For the first few years that my husband and I visited our local wine club, we watched them decant or aerate the red wine but never quite understood if it made a difference. Finally one day we asked them to explain it to us. They had us do a blind test of the same wine run through an aerator and poured directly. My husband was immediately able to pick out which one was aerated based on the taste. Although I wasn't quite as sold on it, I decided to take everyone's word for it. We bought an aerator that day and have been using it ever since. We're still contemplating buying the full decanter.
How do you know whether you should decant a wine and HOW? (By the way…decant is one of those words that if you say it over and over again it starts to sound really strange. Go ahead and try it, I'll wait). I've heard everything from buying special decanters to pouring the wine into a blender. Apparently there are many ways you can do it and also reasons why it matters.
We found the Decanting 101 infographic below on Fix.com and think that it tells you pretty much everything that you need to know about decanting. Here are some of my favorite takeaways:
- Two two reasons to decant wine are to aerate it and separate out possible sediment (which is actually pretty common in properly aged wines).
- Decanting can help round out tannins that make the wine too severe.
- Not all wines require decanting, but when in doubt, it will not hurt most wines either.
- Some white wines can benefit from being decanted (I've never done this!).
- You don't have to buy a decanter to decant wine. You might actually already have the perfect vessel at home.
- Aerating is a part of decanting but does not have all of the same benefits.
Check out the entire graphic and the post accompanying it for more information.