The Best Type of Decanter for Serving Wine

There is a difference between decanting wine and serving it, although they are closely related. If it was just a matter of serving the wine, it can of course be done straight from the bottle. However, the decanting process is all about removing sediment and then aerating wine and it is the aerating process which can provide a hint as to the type of Decanter and wine glassdecanter which should be used. A good wine requires that it be allowed to interact with the air to bring out its unique aromas and flavors prior to consuming. This requires that as much surface area of the wine as possible is exposed to the air and the best object for the job is a decanter which allows the wine to spread out and mix with the air.

The Best Decanter Shape

Unlike a bottle with the cork removed, where the surface area is very small, a decanter with a broad middle is perfect for the job. Even if you left a bottle uncorked for several hours, it would not have time to aerate and achieve it’s best possible flavor and aromatic presence. When a wine has been stored for several years, it needs to be able to react with the air for an hour or so prior to serving, so it can be enjoyed at its best. So not only does the decanter need to have a broad middle, it also requires a pouring device from which the wine can gently be poured into the correctly shaped wine glass.

The Best Decanter Material

It was during the time of the Roman Empire that glass was used for storage and drinking of wine because it provided a superior experience to clay which typically tainted the wine. This technology declined along with the Roman Empire and was not used again until the Venetians re-discovered it during the Renaissance. Glass was and still is the best material for decanters as it does not influence the flavor of the wine. A long stemmed, wide bellied, clear crystal decanter with a stopper is the best. Decorated and colored decanters can detract from the wine so clear glass crystal is best.

Decanter Preparation and Cleaning

A decanter should be spotlessly clean and preferably free of dust. It should also be aired well to ensure it does not retain any type of odour from being stored in a cupboard. Rinsing the decanter with mineral water can can help remove any residual odors. It should always be cleaned with a combination of coarse salt and crushed iced which will effectively remove all wine residue, yet not leave any cleaning aroma behind. Detergent should never be used because it is not possible to completely remove all detergent residues from the decanter, due to its shape.

Conclusion

The best type of decanter for serving wine is one which is characterised by a long stem and broad belly, preferably with a stopper. It should always be made of glass, preferably clear crystal. It is the material and shape of the decanter which is important, not it’s appearance because it is a functional piece of equipment which is of prime importance in ensuring the best possible flavor and aroma is brought out in the wine.

Which Red Wine Should I Choose?

You’re branching out and want to choose a more sophisticated wine, maybe a red wine. You wonder, What do all the terms mean? Is it better to buy a wine that has a specific name or are blends okay?  If this is your time to step beyond $2 bottles of wine into the exciting “world of wine” –know that enjoying the “fruit on the vine” doesn’t have to be a frightening pursuit. Don’t be intimated by all the pretense! Learning about different kinds of wine should be a pleasurable experience! There are less rules then you think! Let’s discover a couple of terms. Red Wine

What Is a “Varietal”?

It’s simple. The name of the wine is the name of the type of grape in the bottle. For instance, the grapes are called “Cabernet Sauvignon” or “Zinfandel” or “Pinot Noir” and each grape has it’s own distinct flavor, color, size, and characteristics; these are different varieties. When speaking of a “Varietal” one is referencing the grape variety predominantly present in the bottle. To be distinguished as a Varietal, the wine label must contain the originating appellation (where the named grape was picked) and contain 75% of said grape. Although all wines/winemakers are not created equal, you can trust that varietals should be similar. Thus, there is a taste profile you can identify when planning your wines for food pairing.

A fun exercise you might try is to buy different labels of one varietal and do a “side-by-side” comparison to find their unique distinctions. Another fun side-by-side comparison is using the same Varietals from one vineyard but from different years and discover for yourself how they are different or how they are similar. Remember to use red wine glasses to give it the best possible performance. Try decanting, as well, and notice the difference it can make. (Most wines benefit from decanting.)

What are “Blends”? Are Varietals Better?

