Artisan Wine Review
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Decanting Wine

Why Decant?

Traditionally, there are two basic reasons for decanting bottles of wine.   The first reason is to empty the contents of a bottle of wine into another vessel in order separate the wine from the bitter tasting sediment in the bottom of the bottle.   The second reason is to aerate the wine so as to accelerate opening up its aroma and taste characteristics.


Over time, the suspended particles (dead yeast cells, grape pulp, etc.) in a wine that was unfined and unfiltered will, due to the effects of gravity, eventually drop down to the surface of the bottle that is closest to the ground.   If it was stored lying down, then sediment will accumulate on the bottom side of the bottle, while if it has been stored standing up, then the sediment will form a ring around the bottle’s punt.

Decanting to Eliminate Sediment:

While there are several elaborate devices on the market to accomplish this task, the basic method uses a decanter and a candle along with the bottle to be poured.   By slowly pouring the wine from the bottle into the decanter, the person doing the procedure is able to watch for any of the bitter tasting sediment that is trying to escape from the bottle.   The candle, which is placed below and slightly behind the neck of the bottle, allows one to easily observe what is going on as the liquid is being poured.   Once a bit of the sediment is detected in the neck, the pouring ends and the remaining liquid on the bottom of the bottle is left behind.   Ideally, this small offering would be given to the cook who then can use it in deglazing the meal that will accompany this fine old vintage.

Aerating the Wine:

This task also offers several different gadgets that will accelerate the process of opening up the wine.   The basic procedure described in the last paragraph allows for two things to happen; Pouring the liquid mixes in large quantities of air throughout the wine, while the decanter’s larger surface area allows more of the wine to be exposed to air than would have been possible if it had remained inside the original bottle.   Both of these factors help in opening up the wine's aromatics.


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