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Wine Decanters and Reasons To Use Them
Are wine decanters simple accessories or rather necessities when considering best wine gifts for wine lovers on your list? I guess it all depends upon how much they enjoy drinking wine and if they are interested in bringing out the full flavor and aroma of a bottle of wine.
Wine decanters are especially important for people who collect older vintages of wine.
If you know anyone who has a wine cellar in their home stocked with a great collection of wines both old and new, you can be sure that they undoubtedly already have an assortment of wine decanters as well.
Even people who do not have large collections of wine in their homes are still interested in decanting wine for a couple of reasons.
For people just learning to appreciate wine or individuals who have literally grown up knowing about wine and wine culture, a wine decanter is something that you might wish to consider when searching for just the right gift for yourself or others.
Decanters For Wine
Decanters for wine come in all sizes, shapes and price ranges.
If in your home environment you regularly host formal dinner parties with fine crisp linens, sterling silver place settings, fine bone china and crystal wine goblets then you probably want Riedel wine decanters, Baccarat decanters or some other fine crystal decanters to hold your wine which will be served to your guests.
If on the other hand your setting is more casual the decanters you wish to use may be simple glass wine decanters. Either one is fine and will ultimately do the same job with regard to how it will affect the wine you are serving and hope to enjoy.
Red Wine Decanters
There are a number of styles that are available for sale and each one suits a different purpose. The overall purpose of decanting wine is to help aerate the wine faster. Just the act of pouring the wine into the decanter exposes the wine to air which helps it "breathe" opening up flavor components that might be lacking from its short or long slumber after being bottled.
Once poured the wine in a wider bottomed decanter continues to have more air contact than a more narrow wine decanter.
An interesting note: Often those wide bottomed wine decanters are referred to as a ships decanter which makes sense. As the waves of the ocean rock a ship a wider bottomed base would help keep the decanter firmly planted onto a table and the precious liquid inside the decanter would be less likely to spill.
If however the wine needs just a bit of breathing time than a narrow sided decanter will suit the job perfectly.
Naturally timing of the opened bottle of wine also plays a factor in the ultimate taste of the wine. Some wines benefit from much longer breathing times than others.
Decanting Older Wines
Inserted into this post are some great videos explaining why decanting is necessary for older wines especially the wines made in a traditional manner.
After crushing grapes it is the contact with the grape skins, stems and seeds which gives wine its flavor and color up to a certain point. This process is closely monitored by winemakers and at a certain point the wine is transferred to other containers leaving most of this sediment called "lees" behind.
More lees sediment can be formed and filtration and clarification of the wine takes place sometimes in many different steps all depending upon the wine.
Fermentation of the wine continues even after being bottled and this is highly desirable for some wines that actually need that aging to develop full and exquisite flavors.
Other wines have short contact with the lees and short time in a bottle and are meant to be drunk as soon as they are purchased.
Aging of Wine
Wine is a living and breathing thing that continues to change through the years as long as it is left in the bottle.
Of course there comes a point in time when the aging process will become a detriment and the wine will be past its prime for drinking enjoyment. Many people dedicate their lives learning about this fascinating subject of liquid nectar for the gods.
When serving an older wine that is likely to have thrown some sediment it is advisable to stand the bottle upright for a day or even longer before decanting it. While sediment in the wine is not harmful it can detract from the enjoyment of a fine wine. After all who wants to see bits of floating debris in a fine crystal goblet?
If you previously knew nothing about the need for wine decanters hopefully you have learned something enjoyable from reading this post.
Do you use wine decanters in your home?
© 2010 Peggy Woods