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 from red wine and then aerating the wine. It is the aerating process which can provide a hint as to the type of decanter 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 optimal.
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 odor 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.
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.
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