Decanters are an essential part of the wine-drinking process. They make it easy to pour a glass without spilling or having to deal with all that sediment at the bottom of your bottle.
With so many different decanter options, it can be hard to find one that’s right for you. This blog post will help you determine which type is best for your needs and what features they should have in order to get the most out of them!
WHAT IS A WINE DECANTER AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
1. What Is A Wine Decanter
A wine decanter is a vessel designed to remove sediment, allowing the clear wine above it to be served without the cloudy or brownish hue that would otherwise remain in the bottle.
The process of decanting a wine first originated centuries ago when it was discovered that exposing wine to air for a short period caused it to gain clarity. Eventually, winemakers realized the advantage of this practice and began designing decanters specifically for removing sediment before serving the wine itself.
2. Two Methods Of Decanting
From this discovery, two different methods were developed:
The first is by inverting the bottle and slowly pouring out its contents into the decanter. This method does not disturb the sediment because the bottle neck acts as an obstacle preventing any movement of particles towards the exit point. Instead, only clear wine reaches the decanter, leaving behind all sediments in its place.
2.2. Pumping or Sucking
The second method requires removing more than half of a wines volume via either pumping or sucking. This leaves an empty space that allows the free movement of particles towards the neck, where they can be safely removed by inverting the bottle as before and pouring out into a decanter.
A wine pump is inserted in between the corkscrew and cork, which then uses suction to extract a large amount of wine from within the bottle. When enough space has been created (usually around half), the cork is pulled followed by inverting and pouring out into a decanter.
Don’t Stress To Much Over It
Keep in mind that sediment formation is a natural process and even the clearest of wines will have accumulated some amount of particles always, so don’t stress too much over it. A little bit of sediments won’t affect the taste or quality at all, but don’t keep them in your wine for too long as they tend to grow larger with time.
There are also machines on the market called centrifuges designed specifically for removing sediment from large quantities of grape must without disturbing its flavor (as much). These devices are expensive however and only specialized wineries use them during production to separate pure grape juice from thick skins or pulp before fermentation starts.
The most important thing anyway is freshness, so drink up!
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF WINE DECANTERS ON THE MARKET TODAY
First, let us go over the different types of wine decanters so that we can understand what our options are.
1. Standard Decanter
The standard decanter is simply the tall glass bottle that you can find in any bar or restaurant with a long neck and a round base. It will be able to hold about 750ml of wine and it will have a lip around the top where you can insert a glass when pouring.
This type of decanter is very cost effective and there are many affordable options out there for this style. They tend to get scratched up over time due to the friction on them from other glasses, but they are great for serving wine to your guests at home during parties, dinners, etc.
2. Cruet Set / Canteen
Cruet sets were designed as oil & vinegar containers which is why they have the same look. They are often referred to as cruets, but this name is not that common anymore. These types of decanters will be about 500ml, as well as having a much shorter neck and a wider base.
This design may seem odd for wine decanting purposes, however it’s actually perfect because you can hold the container in one hand while pouring with your other which makes them great for serving during meals or at parties without worrying about spills or accidents.
You should use separate ones for different oils & vinegars though since flavors do transfer between acidic liquids so that you don’t ruin a great bottle of vinegar with an unpleasant oil taste (we’ll cover this more in depth later
Carafes are the most popular type of wine decanter, especially when it comes to serving out at restaurants, parties, and during special events. They usually have a round base with a narrow neck that turns into an even narrower spout that will be tilted forward instead of straight up like standard decanters.
This design helps to put less strain on the neck as well as making it easier to pour without spilling or dribbling which makes them much more practical. The smaller opening also serves another purpose because you can insert an aerator inside for faster aeration by swirling your glass around in circles after pouring.
There are also “specially designed” models that allow you to function both as a car and a standard decanter which is great because you can save space in your cabinets, and they will last much longer.
4. Decanter Set
Decanter sets are quite similar to standard decanters; however, they have a very wide base that is shaped almost like a flower with several points on the bottom. These types of wine decanters were made to be used specifically for long aged wines such as sherry, port, and some dessert wines which tend to build up sediment over time.
The wider base allows more air circulation between the liquid and the sediment with each pour so that you can separate them easily when finished without having to wait for it all to settle down or use any other tools. This makes them perfect for serving these kinds of wines because they can be messy with standard decanters due to the sediment.
You should avoid using these types of wine decanters for any other wines though as you will not get much air flow through them, and their design makes it very hard to get your hand inside for cleaning which is why it’s easier to just use a different type for everyday usage.
5. Double-Walled Decanter
These types of wine decanters are made of two separate pieces that fit together perfectly in order to create an extra layer of insulation around the outside of the glass bottle so that your hands won’t warm up your drink while pouring, making them great for serving red wines at events during hot or even dinner parties during cooler months.