Winemakers will use grapes from different sources to make their best possible wine. They may blend a sweeter grape to offset a more bitter grape, bolder grape to accent a lighter one, etc. However, if they use less than 75% of one grape, they can no longer call it by a varietal name. Thus, they will call it a “Blend” , “Table Wine” or “Red Wine from (region/state/country)”. Some might look down their noses at blends, but if you think about it, if you’re mixing the best grapes with the best grapes, isn’t that a good thing? The only drawback would be when comparing because one “red wine” and another “red wine” can be vastly different. Start checking out labels and note the different varieties present in the bottle.

What is a Reserved Wine or a Library Wine?

When looking at a label, one winery may have two varietals from the same year, but one is called a Reserve ( usually a little pricier) and you wonder, “What’s the difference?” Often, winemakers make a “Reserve” wine from the same harvest or bottling (Reserving some) and treat it “special.”  The wine may be aged longer, the grapes handpicked, etc.). There is no “set in stone” rules that make it a “Reserve”, just what the winemaker deems worthy. However, there is usually a good reason they call it a Reserve, so often it is worth a try.

A Library Wine is one where smaller batches of wine are set a part for a certain amount to be aged longer. This would imply that the quality of the wine has improved with the “laying down” (mellowing or becoming more full-bodied) and also will increase in cost (but hopefully in quality as well.)

Are More Expensive Wines Better?

Yes and no. Price is nearly a random thing. The economy, availability, hierarchy, vintage, among other things, all have a part to play. Sometimes higher priced wines are just higher priced for no apparent reason. That said, you can taste a difference in wines that have aged longer, have been picked at the right time or right climate, during better years of harvest or who have winemakers with great skill, this, and amount of aging, all factors into the price of wine. Smaller vineyards or boutique shops usually charge more because their own cost in making/purchasing is higher. However, some wineries have a great policy that wine should be affordable. Use price as a very loose parameter and experiment. Start with low priced wine and work your way up. Treat yourself once in awhile to something above your typical price range. Remember that the best judge is your mouth–the taste is what matters. A wine you enjoy may not be the one another chooses.

The palette is a fickle thing that changes, as well; a wine you adored two years ago may no longer taste good to you. The only true test is trying different kinds of wine, in different circumstances, with different foods, at different times and in different atmospheres (yes, it can make a difference.)

Always Red Wine With Red Meat and White With Seafood/Chicken?

Not necessarily. However, there’s a reason this has been a general rule. Most red meats and the way in which we prepare the meat demand a hearty, strong, and bold red wine to compliment.; Whereas white meats are mild in flavor and welcome a crisp, citrusy or rich buttery white wine as a companion. But what about a heavy garlicky chicken or spicy Cajun shrimp? What of surf and turf? (And what about our vegetarian friends, would they be stuck with white wine all the time? I think many would protest.) The taste of the dish and the taste of the consumer means more than the protein. The key is to drink what you like and experiment with different pairings.

Try different foods with different wines and you’ll quickly discover what you like with which food. Try a small taste of your wine and notice its complexities first. Then take a taste of the food followed with a taste of the wine. How has it changed? This is a fun exercise, too!

Common Red Wines

Here is a very short list of Red Wines for starters with common characteristics:

(Remember, these are general guidelines.)

Varietal
Body
Flavors
BarberaMediumRed fruit, Berries
Cabernet FrancMedium-BoldRaspberry, Cherry, Grassy, Herb
Cabernet SauvignonHeavyBerries, Fruit, Plum, Cassis, Vanilla, Tobacco, Oak
MalbecLight-BoldBerries, Cherry, Plum
MerlotMedium-BoldBerries, Cherry, Plum
Petit SirahMedium-Bold"Jammy", Spice, Pepper, Chocolate
Pinot NoirLight-MediumRaspberry, Cherry, Earthy(mushroom)
SangioveseMediumStrawberry, Cherry, Nutty, Floral
SyrahMedium-BoldSpicy, Cinnamon, Herb, Pepper, Berry
ZinfandelLight-BoldFruit -"Jammy" to Spicy

The Adventure

Just as in life, don’t gain knowledge for knowledge’s sake, apply your information and enjoy the journey.

Here are a few tips for making the trip more fun.

