Decanters: 101

Wanted to surprise QY with a decanter since he’s such a wine geek, thought it would be great for him cos he’s recently been into trying young reds. Being the wine noob that I was, I had to do some research to make sure I got it right! Here’s a consolidated list of findings for anyone in the interwebs that might find this helpful:
DECANTERS: A tidy 101.
Why decant wine?
  • Exposing wines to air allows their flavours to develop and deepen – whether they’re young or old
  • For older wines, decanting helps remove any impurities that naturally form over the years
  • Red wines benefit most from decanting; white wines usually do not have to be decanted
How to decant
  • For old wines: pour the wine into the decanter against a light so that you can easily detect sediment and prevent it from being poured into the decanter. (Stop when you see sediment at the neck of the bottle! Slow and steady does the trick :))
  • For young wines: pour it quickly into the decanter to ensure that the wine has maximum contact with oxygen – young wines generally need to breathe more as compared to older wines. YOU CAN BE AGGRESSIVE! Just don’t spill too much wine. It will be a waste.
How to choose a decanter
  • The shape of the decanter generally doesn’t affect the outcome of the wine! I was surprised by this. It’s all about aesthetics so you can choose one that suits your fancy
  • OH WAIT! I have found new info.
  • If you’re decanting with the specific intent of aerating wine – especially reds that are young – you would need a decanter that provides a large internal surface area. This will enable the wine to continue its process of aeration and gas exchange after the decanting has finished.
  • But if you have an old and relatively delicate red and your main purpose for decanting is to remove it from its sediment, then a taller, narrower decanter with a small internal surface area would be better since it would help retard any excessive aeration once it is opened.
  • In a practical sense, look for one that has a wide mouth, a stable base and that’s easy to hold – something that’s easy to clean as well
  • Look out for mouths that are cut (not rounded) – that saves you from a lot of spillage
  • A decanter is basically something you pour wine into. It could be made of expensive crystal or just a simple water pitcher… so you don’t necessarily have to spend too much on one!
  • Let your wine sit in the decanter for at least one hour before pouring. Do not let it sit for over 8 hours! it will turn into vinegar. D:
  • Remember to return wine to the bottle between usages so that it doesn’t spoil by long exposure to the air.

I ended up getting him a Riedel decanter that’s shaped like this:

And also a bunch of cleaning beads that will help remove stains / sediment without scratching the precious crystal

If you’re in Sunny Singapore, I think Takashimaya has a good range for you to choose from. The only local online shop I could find that sells decanter is Cafe Calva; for pretty reasonable rates.



Wine Definitions



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