What is decanting? It means transferring (decanting) the contents of a wine bottle into another receptacle (the decanter) before serving.
Two things happen to wine when it is decanted.
It separates the wine from any remaining sediment.
The resulting agitation causes the wine to mix with oxygen, enabling it to develop and come to life at an accelerated pace (this is particularly important for younger wine).
Take a look at our quality decanters we have at the front of the store.
(excerpt taken from L'esprit & le Vin - Golden Rules of Wine Tasting.)
Young wines are still growing, so their future qualities need to be brought to the forefront while faults inherent in young wines such as acidity and high tannin content are masked.
Oxygenation reveals the qualities of the wine by encouraging rapid oxygenation of the molecules, allowing them to develop complex aromatic qualities reminiscent of fruits and flowers.
Ideal decanters for young wines must ensure that a significant surface area of the wine is in contact with the air, and so are either of a "flattened" shape with a broad base, or horizontal, of "Duck" style.
Aged wine is both delicate and fragile by nature. It must be decanted carefully making sure it is poured slowly down the neck of the decanter, to ensure very slight oxygenation. This will gently deliver its aromas, already at their peak.
Decanters for aged red wines are a tell shape with a long neck on a slightly rounded base. The narrowness of the neck allows air flow to be regulated thus gently awakening the aromas. A Decanter Stopper are also frequently used with decanters for Aged Reds.
White wines' aromas are both subtle and ephemeral, reluctant to reveal themselves.
The aim of oxygenating a white wine is both to release its aromas by oxygenating the molecules, and also to protect them from evaporating too rapidly.
White wine decanters are either tall and slim with a more or less oblong base topped with a long narrow neck which limit air circulation and slow down the dissipation of aromas, or round with sides that can be plunged into an ice bucket for cooling at frequent intervals.