Wine Talk

Snooth User: DNath991

..So does anyone care about decanting?

Posted by DNath991, Dec 31, 2016.

I'm of the mind that decanting is a good thing. Especially with aged wines. I've decanted young wines anywhere from an hour to up to seven hours just to see how the structure would differ. And I've done the side-by-side comparisons to justify my insanity. However, I do realize, as in with stemware, that this may be an extremely subjective topic. Especially following a conversation I had recently with a Somm that had a very solid palate (at least according to my taste) who insisted that merely opening the bottle was enough, and decanting wasn't valuable to releasing characteristics of a wine, and swore by refrigerating all wines, within reason, as enough of an affect on complexity than we deem necessary.

I searched and haven't seen that this topic has come up on this forum in some time, so I'm just curious if anyone out there has any real feelings about it one way or the other.


Reply by outthere, Dec 31, 2016.

I double decanted two wines last night. Both had significant sediment. I do not like crunchies in my sip of wine or black specs in my smile. Decanting is a critical part of my wine enjoyment experience.

Your Somm friend is full of merde. Some wines are so wound up upon opening that they require lots of air in order to show what they have. Here are a few recent examples of wines I opened that needed decanting or excessive air contact before showing well.


2010 Copain Syrah Brosseau Vineyard
This bottle needed some O2 infusion. When I popped it there was nothing but sour red berries. A couple hours later it has blossomed. Really dark black color, a swirl and it emits aromas of violets, blueberry and crushed rock. I like the weight in the midpalate. The tart balckberry intermingles with that crushed stone minerality and the still fairly firm chalky tannins to form a wonderful finish with no heat whatsoever. Great wine that is well balanced and develops nicely with some air. Enhanced our filets at the dinner table. Might check back in same time next year but what's the rush. This should go another 5-10.
2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Nervo Ranch
I'm on night 3 of the '14 Bedrock Nervo. Dusty nose, was this fermented in Pops redwood open tops? That's sure what the nose seems like to me. Peppery, dark fruit, medium bodied, loads of chalky tannins. The heat is gone tonight. I don't find this wine boring, just way young and unrelenting. This is not a big styled wine just wound tight. For all the clammoring people do about how wines in the past were lighter and lower on fruit I don't get why some are poo pooing this. I'm not looking at my other bottle for at least 5 years. Let em rest.
2010 Fattoria Galardi Terra di Lavoro Roccamonfina IGT
This wine really blossomed after being open a few hours. Deep, dark, but restrained. Seamless from start to finish. Very young but very enjoyable with appropriate air. My WOTN.
2011 Limerick Lane Syrah Headpruned Block 
Day one this was showing its youth, kinda tight, tart red fruit, steely mid-palate, needed to unwind.
After being open 24 hrs plus this is really drinking nicely. Nose of violets, thyme. Tart blue and red fruit is full, round and mouth coating. The droopy mid-palate of last night is now lush, chewy and bursting with dark berries and earthy spice. The red berry tartness that abounded on the first night has really transformed well. Tannins are a touch green and fairly prominent. Really enjoyable, well balanced wine.
Reply by dvogler, Dec 31, 2016.

I second OT's opinion.  I enjoy opening a bottle and having a sip or two, let it sit for a little and keep trying. I know for sure that most wines benefit from being open a while, but many need decanting to aid in oxidation. As OT said, it's also nice to see all the crud in the bottom of the decanter and not in your glass and mouth.  I guess it's knowing which bottles require decanting (age, variety, winemaker etc) as I certainly don't decant every bottle I open. 

Reply by outthere, Dec 31, 2016.

Crud in the decanter? No way. I pour the wine into the decanter slowly allowing the crud to accumulate in the shoulder of the bottle. I then wash out the bottle and pour the wine from the decanter back into the bottle. "Double decanting"

Reply by dvogler, Dec 31, 2016.

It's hard to get it all sometimes.  I've had Brunello that left the bottle without a granule, but in the bottom of the decanter there was fine silty sediment. 

Reply by rckr1951, Dec 31, 2016.

I use and decanter/filter/aerator system for bottles that show sediment on the bottom.  I always aerate older wines to bring them to life quicker.

I like the effects of decanting on young tight wines also - so yes - I do decant and recommend it to those that ask. In fact I plan using it tonight on some older wines I'm pouring tonight.

Good thread OT.  Happy New Year Every One.

Reply by outthere, Dec 31, 2016.

Darren, what you are getting most of the time is sediment that was stuck to the cork that deposited itself in the neck of the bottle when you pulled the cork out. I try to wipe that out with my finger then do my initial pour through a strainer while the bottle neck flushes out. Then I discard the strainer and continue slowly.

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 31, 2016.

Have to admit to some laziness with this lately, and not drinking enough older wines as well. Have not decanted a bottle in months! Maybe I'll decant the champagne tonight for kicks.

