Have you ever thought about the phrase "all bottled up" and considered what actually being all bottled up would feel like? No air. No space. No ability to express yourself, to evolve... It's no way to be!
Like us, wine just wants to be free. Fortunately, every time you uncork a bottle you issue a ticket to freedom; pouring the wine into a glass offers additional love - granting your wine an upgrade from Coach to Business Class where there's substantially more legroom.
But even in Business Class the plane still smells a little funky, right?
What if you could let your wine take big BIG breaths, not just stretch its legs but run around, dance even to its destination? What if we told you - YOU CAN - EASILY!
By using a decanter.
A decanter is not only the most comfortable, spacious way for wine (of all colors!) to travel, but a time machine that delivers the adventure of a lifetime - and YOU get to go, too!
Here are 5 Reasons why you should be using a decanter every single time you uncork (or de-cap!) a bottle of wine:
1. A decanter lets wines breathe - aiding your sensory experience.
After all that time pent up in the bottle, wine needs a hot minute to collect itself, find its voice, and sing. A decanter provides additional surface area for a wine to do so, allowing it to interact with oxygen and open up more quickly. You'll notice a difference first on the nose: a) oxygen allows a wine's bouquet to emerge, and b) any 'pent up' gasses or funk can blow off well before you get a whiff - ESPECIALLY key when you're dealing with a wine with an uber-tight, screw cap closure and the natural, but no less off-putting rotten smell of mercaptans have had no chance of escape. (It never hurts to crack 'n decant all wines with screw caps!) Meanwhile, more structured, or tannic wines appreciate the massage oxygen imparts, softening the wine's edges to deliver a smoother, more silky palate experience.
2. A decanter helps get wine to appropriate serving temperature - whether it is too warm OR too cold to start.
The key to getting wine to the right temperature is to separate the wine itself from the 'insulating' bottle. If a wine is too warm, you can chill your decanter by sticking it in the fridge empty, or giving it a quick ice bath (carefully, to avoid any water getting inside the decanter). Once you pour the wine into the chilled decanter the wine will cool down. If your wine is too cold, pour it into the room temperature decanter; it'll warm up faster!
3. A decanter is a great tool to separate sediment from the wine - and you don't need to be fussy about it.
Sediment won't harm you - it's like the wine's marinade, so finding it in the bottom of the bottle is never a bad thing. But finding it in the bottom of your glass isn't so great. Sediment tends to be a bit bitter tasting and the chunks are off-putting in their own right. You don't need to go overboard on the pomp and circumstance to separate (or decant) the wine from the sediment either. If you stored the wine laying down, stand the wine up for a bit so the sediment can collect at the bottom of the bottle before you open it. When you are ready to open the wine, pull the cork and then use a cloth to clean out any sediment that may have collected along the neck of the bottle. Next, pour 5/6ths of the wine slowly into the decanter. Refrain from pouring the last 1/6th of wine into the decanter so none of the sediment gets transferred into your clean decanter. Mission accomplished!
4. A decanter benefits young and INexpensive wines the most - allowing them a worthwhile trip into the future.
While older wines may throw sediment thereby requiring decanting, the truth is that younger wines actually need the air the most. Aged wines have already enjoyed very slow exposure to air, via the cork, over time. Younger, fresh wines need the help to evolve or mature. Give these 'kids' half a chance to grow up and make you proud - put them in your time machine!
5. A decanter is color blind - white and red grapes are still grapes!
All of the reasons to decant above apply to wines of all colors - red, white, orange and rose. All wine styles are oxygen-loving, deserving of the ideal temperature to best strut their stuff, and ready for separation from their longtime bottle-neighbor Mr. Sediment. So issue them their deserved travel Visas and set them free!
Not inclined to open and finish an entire bottle every night? No worries. You can still decant what you DO plan to consume and then store the open bottle as usual. The next day you can give your decanter the night off and just enjoy the spoils!
PRO TIP. To clean a decanter you just need very hot water. Rebecca typically soaks her decanter over-night so the residual wine doesn't have a chance to collect and dry on the bottom; the next morning she dumps the water out, dries it with a micro-fiber cloth (so finger prints get whisked away) and drops in this awesome gadget to soak up the residual water; it takes her about 1 minute before bed and 2 minutes the next morning. #worthit
Don't own a decanter but curious and eager to get started? Try a glass water carafe or even a mason jar!