This advantage may also come in handy when serving red wines that are too young & tannic as you will be able to pour a glass, let it aerate for a few minutes while the wine decanter sits on your table, then serve yourself and your guests before the end of the meal without getting an unpleasant taste from the acids & tannins which can often happen if you were to leave them sitting out during dinner.
6. Y Decanter Set
Y-Decanters are quite unique because they have just one spout instead of two or none at all like pretty much every other type of wine decanter we’ve discussed so far. These types of decanters are very popular among consumers because they are very similar to the screw top wine bottle you can buy at your local supermarket but with a more elegant design.
They are almost always made of clear glass which looks great and allows you to easily see the color & clarity of your wine during the pour, especially over a candlelight dinner or in dimly lit places like bars or restaurants. They also come in all sorts of shapes & sizes so that you can find exactly what you need, whether that’s something classic for special occasions or something smaller for everyday usage.
PROS & CONS OF USING A WINE DECANTER
We’ve covered a lot of different types of wine decanters throughout this article, and they all have their own advantages & disadvantages depending on how you plan to use them.
The main benefit of using a wine decanter is that you can see exactly what your wine looks like which allows you to really appreciate the color & body as it’s being poured. This is very important when serving older wines because they have a much higher chance of suffering from cork taint or oxidation since they are usually very delicate, so being able to inspect them before drinking makes it much easier to detect any problems and keep them from ruining your experience.
Wine decanters also allow a lot more air flow between the liquid and the sediment in long aged red wines such as port, sherry, some dessert wines, etc., which means you will be able to filter out the sediment with each without having to wait for everything to settle down before you pour yourself a glass.
This is most beneficial if you are serving wines that build up a lot of sediment over time as it will save you time because you won’t have to let them rest for half an hour or more after they’ve been opened in order to get all of it out, which can often be impractical depending on your schedule and the occasion.
Wine decanters are not without their disadvantages though as they can be inconvenient if you’re only using them for everyday usage because of how long they take to clean. They also take up a lot more space than your average wine bottle, so they’re not great if storage is an issue either.
Their biggest disadvantage however comes from how expensive some of these types of wine decanters can be which means that it’s always best to try and grab a good deal when shopping for one because there’s no sense in spending money on something extravagant or overly ornate unless it’s going to be used solely for special occasions like weddings or other formal events where you need to make a big impression with the wine.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST WINE DECANTER FOR YOUR NEEDS
Choosing the best wine decanter for your needs is not very complicated but it does require a bit of common sense because there are so many different types with their own advantages & disadvantages, so it’s important to think about what you’re going to use it for and how often before picking one out.
If you need something that will be used solely for special occasions were looking good is a priority, then spending extra money on an ornate crystal wine decanter will usually be worth the investment since they can last for decades if properly cared for.
If you only have room in your budget or storage space however then getting an original wine bottle along with one of those simple glass decanting setups which just requires pouring through funnel will probably better meet your needs because they are much more affordable and take up less room.
If you really want your wine to stand out then glass decanters paired with a nice candlelight dinner or event will definitely get the job done, but if you’re in it for practical purposes only and are not too fussed about aesthetics then just getting a simple original bottle will give you all the results that you need without having to break the bank buying expensive crystal counterparts.
Additional Considerations & Tips
There are a few additional things which you should always keep in mind when purchasing wine decanters.
One is how easy it is to clean, as no one wants to spend all day scrubbing something they only plan on using once or twice for special occasions. As such, getting one that can be disassembled easily and has rinsing holes will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run so it’s well worth spending extra pennies if it means drastically cutting down your wash time.
If you’re looking for something in particular then always make sure to get measurements first before buying anything online because they can often be deceiving without trying them out first-hand, especially if you don’t have any idea what to expect from the size of the thing you’re getting.
Wine decanters aren’t expensive, so most people won’t mind having to return something they got by accident, which was either too big or too small, but it’s always best to make sure anyways rather than risk wasting money on something you don’t need.
If storage space is scarce then try looking for wine decanters with a slim design as these can sometimes be easier to fit onto cramped table areas, especially if you already have things like plates and candles taking up valuable room.
There are also lighting accessories that can be used in conjunction with wine decanters such as candle holders and lamps which will help give your event a well-lit look since it can tend to get rather dark without any artificial lighting when using wine decanters, so keep that in mind if you plan on hosting an event or dinner party where the lights need to be dimmed.
On a final note, always make sure to get a wine decanter which has good reviews online as it’s usually best to go with a tried and tested model rather than some generic thing you got your eye on.