Happy New Year's all.

Reply by dvogler, Dec 31, 2016.


Use an aerator!   HNY!

Reply by GregT, Dec 31, 2016.

I think OT is right about the somm's suggestion. And what does refrigeration have to do with anything?  In many cases there isn't much of a change but in other cases the changes are major. I realized that one time as I was drinking a wine and so I did a blind taste with about 20 people where I poured them each two wines side by side to see which one they preferred. The wines were vastly different. But they were the same wine - I just decanted one 8 hours ahead of time and poured it back into the bottle before serving.

Reply by rckr1951, Jan 1, 2017.

DNATH991 - I re-read what that somm said and I wondered where he'd been schooled at.  I echo GT's statement about refrigeration also - that's just dumb.

What the hell does he mean by -  "decanting wasn't valuable to releasing characteristics of a wine" - Christ in a hand basket - has he ever tried  2 bottles of a young tight Cali cab or young, tight Bordeaux left banker without decanting and one with the proper decanting?

These people here, combined, have hundreds of years of experience and I'd like to think that they know proper decanting is required at certain times, properly differentiating between old and new wines and what to do with each.

Reply by DNath991, Jan 1, 2017.

Heh, I thought this thread might stimulate some passionate reaction. The conversation jolted me because I know I've seen SIGNIFICANT benefits in decanting young and somewhat older bottles. Not sure about the Somm's angle, but it's hard to think that perspective would be met with much positive reception in the professional world. I don't decant all the time, but when I do the difference is immediately present. Granted, many wines don't need it, but it's still interesting to see the contrast in structure and nose when you do.



Reply by rckr1951, Jan 2, 2017.

 DNATH991 - You are exactly right.  There are times that is needed and other times it's not.  Experience and longevity help to guide you.  

Reply by MJET, Jan 2, 2017.

We decant 95% of our wines as we believe the right amount of time in the decanter benefits most wines. As RCKR mentioned some experience will get you in that perfect decant/drinking window. I removed the lower rack of one of my wine coolers to allow for a decanter to keep the wine at the right temperature as well. 

Reply by vin0vin0, Jan 2, 2017.

MJ, that's brilliant!

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 4, 2017.

Old wines you decant mostly for sediment, IMO.  Too much air can kill them.  Unless it's old Barolo, which needs decanting to lose the funky, dirty smells.  Young wines also want decanting to open them up, but sometimes they need days and days.  Better just to let them rest, although we all succumb to our infanticide impulses now and then.

Wines that are early in their drinking window will probably gain something by decanting and exposing to air for a couple hours, maybe more.  I agree that it's best to have a spot in the cellar for them to stay cooler than room temp.  Go, MJET. 

Middle aged wines a good piece into their drinking window might not gain much by decanting, but odds are they won't be harmed.  If you have lots of bottles and not enough decanters/carafes, save the decanter for another bottle. 

With most wines that are in their drinking window, I'll open them up ahead of time (couple hours or more before guests arrive), pour a little into the glass I am going to be using, give it a taste.  Then I decide from there. 

GregT is going to get on me about "drinking windows," but y'all know what I mean.  I agree the somm has a tete full of mede on this one.  He could have just been agnostic, but he had a decided opinion that seems to go against everything I've observed, others have observed, etc. 

OT is right about wiping out the neck with a pinky finger and a kitchen towel or similar to avoid the stuff left behind there.  Of course, if we stored wine upright, the sediment would collect at the bottom, not in the neck and shoulders.  Corks are the culprit there.  Sad part about decanting to avoid sediment is that you can only be sure if you leave a pretty good amount in the bottle sometimes.  Half a glass of some exquisite and expensive vintage cab/burg/barolo is painful to part with. 

Reply by dvogler, Jan 4, 2017.

Hey Richard, how's the new renovation treating you?  You happy with everything?

Reply by Lucha Vino, Jan 5, 2017.

I'm on the same decanting page as what most people have already said.  I decant all my wines whether it is for the character that results from air contact or to separate sediment in older wines.

I really like to compare how wines evolve over time.  IMHO, wine is one of the few beverages that gets better the longer it is open.

Reply by GregT, Jan 5, 2017.

For the most part I agree Lucha except for this past-due Chianti I'm drinking at the moment. I thought it was dead so left it unrefrigerated through a couple San Diego summers. Then for some reason I decided to open it just now. Turns out I did it a great disservice. After all the abuse, it still had a bit of life and interest, but it faded fast. Too bad.

But I caught a bit of it by pouring directly out of the bottle. Had I decanted, it would have all been lost.

It's a specific freak show though, and I think decanting helps a lot of wine and doesn't hurt too many. It's not necessarily required all the time, but especially if you know the wine, why not?

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