  • Ask questions. Especially of those more experienced. Others love to give advice. 
  • When choosing a bottle at a wine bar or restaurant, ask for recommendations. (They pay guys to figure this stuff out).
  • Go to wine tastings. This is a fun way to try wines you wouldn’t normally pick up because of ignorance or price. Plus, most tasting room “pourers” love to educate (Bonus Tip: Ask them their favorites, what they like to serve, etc.).
  • When you are in the tasting room, try not to read the tasting notes before you taste—think, what do I smell? What do I taste? Then look at the notes to compare.
  • Write down what you like and don’t like. Use a wine journal (or use your smart phone) and take notes, take pictures; remembering what you enjoyed is harder than you think when you are standing looking at a bazillion wine bottles side by side.
  • Have wine tasting parties and try the examples of side by sides above (one varietal but different wineries, same winery different varietals, decanting) or stage blind tastings.
  • Don’t skip your seeing, swirling and smelling before sipping. Your mouth only gives you 4 tastes (sour, sweet, salty & bitter) the rest of the “taste” comes from your sense of smell, so make sure your red wine glasses give you ample nose room.

New to the journey or well traveled, savor memories most of all. Wine should be sipped with great friends, good food and whole lot of adventure.

Choosing the Best Wine Glass

Why So Many Different Types of Wine Glasses?

You’ve planned the perfect meal, you’ve chosen an exquisite bottle of wine but the nagging question lingering in your head is, “Do I have the right type of wine glass? Does it matter?”Wine Glasses

Collecting and using the “perfect” wine glass can be a grand pursuit which involves not only intellectual knowledge but acquired experience. (Luckily, research requires drinking wine in different glasses, so how can that be bad?) Unfortunately, good quality wine glasses run between $20-$100 and more a glass and a single line of glassware may be 5-10 types of wine glasses. This can be a big commitment monetarily, not to mention having adequate storage while obtaining enough glasses for entertaining. However, any great hobby deserves commitment and if one often indulges in $100 bottles of wine then an investment in fine wine glasses seems almost a necessity.

While there is evidence the correct glass does, indeed, enhance wine “performance” it seems less likely an average wine drinker will notice the subtle nuances between two different types of red wine glasses; that being said, there is a distinction between “red” and “white” wine glasses that even a novice can appreciate. Understanding this will provide a great starting place to begin building that appreciation and collection.

Basic Training

Let’s start with the basics: Wine glasses have a three part construction. First, there is the foot or base which allows it to stand, secondly a stem which gives you a “grasp of the situation,” and lastly the bowl which provides the place for the “good stuff.” Many will agree that holding a wine glass by the stem is the preferred manner by which to drink, as this allows the wine to be seen clearly by preventing finger smudges on the surface of the glass. Because sight is one of the most important senses used in truly appreciating wine, this viewpoint is valid (and what if your food pairing is Buffalo Hot Wings?) Holding the glass by the stem also prevents warming of the wine from your hands. (Many will argue that this is precisely why they enjoy holding theirs by the bowl—it’s really about preference.)

Glasses should be clear glass or crystal, allowing your sense of sight to observe the color and clarity of the wine. Thin rather than thicker types of glasses are preferred, not merely because a heavy glass is burdensome, but thick rims are harder to sip from, (who likes dribbles?) and detracts from the wine. The opening of the bowl should be large enough for your nose, since smell is another major sense used in judging wine. (Swirl, See, Sniff and Sip!)

There are several varieties of stemware, yet basically four wine glass types:

Red Wine Glasses

To enjoy the richness of “medium or full-bodied” reds, the wine should be served at room temperature (or average 60-65 degrees F) and in a “red wine” glass. These glasses are distinguished by a larger “bowl “which allows more wine to be exposed to oxygen and bring out the flavors and aromas. Oxygen is important for your vintage to live up to its full potential which is also why many red wines benefit from decanting or aeration. There can be slight difference in the widths of the bowls designed to benefit each individual varietal. If you were to splurge a little on two types of wine glasses for red, this would be the place to do so. For instance, a glass best designed for a Pinot Noir or other more delicate reds is called a “Burgundy” wine glass which has a larger bowl pushing the wine to the front of your mouth to detect the subtleties. “Bordeaux” glasses are the slightly taller, thinner cousin yet still have an amble bowl and are used for heavier reds. Often, red wine glasses have longer, thinner stems, as well, for easier swirling of the glasses (although both red and white wines should be swirled) allowing even more oxygen to “open up” the wine. (And no matter how much you are tempted to fill the glass to the brim, pour less than half way up the glass to allow swirling and plenty of room for the wine to “breathe.”)

