Why you need a decanter
There are a couple of reasons you need a decanter for your wine. The first reason is to separate the wine from the sediment that’s formed. This is mainly needed for vintage ports and older red wines, which produce this type of sediment as they age. As you pour the wine, the sediment can be stirred up, clouding its appearance and giving it a bitter flavor with a gritty texture. Decanting the wine keeps the sediment out of your glass.
Another reason to use a decanter is to aerate the wine. This adds oxygen to the wine as you pour it into the decanter, plus gives it more of a surface area for even more oxygenation. This helps open up the wine, boosting its flavor and aroma. Decanters can speed up the aeration process, allowing you to drink it sooner than if you just left it in the bottle.
Features to consider while choosing a wine decanter
If you’re in the market for a new wine decanter, there are a few things you should look for. This ensures you have the best type of wine decanter for your favorite vintages.
Capacity and which bottles it works with
Each wine decanter comes with a specific capacity. This tells you the largest bottle size you can pour into the decanter. The smaller sized bottles are the 187.5 Piccolo, the 375 ml Demi, or the 750 ml Standard bottle. Since all of the decanters that we`ve reviewed have a capacity of 750 ml or more, you can use all of them for any of these bottle sizes.
There are larger bottles of wine available, though. The Magnum is 1.5 L, so could be used with the Smaier Wine Decanter, though the Veracity & Verve Hand Blown Glass Wine Decanter will be too small for this bottle. Larger bottles like the 3 L Double Magnum, 4.5 L Jeroboam, or anything larger won`t completely fit into the decanters on our list, so you may need to split the bottles or get a much larger decanter for these extra-large bottles.
There are two main types of materials used to make wine decanters. Crystal decanters are the most durable type, which is why this material is used for the larger, more artistic designs, such as the Riedel Boa Decanter. Glass decanters are a bit more delicate, so they are usually made with thicker walls to increase their lifespan. Their shapes are also much simpler, like the Menu Winebreather Carafe. Standard glass is also better for cleaning in the dishwasher, though it is best to clean both options by hand.
The only dimension that really matters when it comes to wine decanters is the base. This is because the wider the base, the faster the wine will oxygenate. For this reason, the wider bases are better for wines that take a long time to decant.
The wide base on the Le Chateau Wine Decanter
would be best for full-bodied red wines that normally take hours to decant. Light-bodied red wines work best in a small or medium-sized chilled decanter. For whites or Rosé
wines that don’t actually need decanting, a small chilled decanter is fine.
A wine decanter seems pretty basic but there are a few extras to look for. One is dishwasher safe materials. Though crystal should always be hand-washed, some of the glass models can be placed in the dishwasher for quick and easy cleaning.
Accessories are also handy. A stopper keeps small insect and dust out of the decanter. The Rabbit Super-Aerating Decanter System includes a screen to sift out the sediment, plus it has a wine aerator to help increase the amount of oxygen in the drink as you pour it in. Some decanters even include a lid that allows you to store the wine right in the decanter instead of pouring any leftover wine back into the bottle and placing it back to a wine cooler.
A drip-proof design keeps spills and drips to a minimum. This way, you won’t waste any of the wine as you pour it, plus it keeps your table or tablecloth much cleaner. Some manufacturers offer designs that combine features of a decanter and a dispenser.
How to use a decanter
If you have a newer bottle of red wine or any white wine, decanting is quite simple to do. This is because there is no sediment to deal with. You simply need to pour the wine slowly into the decanter and then leave it be until it has properly aerated.
Older red wines or some Vintage Port wines do produce some natural sediments as they age, so to keep this sediment from altering the look, flavor, or aroma, follow these steps to keep your wine sediment-free.
- Leave the bottle upright for 24 hours before drinking to help sediment settle to the bottom.
- Remove the cork and wipe the neck of the bottle.
- Hold a light beneath the neck of the bottle.
- Slowly pour the wine into the decanter.
- When you see the sediment reach the bottle’s neck, stop pouring.
- Discard the sediment-filled wine in the bottle.
- Serve the wine in the decanter.