After all, if people have already spent their hard-earned money on something then they’re usually more likely to leave reviews about it since purchasing something without leaving feedback is kind of odd in this day and age when everywhere from Amazon to eBay is prompting buyers for a quick review after making transactions.
This means that there are plenty of customer opinions available so there’s no sense steering away from what people have already expressed an interest in, so just keep that in mind and you should be good to go.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU USE A WINE DECANTER ON AVERAGE?
The short answer is that it depends on how often you plan on hosting dinners or events which require wine, but if you’re looking for a general guideline then it’s usually best to use a decanter at least once every week.
This is because even if you only use a decanter for special occasions or an event, it’s still best to get into the habit of using one regularly so that your wine stays fresh and ready to serve at any time.
There are some wines which can last quite long without needing to be poured through anything such as Port and Madeira based beverages, but these are usually paired with sweet things like cake and cheese, so they don’t really need much in terms of aeration anyways. However, most other red wines will go bad after about a week if they’re not properly decanted since the lack of air circulation will allow for too much oxidation.
The same rule applies to all other types of alcohol aside from wine, as well as most types of spirits which is why it’s a good idea to get into the habit of using a wine decanter regularly rather than just during special occasions.
CAN I USE ANY TYPE OF GLASS FOR MY WINE DECANTER?
It’s usually best to find something that’s specifically made for wine decanting as these are specially designed to work with wines over other types, but if you can’t find anything then go for something which doesn’t contain lead and has been heat tested or tempered because this will help improve your experience when it comes to serving and drinking from them.
If you can’t get hold of a vintage glass product then try going with one that has been crafted from high quality Borosilicate glass instead, as these are usually made from a mix of low and high temperature resistant glass which can help reduce the risk of it shattering due to changes in both temperature and pressure.
You don’t want something that’s going to shatter or explode because that wouldn’t be very pleasant for anyone involved, so always make sure to double check what type of material your decanter is made out of before purchasing it since different wines require specific types of glass for optimal performance.
HOW TO PROPERLY STORE YOUR WINES IN A WINE DECANTER
It’s usually a good idea to use a decanter if you plan on serving wine in an event or dinner party where it will be exposed to some sort of time constraint, but if your wines are going to be stored in the decanter then make sure not to fill it all the way up.
The reason for this is that wines tend to expand when they’re put into an enclosed space since there isn’t any air circulation so having them filled up completely can lead to quite a bit of wasted liquid and product overall since the liquids have nowhere else to go once, they’ve expanded.
This means that you’re essentially paying for something that’s been partially used, which defeats the purpose of using a wine decanter in the first place.
The second thing to keep in mind when you’re using a wine decanter is that you need to make sure it’s not exposed to too much pressure since this can lead to the formation of bubbles which will then force its way through the surface of your red wines, causing them to lose quite a bit of their flavor and body over time.
This is why it’s important to find something which has been made from Borosilicate glass or similar products so that you don’t run into any problems with the quality, consistency, and performance of your wines.
HOW SHOULD I STORE MY WINE DECANTERS?
When we say “store”, what we really mean is keeping them safely somewhere where they won’t break or shatter.
It’s important to take the necessary precautions when storing a wine decanter since they can be quite expensive and taking them out of storage shouldn’t result in having to replace them afterwards.
To make things easier you should try keep your wine decanters on a table or shelf where there isn’t too much going on as this will help improve their chances of surviving any accidents that might occur but do make sure that the base surface is made from something sturdy so that it doesn’t topple over for no apparent reason.
If you’re planning to use your wine decanter within a cabinet, then don’t bother placing anything else inside because it’ll most likely fall off and break given its contents aren’t exactly light nor they protected by anything whatsoever.
AND FINALLY, TIPS FOR CLEANING YOUR WINE DECANTER!
Given that they come in all shapes and sizes, as such it’s important to take the necessary precautions when cleaning them rather than using something which could potentially break or shatter them.
General rule of thumb is that it’s a good idea to wash your wine decanters by hand rather than placing them into the dishwasher because otherwise you could risk ruining their appearance, breaking them, or exposing them to too much moisture which can cause glass corrosion.
Just remember that if you do end up using your wine decanters on a daily basis then you should be washing them after every use so that they don’t end up smelling like bacteria and different types of food that’s been left out for far too long.
If you need an easier way, then try soaking the parts in white vinegar or adding some baking soda to hot water and letting it sit for a while before gently cleaning away any dried residue with something like a paper towel or dish cloth.
HOPEFULLY YOU KNOW MORE THAN ENOUGH ABOUT WINE DECANTER
When it comes to wine decanters, there’s a wide range of options and features that can make choosing the right one for your needs quite difficult. With so many choices, you may need help with narrowing down what will work best for you. We hope this article has helped provide some guidance in making an informed decision on which wine decanter is perfect for you!