Decanter yes or decanter no? This seems to be one of the puzzles of all wine lovers, divided between those who like to use flashy decanters and those who deny their usefulness altogether. But why and especially when is it really appropriate to use a decanter? Let us see together when and how to use it.
We have written about decanters in the past, talking about red wines and aged wines. But the subject is of such interest, and also a real area of discussion among winelovers, that it is worth clarifying. We do this with 7 questions and as many simple answers, to understand when to use the decanter and when to do without.
1. What does decanter mean?
The word decanter derives from 'de canto' and, in the meaning that interests us here, means 'to set aside' (the other meaning is that of lavish praise).
2. What is the decanter?
A decanter is a glass or crystal container with a narrow, pot-bellied neck at the bottom.
3. What is the purpose of the decanter?
The decanter is primarily used to separate the wine from any sediment. It is a physical process.
Thanks to its shape, it also helps oxygenate the wine, allowing excess carbon dioxide to be removed.
In this way, the wine releases its aromas more quickly. Time, here, is really a key concept: the decanter also acts as an 'accelerator' for tasting.
4. When is the decanter used?
The use of the decanter is indicated when a wine has the typical 'bottom'. This is used to separate the solid parts, which remain in the bottle.
Everyone decides whether to also use it to oxygenate the wine - red wine - if it needs it to express itself at its best. Here the distinction is rather whether or not one has remembered to open the bottle in advance.
The decanter can prove to be a double-edged sword. What experts absolutely advise against is the use of the decanter with very old red wines, because after many years without oxygen, too rapid exposure to oxygen can damage them irreparably. Every wine has its own balance, which is particularly delicate in the case of a wine that has aged for a long time in the bottle.
5. How is the decanter used?
The wine should be poured slowly into the decanter, to keep the bottoms under control and not to let it oxygenate too abruptly. To be clear: the wine must not bubble while pouring.
6.Are all decanters the same?
No, the shapes are the most diverse: standard, carafe, large decanter, duck (with or without handle), horn or swan.
Apart from the more extravagant shapes, decanters with wider necks greatly favour oxygenation and are therefore suitable for younger reds, while decanters with narrow necks tend to contain it and are therefore preferable for older wines.
7. Why does the decanter seem to be out of fashion today?
The world of wine also thrives on contrasts and changing trends. Today, experts tend to look at the decanter as an instrument that makes a lot of scene and whose usefulness has been forgotten, which, as we have seen, is primarily that of separating wine from deposits.
After a great passion for the use of the decanter in years gone by, the tendency among professionals today is to believe that the benefits of oxygenation can be obtained simply by opening the bottle a few hours beforehand, or even just by serving in the right glass. And of course having a little patience.
Let's not forget that the very act of swirling the glass, especially if it is full-bodied, allows not only to aerate the wine, but also to give the wine time to express itself in all its expressive parabola, following the entire evolution of its aromas.
No hurry, because the pleasure of wine also benefits from slowness, to perceive the wine's progression.