Decanting wine: when and how to do it

Friday, 24 December, 2021
Decanter, Andy Howard MW
You might have that special bottle saved for the season's festivities. But does it need to be decanted? Andy Howard MW explains which wines benefit from decanting and gives a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Most of you will be planning on opening something special for the Christmas festivities, whether it’s that expensive bottle of Bordeaux or Burgundy, or your favourite vintage Port. But what are the main reasons for using a decanter and what are the key things to remember?

The decision on whether to use a decanter will be very much down to individual enthusiasts – there really are no right or wrong answers when thinking about decanting. However, one thing is always worth bearing in mind – you cannot magically ‘age’ a wine by decanting it before drinking.

When you decant, what you are doing is exposing the wine to oxygen, which starts to have an effect on many of the complex compounds within the bottle. These will cause the wine to change, but bear in mind that it is also possible for these changes to have a negative effect.

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Decanting wine: when and how to do it
Decanting wine: when and how to do it

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