For many, drinking wine is a simple prospect. You open the bottle, pour the contents into a glass and start drinking. Yes, this process will indeed get wine into your digestive system, and may well leave you tipsy after a few glasses. But is this the correct way to get the most out of your wine drinking? The straight answer to this question is no!
Obviously, there is a great deal more to wine than simply drinking it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Anyone having watched expert tasters at work will know this. So, for all those that are looking to appreciate wine on a deeper level, there are a few essential tips to keep in mind. Interestingly, one of the top tips that crops up time and again is that you should always decant wine before consumption. Why? Let’s find out…
What Is Decanting?
If you’ve read this far and are still wondering what decanting is exactly, allow us to explain. Decanting refers to pouring a wine into a glass container and allowing it to ‘breathe’ prior to drinking it. This may sound like a pretentious, snooty thing to do, but it turns out there are solid scientific reasons for this process. Try it yourself, and you’ll probably taste the difference.
It also turns out that the glass container in which the wine is left to breathe makes all the difference. You might once again be thinking that this is all so much pretentious wine expert nonsense, but Maximilian Riedel, CEO of Riedel, begs to differ. Riedel was established in Austria in 1756, and has been producing wine glasses ever since. His family has fine-tuned the art of creating wine containers of centuries, so it’s safe to assume that Maximilian knows what he’s talking about.
According to him, the decanting process is absolutely essential for getting the most out of every bottle of wine. He went into detail in a recent interview.
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The Right Container And Time
Maximilian says that he likes to decant his wines over a period of about five hours, but that this length of time isn’t entirely necessary, if you’re a bit rushed. Even a few minutes will make a difference, he explains, and most will likely notice the difference in both the smell and taste of a wine that has been allowed to sit and breathe.
The size of the container used is also important, Maximillian elaborated. For white wines, a small container that can sit in a bucket of ice is good. Keeping white wine at the right temperature is, after all, essential. A young wine needs a big container, which helps get oxygen into it, which in turn provides a rapid natural ageing process. This will drastically improve the taste of a young wine. For an old wine, however, a smaller container is best, since it has already been aged and might suffer if exposed to more oxygen than is needed.
Though, he pointed out that getting fancy is not at all necessary for everyone. He stated that even using a flower vase would work just fine, for those who weren’t willing to put money into buying specialist containers. Though, he suggested, that if the benefits of decanting wine in this fashion are experienced, that more appropriate containers are a must for the full effects.
Watch The Sediment
In closing, Maximillian added one more tip. With mature wines, decanting is important in order to separate sediment. Wines that have sat for a long period of time will gather sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Pouring the wine into a glass container, slowly and carefully, ensures that the sediment stays in the bottle, and is not drunk. Plainly, Maximilian said that no one likes the texture of sediment when drinking wine, hence just one more reason why this often overlooked step is essential to ensure maximum drinking pleasure.