, decanting wine will increase your enjoyment too. Wines that might include sediments are aged red wines that are around or over 10 years old. You might also find it in one that has had little or no filtration done during the production process.

The second time it's necessary to decant your wines is if it is too tannic to drink. Wines with more tannins, such as a heavy Cabernet Sauvignon, are a little too tannic to drink. Decanting it, allows it to open up a little more and soften out the tannins before drinking it.


Decanting Other Wines

Today, it is also common to decant, or aerate, all wines before consuming. You should open wines at least two or three hours before you drink them.

However, if you don't have the time, you can also aerate or 'decant' these wines in order to consume them earlier. As with heavier tannins wines, aerating or decanting wines allows them to mix with oxygen and open up a little before drinking them.


Five Steps to Follow for Decanting Wine

To find out if your bottle has sediment, hold it up to a light and see if there are objects floating around. If so, decanting wine is necessary to remove the sediment. If you don't see anything floating, then decanting it is not necessary.

Here are the five steps to follow to decant your reds:

  1. Set your bottle upright on the counter for a few hours or even up to a day. This will allow the sediment to move to the bottom of the bottle. Be careful when moving it, as you do not want to shake up or stir it around in the process.

  2. Once it's had time to settle, slowly and carefully open the bottle. Again, you want to make sure when you are decanting wine you don't move it around too much as that will stir up the sediment.

  3. Slowly pour it into another container. The goal is to pour it without sediment in the container and leave the sediment in the bottle.

  4. Have a light behind it as you pour it, so you can see when bits of sediment start to pour into the container. Once you see the first pieces, stop pouring. Usually you will only have a little bit of vino still in the bottle and it will be filled with the sediment.

  5. Once you have decanted it, you want to drink it as soon as possible. Once the air starts mixing with it, the taste and aromas will begin to change. It is best to begin drinking it no later than an hour after decanting.

As I mentioned above, other reasons you may want to decant is if it's too tannic to drink or you want to consume your bottle right away. If this is the reason for decanting, you can simply pour it into the decanter, swirl it around a few times and wait 15 to 20 minutes. After that, it is ready for tasting. Find a great decanter for your wines.


Four Tips for Pouring and Serving

If you don't need to decant, you are then ready to begin pouring and serving your wine. Here are tips for this part of the wine tasting process:

  1. Reds can be enjoyed in any glass, but using wine glasses specifically designed for reds will improve the taste and aroma of it. Discover new red wine glasses.

  2. red wine serving tips

  3. The temperature of your wine when it is served can also impact the taste, acidity, fruitiness and balance. If it's too warm, it will be harsher and you'll taste more of the alcohol. If it's too cool, it will taste a little too thin and light. The best temperature for serving is at or just below room temperature (60° to 65° F). Visit the section serving temperature recommendations for more specific information.

  4. Once the wine is opened, give it a little time in the bottle to mix slightly with the oxygen. Giving it just a few minutes to open up will allow it to breathe a little before pouring it into glasses.

  5. Only fill up your glass about half full to allow it to continue to mix with oxygen as you drink. Many people also like to swirl theirs around, so this gives them the space in their glass to do this. This process allows it to mix more with oxygen before drinking.

Want to learn more about storing your bottles before openeing? Check out the section 8 Tips for Storing. You will learn about the different things you need to do in order to preserve your bottles in storage. If you want to store yours after it has been opened, then check out the section Storing Opened Wine for a few easy tips and tricks.

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