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  • Writer's pictureLiz Ogumbo-Regisford

The Art And Science Of Decanting Wine

Updated: May 23

Wine Decanters have been used for thousands of years; for as long as people have been drinking wine. In ancient Rome, wine was typically decanted into amphorae large urn-like vessels which were then buried in the ground to keep them cool. In medieval Europe, wine was decanted into elaborate glass vessels known as “finger bowls.” These bowls were often decorated with prints of fingers, hence their name. More recently, wine decanters have taken on a more functional design.



 The verb “decant” is derived from its Medieval Latin source, decanthare, "pour from the edge of a vessel."

 

In the realm of wine appreciation, few tools are as revered and essential as the decanter. This elegant vessel not only serves a functional purpose but also adds a touch of sophistication to my wine-drinking lifestyle. Whether you are a seasoned oenophile or a casual wine enthusiast, understanding the significance and proper use of a decanter can greatly enhance your wine experience.


Liz Ogumbo Wines - The Art And Science Of Decanting Wine

We call it an"art" because you need to do it without disturbing the sediment at the bottom which is easier said than done.


The Purpose of Decanting Wine


The Purpose Of Decanting Red Wine - Liz Ogumbo Wines

Decanting wine is a practice that dates back centuries, originally intended to separate wine from sediment. This process is particularly important for older red wines and vintage ports, which tend to develop sediment as they age. By carefully pouring the wine from its bottle into a decanter, the sediment remains at the bottom, leaving the wine clear and visually appealing. It’s fairly safe to assume that a red will have accumulated sediment after five to 10 years in the bottle, even if this can’t be verified visually, and should be decanted.


Beyond sediment removal, decanting also serves to aerate wine. This is especially beneficial for red wines, which often need time to "breathe" and reach their full potential. Exposure to air allows the wine to open up, releasing its aromas and softening its tannins, resulting in a more enjoyable and balanced flavour profile.


Choosing the Right Decanter


Choosing The Right Decanter - Liz Ogumbo Wines

Decanters come in various shapes and sizes, each designed to suit different types of wine. When selecting a decanter its important to consider the shape, material and ease of use.


A wide, rounded base provides ample surface area for aeration, making it ideal for young, robust red wines. For older wines, a decanter with a narrower base and a gentle slope helps to minimize air exposure, preserving the delicate flavours and aromas.   


Since most decanters are made of glass or crystal which are both materials are just as effective, crystal decanters are often preferred for their clarity and brilliance, which enhances the visual appeal of the wine.


While a well-designed spout and a comfortable grip can make the decanting process smoother and more enjoyable, it's important to choose a decanter that is easy to handle and pour, enhancing both the functionality and the pleasure of serving wine.


The Decanting Process


The Decanting Process - Liz Ogumbo Wines

Decanting wine is a simple yet delicate process. All you need to do is get the bottle standing for a at least 24 hours to get the sediment to settle at the bottom before decanting. Once you are ready, remove the cork, wipe the neck of the bottle to remove any dust or debris, slowly pour the wine into the decanter, watching for sediment as you near the bottom of the bottle. For better results, I decant my wines for at least 30 minutes to an hour before serving.


How to Care For Your Decanter


How to Care For Your Decanter - Liz Ogumbo Wines

In order to ensure proper maintenance of your decanter and optimal performance, it is important to clean it Immediately with warm water to prevent wine residue from drying or staining the glass. Be careful to rinse thoroughly if you decide to use soap, as it can leave behind a residue that will affects the taste of your next pour of wine. I normally prefer to air dry my decanter upside down on a clean cloth to ensure it is completely dry before storing to prevent any water spots or mould.


Whether you plan to host a dinner party at home or wine-tasting event, the decanter stands as a timeless symbol of wine appreciation and elegance while you get to indulge in the full spectrum of the wine's character.


Order your wine decanter while stocks last.


Yours fabulously,


Liz Ogumbo Wines | The Art And Science Of Decanting Wines | Liz Ogumbo Fashion | Liz Ogumbo | Kathy Kgodeira

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