White Wine Glasses

White Wines require less oxygenation so the bowl of the glass is smaller. Described as “U” or egg-shaped, the white wine glass allows the aroma to be concentrated, which is the crowning glory of most whites wines. Although most bowls are narrow, which accents a lighter, newer wine, a slightly larger bowl can benefit aged whites such as Chardonnay. The glasses are sometimes smaller than their red counterparts in volume as well. The design also slows down the warming process. Whites should be enjoyed chilled, although not ice cold–around 40-45 degrees, with some whites opening up wonderfully as they near room temperature. The stems are often thicker to provide stability in handling as this encourages stem holding.

Sparkling Wine or Champagne Glasses

Tall, narrow “flutes” accentuate sparkling wines to the fullest. Bubbles are the key to “bubbly” and the construction of these glasses promotes and prolongs the bubble’s journey from bottom to top. The shape also enhances the subtle aromas of the wine. These glasses can be filled higher because no swirling is required. Make sure you chill these wines well; at least 40 degrees and keep the bottle in ice to keep it bubbly longer.

Dessert Wine Glasses

Sherry, Port, Late Harvest and most other dessert wines benefit from a smaller version of regular wine glasses, usually ranging from 2-7 ounces. They often taper or flare at the top to help offset the sweetness of the wine as it hits your palate. Because these wines are sweeter, richer, and have a higher alcohol content, a little goes a long way. The temperature of these wines varies.

Other Types of Wine Glasses

Wine glasses are just a part of the big picture when it comes to enjoying your wine. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a rustic Chianti at your favorite Italian restaurant in small “juice” glasses. A whole line of stemless wine glasses for reds and whites now fills the shelves (so much for smudges and warming the wine.) And most helpful seems to be the multi purpose wine glasses. Their designs are big enough to accommodate a red with a slightly larger bowl, but not too wide to detract from supporting the whites. (Just remember to swirl or decant to help your red wine breathe a bit more.)

Whichever glass you choose for your drinking pleasure, relax and enjoy the whole experience. With the basics down, your exquisite wine will enhance that perfect meal no matter what types of wine glasses vie for your attention. Experiment and have fun. Practice makes perfect!

 

Ravenscroft Crystal Ultra Magnum Decanter Review

The Ravenscroft Crystal Ultra Magnum Decanter is a practical wine decanter that is able to hold a magnum of wine or alternatively, three regular sized bottles. It is the largest of the Ravenscroft decanters and suitable for occasions where a decanter for more than a small intimate group is required. In addition to its size, it also features a low neck and a beveled opening.

Ravencroft Ultra MagnumIt also has a wide bottom that is well weighted so that aeration of a large volume of wine is possible while sediment can comfortably rest on the bottom. The shape is pleasing and complemented by the use of quality lead free crystal, resulting in an attractive piece of glassware to grace a dinner table.

Like other quality wine decanters, the Ravenscroft decanter makes an excellent gift for anyone who enjoys entertaining while enjoying quality wine. Even though its size is larger than a regular decanter, customers appreciated the value and quality of the wine decanter and found it to be a welcome addition to their dinner tables.

 

Features and Benefits of the Ravenscroft Crystal Ultra Magnum Decanter

Design – a Ravenscroft decanter suitable for holding a magnum of wine
Suitable For – anyone who requires an attractive, quality wine decanter suitable for a larger gathering.
Capacity – 87 ounces which is the equivalent of three standard bottles of wine or one magnum
Shape – a classic decanter shape known as a ‘Captain’s Shape’ which features a wide bottom and slender neck. The shape is ideal for effectively aerating wine so as to bring out its full flavor. It also allows for the sediment to settle over the wide bottom, effectively separating it from the body of the wine.
Materials - lead free crystal that is of good quality, attractive and durable.
Cleaning – it is recommended that the decanter be hand washed and it is worth noting that customers found cleaning beads to be effective in providing a thorough clean.

