To Decant or Not to Decant?

That is the question! When and what should you Decant? Is it worth it to Decant a cheaper wine? Or is it only used for high end, special wines? Also, how they heck do I clean it!? With so many unknowns regarding decanting, no wonder it has a permanent place in your china hutch.

Why Decant?

When we Decant a wine, oxygen comes into contact with it and helps it release its trapped aromas. Remember your wine has been stuck in a bottle for a while, it needs to breathe! Decanting will also make grippy tannins more smooth.

How to Decant:

Ideally, you have a wine that has been up right at least 24 hours. That way if there is any sediment present in the wine, it has time to settle to the bottom. Another helpful item to have on hand is a candle or small flash light. The purpose of this light source is so you’re able to see through the bottle while pouring. You want to be able to see through the bottle during this time because it will help you detect any sediment before it reaches the decanter. When you’re ready to start pouring, hold your decanter at a 45 degree angle and pour the wine slowly. Make sure the neck of the bottle is over the candle/flashlight so you can notice any sediment.

What Wines Can I Decant?

For the most part, you can Decant most any red wines, aged white wines like Chardonnay, and even Orange Wine (I highly recommend it)! There are even champagne decanters out there. In regards to champagne decanting, I feel that is purely personal preference. Much of the aged toasty notes you get from champagne as it ages, you will lose with decanting. A word of caution with delicate reds like Pinot Noir and aged wines. I have personally felt that some delicate wines fall apart with decanting. If you want to try decanting a Pinot noir I’d say Decant half the bottle, and see if you like it.

Here is a list of suggested decant times for popular wines. However, make sure to check on your wine as it’s decanting to ensure it’s progressing to your satisfaction. Also don’t be afraid to Decant cheaper wines. There’s no rule that says you have to hold out for your splurge wines. Decanting is a great trick to help blow off sulphur compounds from cheaper wines.

Barbera: 30 mins

Blaufränkisch: 30 mins

Bordeaux Blend: 60+ mins

Cabernet Sauvignon: 60+ mins

Carménère: 30 mins

Cinsault: 30 mins

Gamay: 30 mins

Garnacha: 30 mins

Malbec: 30 mins

Merlot: 30 mins

Montepulciano: 60+ mins

Nebbiolo: 60+ mins

Nero d’Avola: 60+ mins

Petit Verdot: 60+ mins

Petite Sirah: 60+ mins

Pinot Noir: 30 mins

Pinotage: 60+ mins

GSM Blend: 30 mins

Sangiovese: 30 mins

Syrah: 60+ mins

Tannat: 60+ mins

Tempranillo: 60+ mins

Zinfandel: 30 mins

How Do I Clean This Thing?

In short, I have found that using a pipette brush works very well. Hand washing is always best and make sure to dry your decanter very well!! I’ve discovered this paper towel on a pipette that does the trick!

For more check out my latest video on Decanting.


Amanda Claire Goodwin

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