When we decide to open a bottle that we have been keeping for years, it would mean the celebration of a very special occasion. Some of us are even in the habit of saving wine for especially important occasions, that will take place in the future, retirement, the football league, the world cup (“2018”), etc., and when the moment arrives we can sometimes see that the bottle contains sediment (possibly in bottles that have been stored for more than eight years). But this does not mean that the wine has been spoiled. These sediments are natural, as well as beneficial, since they are a sign that the wine is of great quality. These solid substances are tannins and other natural materials that are no longer soluble due to the evolution of the wine. So it doesn’t matter if you drink them, what happens is that they can have a bitter taste and spoil the wine that you had been looking forward to for so many years.
Therefore, it is advisable to decant this type of wine before drinking it. It is also the way in which we get the wine to oxygenate and evolve quickly, thus opening its aromas more.
How to decant wine
Decanting means separating a mixture by pouring a liquid from one container to another. That’s what we should do, pour the wine from the bottle to the decanter. It is best to tilt the decanter so that the wine flows down the sides and excess bubbles are avoided. Care must be taken to ensure that the sediments do not get poured into the decanter. Try putting a light bulb behind the bottle, which allows you to see clearly when the sediments are near the neck of the bottle.
Once you have transferred all the wine to the decanter, you must consume it within the next few hours. From that moment the wine is very quickly oxygenated and it loses its alcohol and aromas.
You can decant both young and mature wines to make them oxygenate, but they may require different methods.
On the one hand you may choose a decanter with a narrow neck and a wide base for young wines, which will encourage faster evolution, something that is often necessary.
For the mature wines, you can use a decanter with a long neck and a narrow base, which will cause it to oxygenate more slowly.
Another way to have a wine evolve through its oxygenation, is to open it an hour before serving it, which is known as “letting the wine breathe”.
Finally, IT IS NOT ADVISABLE TO WASH THE DECANTER WITH SOAP, this may add aromas that mask the very aroma of the wine itself, and part of the charm of decanting a wine may be lost.
You can wash the decanter by simply using water or a mixture of mineral water, crushed ice and coarse salt.
Now you know everything you need to know to decant wine.
I hope you have found it useful.