Decanting Wine

What is the Purpose of Decanting Wine?

The reason that wine is decanted is not to just move the wine from a wine bottle to a pretty decanter, although, it does look much nicer in the decanter than than it does in the bottle!

decanting wine with aeraterBut the real purpose of decanting wine is to aerate it.  What exactly does that mean?  It just means that you want the wine to come into contact with the air.  When wine comes into contact with the air, it helps to bring out the aromas of the wine.  This is important, because the taste of the wine is actually more in the nose than in the mouth.

Your taste buds can only detect  4 things, sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.  All of the other subtleties of taste come from your olfactory senses, the nose!  That is why wine tasters stick their nose into a glass of wine and sniff deeply before drinking, they are getting as much of the aroma of the wine into their nose as they can to help them pick up all of the little flavors swirling around in there,

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The next time you are enjoying a glass of wine, try the test for yourself. First, just take a sip of the wine and see if you like the taste.  Then take a big, deep sniff of it with your nose as you are taking another taste.  Can you tell the difference?  You should notice a difference in the taste, even if it is only a slight difference, but don't worry if you can't.  Wine connoisseurs have to train their noses to be able to pick up all the subtleties of taste too.

Now try aerating the wine and try the test again, maybe you will be able to notice even more aromas coming from the wine.  To aerate the wine, simply swirl it around in your glass.  This works better on red wine than it does white, as reds have much more aromas in them than whites.  It is also the reason red wines are drank from wine glasses with large bowls like balloon glasses, so there is room for all that swirling!

To decant a bottle of wine, you do not need to remove it from the bottle.  The reason most people do is to hasten the process.  If you do not want to use a decanter, you could just leave the bottle of wine sit open on the counter for a few hours and then pour it into wine glasses when you are ready to drink it.  When you decant the wine, it reduces the time frame for maximizing the flavors from a few hours to a few minutes.


Check out this video for some more advice on how, when and why to decant wine.

So the next time you are getting ready to enjoy a bold red wine, try the decanting wine process and see if you notice a difference int the flavors of the wine.  If nothing else, it sure does look pretty in the decanter!

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