Word of the Week: Decant

How do you let a wine “breathe”? One option is to use a decanter. Decanting is the process by which wine is transferred from its original bottle to a glass vessel, or in technical terms, a decanter. The most basic (and most practical) modern decanters look like simple vases with a bulbous base, a narrow neck, and are often topped with a glass stopper. However, you can also find a multitude of whimsically shaped decanters that more resemble a Chihuly sculpture than an instrument for wine service. There are several reasons one might choose to decant a bottle of wine. For young, tannic reds – Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon , Bordeaux, Barolo, etc. – decanting serves the purpose of aeration, softening wines that otherwise may be too austere to drink when newly released. Particularly tight wines can merit hours, and in extreme cases overnight decanting before enjoyment. For older wines, decanting helps to remove the chalky sediment that precipitates into the bottom of the bottle as a wine ages. While decanting offers a number of potential benefits to a wine, it can be a rather extreme measure, and in certain circumstances, simply opening the bottle in advance is a wiser move. With older wines, you risk prematurely losing the delicate aromatics that come with age before they ever reach your glass for you to savor. While decanting is most commonly performed for red wines, more structured white wines can also benefit from the practice. Some, controversially, even advocate for the decantation of certain Champagnes . The process of decanting dates back nearly as long as the history of wine itself. In ancient Rome, square service vessels made of glass or silver, an early decanter of sorts, were commonplace. The more contemporary decanter first took shape with the emergence of the Venetian glass industry during the Renaissance. In the ensuing centuries, the decanter transformed into a symbol of status and artistry. Ornate vessels following the fashions of the day were crafted, often embellished with engravings and precious materials such as gold or silver. As impressive as these devices may be, a simple glass jug can just as easily do the trick.

Viña Almaviva S.A.

Almaviva Puente Alto Red Blend 2009

After last weekends 2014 success I discovered the 2009 lurking in a local liquor store. Firstly there was a cork emergency as it broke while trying to remove. I have read other reviews mentioning this for the 2009 so beware. No drama, the wine is fine but it might make me think twice about buying any more to lay down. First thirty minutes out of the bottle is no go, disjointed and harsh flavours. After an hour in the decanter the wine comes to life, visually some browning around the edges and great aromas of dark fruit, tobacco, earth and oak. Nose develops lavender, green pepper and chocolate as time goes on. Palate is rounded, with a complex blend of all of the above plus lead pencil (I never understood that one until today), tar and cherry. Great, fragrant finish. Real quality, two vintages on two Saturdays ‘14 slightly better than the ‘09 in my opinion but both really good. I see that the ‘15 is available now; next weekend? — 5 years ago

Shay, leon and 2 others liked this
Mark Flesher

Mark Flesher

I have a 2015....from the sounds of it, I think I need to lock it up!!
Clive McNish

Clive McNish

It’s great, I found some more ‘14’s at the weekend, they are now safely tucked away. I promise not to steal your 15

Case Basse di Gianfranco Soldera

Case Basse Riserva Brunello di Montalcino Sangiovese 2002

Rich, dense & floral that needed an hour in the decanter to open showing sweet red cherry, berry fruits with dried herbs, rose petal & licorice spices. — 5 years ago

Ira, Jeroen and 6 others liked this

Turnbull Wine Cellars

Black Label Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Greg Ballington

Thank you @richardmiyake for bringing this incredible wine. The first young Turnbull for us and what a treat.

Deep purplish red. Tons of blackberries on the nose once it started to open up, followed by notes of anise and solid minerality. Heavy tannins (8/10) and full bodied. Rich yet tight on the palate with some blackberries, dark gravel, cinnamon and a little floral. Long and lingering finish. Drink till 2035. Needed an hour or so in the decanter to open up.
— 5 years ago

India Okoh
with India
Mike, Shay and 25 others liked this
Ryan Vento

Ryan Vento

Such a well-crafted, delicious selection.

Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy

Martinenga Barbaresco Nebbiolo 2013

Cherries & smoke on the nose, following to the palate. Needed about an hour in the decanter to blossom fully. Classic producer. The album is the Brazilian masterpiece, Krishnanda by Pedro Santos, a virtuoso percussionist & composer. It evolves across genres as the wine shows a variety of facets & characteristics. Brilliance across the board. — 5 years ago

Velma, P and 61 others liked this
Anthony Lombardi

Anthony Lombardi

@David Shaw - One thing I can promise- for better or worse is that I will drink wine, play Records & Post about it 🍷😀
Adrienne White

Adrienne White

@Anthony Lombardi was there any velvet involved? I’ll have to give Santos a twirl, and the vino a swirl - thank you!
Sarah O'Kelley

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Domaine Tempier

Bandol Mourvedre Blend 2008

Initial notes of soot and caramel. A lovely cool palate with Dry powdery tannins to finish off. If not 100% Mourvèdre it must be close to it. From the warm Mediterranean coast in Bandol. After nearly 3 hours in the decanter the Wine elicited aromas of Lavender and Thyme with hints of raisin. Loved it. — 5 years ago

Ira, Casey and 11 others liked this

Delas Frères

Les Bessards Hermitage Syrah 2010

Strong tart cherry aroma. Dusty plum and blackberry with firm tannins. Needs another 10 hours in the decanter. Amazing with blackberry lime hand pie from #hatched. Day two: this wine is out of this world! Rich with depth black fruit and a bit of spice. So refined. LOVE. Best birthday present of the week:) — 5 years ago

Gregory MellisChad Anderson
with Gregory and Chad
Steve, Ryan and 18 others liked this
Severn Goodwin

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Love Delas, yum!