Specifications

Measures: 10.5 x 10.5 x 12 inches
Weighs: 5 pounds
ASIN: B001O4SV3Y
Item No: W3659

What’s Great About the Ravenscroft Crystal Ultra Magnum Decanter?

  • Large size
  • Weighted correctly
  • Easy to fill
  • Wide bottom
  • Good quality
  • Attractive appearance
  • Reasonably priced

What’s Not so Great

  • A couple of customers felt it doesn’t pour well

Customer Feedback and Reviews

At the time of writing, 14 customers had left feedback for the Ravenscroft Crystal Ultra Magnum Decanter and they rated it with an average 4.4/5 stars. Things they liked about it included its size, quality, functionality, weight, attractive appearance as well as its price. They also liked the shape, not just for its appearance, but for its effectiveness in aerating the wine so as to release its full flavor.

A couple of customers felt that it didn’t pour very well and was likely to drip and splash while pouring. The majority of customers didn’t have this problem and liked the way it poured. To read more about what customers had to say, you can read their reviews here.

The Ravenscroft Crystal Ultra Magnum Decanter is available from Amazon and you can check Amazon’s lowest price for it here. Overall, customers were impressed with this large Ravenscroft decanter and felt it met their requirements for a large wine decanter. Even though a couple of customers felt it didn’t pour well and was prone to splashing, the majority of customers were very happy with its performance and quality. Based on customer feedback, we are pleased to recommend it a value for money, large wine decanter.

For more reviews & the latest price check out Amazon

Riedel Magnum Cabernet Decanter Review

Riedel Magnum Cabernet Decanter

Click for larger image

The Riedel Magnum Cabernet Decanter is excellent for decanting red wines, particularly older red wines. It is 11 inches tall and can hold two regular sized bottles of wine, although the reds respond better to decanting when it is only half filled. By allowing sediment to settle, older reds are suitably clarified prior to drinking. The decanter is without color and the walls are very thin as a result of the lead crystal having been machine blown.

The Riedel magnum decanter is also easy to pour from as a result of the shape of the neck which features an easy curve that is easy to hold while pouring. Because the Riedel decanter is made from 24 percent lead crystal, its surface is coarse and soft so that it tends to hold a wine’s aroma. As a result of this, hand washing is recommended because it is thorough.

Features and Benefits of the Riedel Magnum Cabernet Decanter

Design – a large, elegant, thin walled decanter suited to older red wines
Suitable For – displaying the color of younger wines and clarifying older red wines
Capacity – holds 64 ounces which equated to two standard bottles of wine. Customers have concurred in their opinion that only filling the Riedel decanter with one bottle, provides a better effect during the decanting process.
Materials – 24 percent lead crystal that has been machine blown to result in a very fine glass
Height – 11 inches
Pouring – is comfortable due to the decanter’s curved neck that encourages an easy grip
Cleaning – washing by hand is recommended due the nature of the lead crystal in have a soft, yet coarse surface that is prone to holding onto aromas. Hand washing effectively removes this so that the decanter is aroma free for the next time it is used.

For more reviews & the latest price check out Amazon

 

Specification for the Riedel Magnum Cabernet Decanter

Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.5 x 10.8 inches
Weighs: 1.5 pounds
ASIN: B000069CEK
Item No: 1440-26

What’s Great About the Riedel Magnum Cabernet Decanter?

  • Large size
  • Classically shaped decanter
  • “Extreme” decanter
  • Glass is very thin and fine
  • Makes a thoughtful gift
  • Good value and appears more expensive than what you will pay
  • Quality decanter
  • Pours easily
  • Allows wines to ‘open up’
  • Functionally piece of glassware
  • Footprint isn’t too large for storing when not being used

What’s Not So Great

  • Ultra-thin glass requires a lot of care

Customer Feedback and Reviews

At the time of writing, 13 customers had left feedback for the Riedel Magnum Cabernet Decanter and they rated it with 4.5/5 stars. Things they liked about it included its elegant appearance, size and functionality, as well as the thin glass it is made from. While it is possible to fit a ‘magnum’ into the Riedel cabernet decanter, the larger volume of while does not allow the wine to properly ‘breathe’. Customers generally preferred to use it with a regular sized bottle of wine for best results. To read more about what customers had to say, you can read their reviews here.

