Little Prince Wine Blog

Everything You Need To Know About Decanting


Simply put, the process of decanting involves pouring your wine from one vessel to another, most typically, from bottle to decanter.

This process, as simple as it seems, can be one of the most important steps to enjoying your bottle in its best condition. Decanting adds new life to your perfectly aged bottle, giving it oxygen to ‘breathe’ and separating any sediment that has come from the ageing process.

All wines are not decanted equally however, and based on the age of your chosen drop, we have put together a cheats guide to help you perfect your pour.

Bottle age: Less than 10 years

Decant for: 1-4 hours

The younger and more tannic the wine, the longer you will need to decant – within reason! Young wines can be tight or closed on the nose or palate and need the extra time to breathe, but be wary of overextended decanting! This can eventually diminish the aromatic properties of the wine.

Bottle age: 10 – 20 years

Decant for: 30 mins – 1 hour

For wines that have matured for over a decade, it is important to keep the decanting time much shorter. The extended ageing time means that these wines are effectively dormant, due to the limited contact with oxygen. The sudden increase in oxygen will speed up the rate at which the chemical reactions occur and mean the wine deteriorates much sooner. No longer than one hour is best practice for these wines.

Bottle age: 20 years+

Decant for: No decanting necessary – serve immediately!

With the extended bottle time, these wines are much more delicate and are best served immediately after opening. Decanting these wines, you are at risk of losing the aromas and flavours developed over time. If you’re concerned about sediment, stand your bottle upright for 1-2 days before serving and pour gently when opening.

Now you know how long to decant your wine for, you need to know exactly which wines to decant. Whites, roses and sparkling wines rarely require decanting and are best served straight away. A very rare exception would be for wines that are suffering pronounced reduction and have a rubbery or ‘struck match’ smell.

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