Wine Word of the Week: Decanting

By Kori ~ March 19th, 2009.

Wine Word of the WeekThis week’s Wine Word of the Week is decanting.

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Decanting is the optional and controversial step in serving wine, involving pouring wine out of its bottle into another container called a decanter. The most obvious reason for decanting a wine is to separate it from any sediment that has formed in the bottle which not only looks unappetizing in the glass, but usually tastes bitter and/or astringent. …. Another, traditional but disputed, reason for decanting is to promote aeration and therefore encourage the development of the wine’s bouquet.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
Decanting is the process of pouring wine from its bottle into another container, generally a glass container called a decanter. Older wines are decanted to remove any sediment while younger wines are decanted to promote aeration. Decanting is certainly not an exact science. Even the most knowledgeable wine enthusiast sometimes struggles with the decision of whether or not to decant, and if so, for how long.

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