Conclusion

The Riedel cabernet decanter is available from Amazon and you can check for the lowest Amazon price here. Customers appreciated the elegance and functionality of the Riedel Decanter and felt it represented good value for money. Based on customer feedback, we are pleased to recommend the Riedel cabernet decanter.

Riedel Swan Decanter Review

The Riedel Swan Decanter is a hand-made and hand blown wine decanter that has been made in the shape of a swan. It is a popular design with customers who like the elegant lines of the swan’s neck. The body of the swan holds the wine while the tail is the place where pour the wine into the Riedel decanter.Riedel Swan Decanter

It is easy to hold too as the curve of the glass provides an easy and relaxed grip for pouring. The body of the swan where the wine is held is suitably wide so as to ensure the wine is allowed to ‘breathe’ and develop to its potential best. The design is completely functional while at the same time presents as a unique artistic creation.

Anyone looking for a quality gift for a wine aficionado will appreciate the qualities of this Riedel decanter and you can expect it to provide much appreciation to the recipient for many years to come.

Features and Benefits of the Riedel Swan Decanter

Design – an elegant wine decanter crafted into the shape of a swan’s neck, body and tail
Capacity – you can pour one standard bottle of wine into the decanter
Height – is 23 5/8 inches high so will look quite impressive on a dinner table
Materials – 24% lead crystal is used so that premium radiance, sparkle and clarity is achieved to match the elegance of the design
Pour Spout – is drip resistant for easy drip free pouring
Fill Spout – is wide so that it is easy to pour wine into the decanter
Cleaning – because of the lead crystal, it is recommended the wine decanter is washed by hand for best results

Specification for the Riedel Swan Decanter

Measures: 9.2 x 5 x 23.5 inches
Weighs: 3 pounds
Shipping Weight: 5 pounds
ASIN: B0013JGJ4I
Item No: 2007/2

What’s Great About the Riedel Decanter?Riedel Swan Decanter_Pouring

  • Stunning piece of workmanship
  • Sparkles and glistens in the light, particularly a spotlight
  • Very special decanter
  • Elegant piece of glassware
  • Makes an excellent gift for someone who appreciates good wines
  • Made from hand blown glass crystal

What’s Not So Great

  • No negative feedback to date

Customer Feedback and Reviews

At the time of writing, 2 customers had left feedback for the Riedel Swan Decanter and they all rated it with 5 out of 5 stars. The features that impressed them most related to its construction and appearance. All customers loved the shape of the decanter as well as how it looked when presented on a dinner table underneath a spotlight. Their response was always appreciative of the stunning glass work. To read more about what customers had to say, you can read their reviews here.

Recommendation

The Riedel Swan Decanter the best deal I’ve found for this beautiful decanter is at Amazon, you can check for the lowest price here. Customers recognize that this wine decanter is a standalone item of artistic beauty, as well as a functional decanter that can present a good wine to its best advantage. Based on customer feedback, we are pleased to recommend it to discerning wine lovers and anyone looking for an exceptional gift.

Best Wine Storage Practices

How to Properly Store Wine

For those that are new to the great taste of wine and the health benefits wine can provide, or those that have been drinking and savoring wine for years and now want to start collecting and aging wine but don’t know how to properly store that bottle of expensive wine, I will give you tips so you can maintain and improve the taste of your wine.  These are some of the factors you need to consider.Wine Storage

Cleanliness and proper ventilation

It is very important that you store your wine in a clean area with plenty of ventilation.  Poor ventilation will affect the taste and how the wine ages.  A poorly ventilated area with variations in temperature can ruin a great wine.  Keep the area clean and dusted, this will keep the label in good condition if you decide to sell the wine at a later date.  A poorly cared for label can also affect its resale value.

