Types of Wine Decanters
If you’re reading this article, you probably already know what a wine decanter is and what it’s used for. If you need more information on this subject, we have another article for beginners where we explain why wine is decanted. In this article, we will focus more on the different types of wine decanters and everything you need to know about how to use them and take care of them. We also recommend a few that we like ourselves!
When should we use a wine decanter?
You surely already know that not all wines need to be decanted. White wines and rosés don’t need to be decanted. One exception is reserve white wine with a lot of body and sulphurous notes, which can gain in flavour during decanting.
Robust red wines with a high concentration of tannins, like our Coto Real Reserva or Coto de Imaz Gran Reserva wines also improve in flavour with greater exposure to oxygen. This is because the oxygen softens the tannins and the acidity, and allows possible fruity and floral aromas in the wine to surface.
Another case is when the wine contains sediments, for example, a red wine that has been kept for a long time. We can use the decanter to eliminate the sediment. To do this, place a small, stainless steel strainer at the mouth of the decanter.
How to use a wine decanter
To use the decanter correctly, we must first add a little wine to the decanter to clean it, as there may be water or dust that can leave behind different tastes or aromas. Then, tip this wine away but pour a little into a glass to try. The taste and aromas that we perceive will give us an idea of how long we will need to decant the wine. Then, take the bottle of wine in one hand and the decanter in the other at a forty-five-degree angle. Without touching the neck of the decanter, pour the wine down the neck in a constant motion. Make sure to keep one finger’s depth of wine in the bottle, as this is where the sediment will remain.
¿Cuánto tiempo hay que decantar un vino?
The time needed to decant a wine varies according to the variety of grape, the resting time in the bottle and the shape of the decanter. Light red wines and light reserve white wines may need 30 to 40 minutes. However, for stronger wines with more body it may take up to one hour. To know how much time you really need, do the test; decant the wine and if half an hour later you don’t notice a smoother or fruitier taste, let it rest in the decanter for another half an hour.
Once the wine has been decanted enough for you to notice its aromas and flavours, you should serve it and not keep it any longer. You can keep the remaining wine in the decanter with a stopper for another couple of days, but not much more.
Types of decanters
There are different types of decanters depending on their use and design, but generically we talk about maximum and minimum oxygenation decanters.
-Maximum oxygenation decanters. The most common, with a wide base for the wine to better aerate, and a wide neck This way it can be maintained better, the wine oxygenates more and any possible sediment remains on the sides when pouring. These are ideal for reserve and gran reserve wines. Another type of maximum oxygenation decanter is the duck decanter.
-Minimum oxygenation decanters. These have a narrower mouth and longer, less inclined neck. They are more commonly used for young wines. Designs include the swan and cornetto decanters.
Decanters according to the type of wine
We can recommend different decanters according to the type of wine. For example, for red wines with more body, like our Tempranillo 875 m or a cabernet sauvignon, we recommend a decanter with a wide base. This way, the more surface area of the wine that is exposed to oxygen, the quicker it will decant. If we talk about a medium-body wine like a merlot, it’s better to user a medium decanter, and for pinot noir or lighter wines, we suggest a smaller one.
There are also different types of glass used to make wine decanters. Crystal is more resistant and is used to create styled decanters, while those made from glass are thicker and simpler in shape. Although both options are valid, if you are going to use a washing machine, it is better to go for glass.
How to clean a decanter
To clean your decanter we advise using a neutral, unscented soap, as this may affect the wine. Never use vinegar to clean it, as its strong smell may ruin your wine in the future. Ideally, you should use a long brush or specific wiper to reach all parts of the decanter, especially if it is styled. Remember to dry your decanter well before using it!