Lighting

Be sure the wine is stored in an area away from bright light, it is best to store the wine where light is at a minimum.  Light can, over many years can affect the wine’s taste, especially if the wine is exposed to sunlight and the Sun’s ultra violet light.  Sunlight can also fade the label.

Angle of the bottle

Always store wine in a horizontal position.  This allows the wine to stay in contact with the cork and keep the cork from drying out and shrinking thereby allowing air into the bottle and ruining the wine.  If you are buying the wine by the case, remove the wine from the box and store it on a nice wine rack.

Vibration

Store wine in a vibration free environment.  Shaking wine has the potential of speeding up the chemical process of aging.  You usually only have to be concerned about this if you are planning to store wines for long periods of time.

Humidity

A humidity level between 65 and 75% is perfect for storing wine.  If you live is a low humidity area, you can leave a pan of water in room or get a humidifier.  Humidity that is too low for a long period of time has the potential to dry out the cork and let air into the bottle.  If your humidity is higher than 75% on a regular basis, then you might consider a dehumidifier.

Temperature

The optimum temperature for aging wine is between 50 and 60 degrees, give or take.  Optimally 55 F is perfect.  A temperature too low can slow down the natural aging process and a temperature too high will speed it up.  The temperature should not vary much more than 5F to 10F within the optimal temperature range year around.

The best advice is to try to find a healthy balance with all of the wine storage tips outlined in this article.  This will help you maintain your cherished wine and give it the optimum aging storage leading to a wonderful aged wine that you can enjoy, or an investment that will continue to appreciate.  Wine storage, like most wine related activities is something that can be learned and implemented.

Why Decant Wine and How to Do It

Wine bottle and wine glass - Decant Wine

Why Decant Wine

There are essentially two reasons why you might want to decant wine and these relate to separating sediment from the body of the wine and aerating the wine. With modern wine making  there is typically less sediment that forms as wines age however there is still some sediment and therefore a need to decant wine. The other reason is to aerate the wine, or to let it breathe.

Removing Sediment

To really enjoy a fine wine, you will not want it to take on an astringent taste or spoil the look of the wine, so decanting is an effective way of ensuring that sediment is separated from the wine. The idea is to transfer the clear, sediment free wine into a decanter, leaving the sediment behind in the bottle. Old wines typically have a lot of sediment or the sediment may have formed due to poor filtering or clarification when the wine was being made.

Aeration

To aerate wine, decanting is used as a means of allowing a wine to breathe, which simply means that air is brought into contact with the wine as a means of releasing its unique aromas. Aerating a wine is also undertaken in the hope that contact with the air will assist to smooth out the taste of tannins. Some wine experts advocate that swirling the wine in your glass will have the same effect, while others believe that the act of decanting the wine into an appropriately shaped decanter is the best way to aerate wine.

How to Decant Wine

For Sediment

The first step is to ensure that you have a decanter which has a wide bottom and narrow neck which is made of undecorated glass or crystal. This is the receptacle which will hold your decanted wine and from which it will be served. If you are decanting to remove sediment it’s a good idea to stand the bottle in an upright position for a couple of days because it will allow the sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle. This is an important step as to when to decant wine so you can plan the decanting around the time you would like to drink the wine.

After the bottle has rested in an upright position for a couple of days, you can remove the cork and carefully wipe away any sediment which may have collected in the neck of the bottle. You then carefully and slowly pour the wine from the bottle into the decanter and ensure you stop pouring once you see sediment in the neck of the bottle. You can decant over a lighted candle which will help you to see when the sediment has reached the neck or the bottle.

Aeration

While wine is aging it needs to be protected from air however when it is time to drink it, contact with air is a good thing because it can assist with bringing out the full range of aromas of the wine. The base of your decanter should be broad because this is the shape which will allow air to come into contact with the most amount of wine. Again, the idea is to transfer the contents of the wine bottle carefully into the decanter.

When to decant wine is also something which needs to be planned carefully if you are decanting for aeration, because it will need to sit for ½ hour to two hours, depending on the age of the wine. If your wine is an old wine, it should not be decanted for longer than 2 hours maximum prior to drinking so that the maximum amount of flavor is released for you to enjoy.