Decanting Wine – Whats and whys – Vinturi’s, Respirers, Peugeot Tulipes, and Spinwine Pourers

We’ve all heard of decanters, most often seen in high end palatial estates or highbrow homes that feature an expansive bar with scotch or a fine brandy displayed and poured from crystal decanters – never mind the lead leaching our of the lead crystal glass (oops!). Not just for the well-to-do, wine decanters and/or their functional equivalents really belong in the home of EVERY wine lover!

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Wine decanters take many artful shapes but the functional intent is the same, to allow oxygen to get to the wine – let the wine breath – so-to-speak – to release the full character and complexity of the wine.

OK – now you’re CONFUSED you’ve heard all along that wine and oxygen are NOT to be mixed in wine making or storage – and you are in part correct. There are even storage devices for example the “Vacu Vin” vacuum stopper system (Click here!) that is designed to limit oxygen contact with opened wine. Vacu Vin is a short-term wine storage system keep your wine palatable for a day or two after opening…

Once a wine is planned for opening, consumption, and enjoyment, some oxygen by means of decanting/aeration is generally a good thing and modest price point young, possible tannic red wines generally benefit noticeably from decanting or a bit of aeration prior enjoyment.

Historically there were many reasons for decanting wines.

Prior to modern day wine making technology including micro filtration, and cold stabilization that assure consistent and quality wine products on the shelf, wines were (and many still are) racked (gravity settling) and possibly “fined” to remove solids and clarify the wine, but were not micro filtered. This resulted in some harmless but possibly aesthetically undesirable wine solids and tartrate crystals (“wine diamonds”) deposits on the bottom of, or if cellared inverted, on the shoulders of the wine bottle.

Carefully decanting the wine into a crystal or ceramic decanter was a way of leaving these solids out of the wine glass, and also a way to let the wine open up and “breath” prior to serving enhancing the character of the wine.

That said, there are many wine experts that say decanting modern day wines is unnecessary and may actually harm older vintages. But many other wine experts support the position that decanting red wines adds to the visual display and presentation of the wine, and is encouraged and beneficial to the quality of the wine experience.

For the ultimate restaurant wine presentation – there is the artisan-like decanting device called the Gattorna Wine Bottle Decanting Cradle . Turning the screw actuates the cradle, which pours the wine in a very measured, deliberate manner. The back-lighting candle is provided to back-light the wine bottle to detect any sediment during the decanting process.

Don’t have 30-minutes or several hours for traditional decanting? Enter today’s hurried lifestyle and add a bit of bit of proven fluids or flow dynamics technology.

Three specialized wine tools promise to enhance the quality of wines especially modestly priced young, tannic, reds that seem to really benefit the most from decanting/aeration. These range in price from $20-$40 US dollars.

Below are a few of the leading products that use the “Venturi effect” to draw air and thereby oxygen into the flowing of wine (The Venturi effect is the reduction in fluid pressure that results when a fluid flows through a constricted section of pipe. The fluid velocity must increase through the constriction to satisfy the equation of continuity, while its pressure must decrease due to conservation of energy: the gain in kinetic energy is balanced by a drop in pressure or a pressure gradient force):

The “Vinturi” (a wine play on Venturi) Click here! Recently Charlie Palmer Restaurant Group (Click here!), a national chain of ultra-premium restaurants and wine shops announced that the Venturi will be used in all of their restaurants and will be available for purchase in all of their fine wine shops. Palmer stated “I was immediately attracted by both the simplicity of the design and the spectacular results. Vinturi delivers on its promise of effective, quick aeration”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celeras’ “Respirer” – “The Next Generation Wine Aerator” Click here!

 

 

…and the Peugeot “Tulipe” Glass Wine Aerator Click here!

All three promise to deliver instant decanting to those who can’t wait the traditional 30 minutes – to several hours of decanting time required of traditional methods.

A forth product the “Spinwine Pourer” photo below… Click here! for those who can’t even wait for holding an intermediate aerator device. I don’t believe this device uses a true Venturi effect design but it sure seems to swirl and splash the wine. Here’s what MASI – one of Italy’s fine wine producers, has to say about the Spinwine aerator:

“The MASI Technical Group has tested this product and we can observe that there is a considerable difference in the pleasantness of the wine which has just been opened.

Especially we believe that this product is particularly indicated for the wines that already have been for a longer time in the bottle and which generally are a bit closed and often have some unpleasant aroma, and improve only after a certain time in the glass.”

Thanks to Spinwine these wines show their utmost in a very short time.s what Italy’s …

So what does YOUR wine drinking experience tell you???

Does decanting enhance your enjoyment of wine or is it an arcane waste of time?!?!

Post your comments below!!!

 

 

 

 


 

 

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About Author: Dennis Grimes

8 thoughts on “Decanting Wine – Whats and whys – Vinturi’s, Respirers, Peugeot Tulipes, and Spinwine Pourers

  1. mhark
    November 23, 2010 at 21:13

    i think decanting process is used for those old wine which is having sediments and also those wines which is the cork is broken ..to remove anything like that is the way they decant…

    take note : only red wine can be used in decanting not white wine

  2. October 29, 2010 at 18:07

    I have heard pros and cons regarding the Vinturi. Numerous friends I know who bought and tested the device all report that it does improve the quality of the wine.

    After my wife bought us one, we tested it with blind tastings on a number of different red wines. Each time, we chose the wine that had been poured through the Vinturi as the better tasting wine. It’s an inexpensive device, quick, and easy to use.

    • Dennis Grimes
      November 5, 2010 at 11:35

      Steve – we agree the Vinturi can be effective – especially with young wines. It’s not alchemy -t does improve many wines. Most folks also like seeing it in action. Some don’t like the aeration sounds, while others don’t mind…

  3. Julie Rayle
    September 6, 2010 at 13:56

    Does anyone know where I can but a Gattorna Wine Bottle Decanting Cradle? or something similar with the crank and cradle?

    Thanks, Julie

  4. July 14, 2009 at 05:09

    Beyond the aesthetic beauty of decanting wine my experience tells me that decanting vastly improves most red wine. The challenge is getting decant times right with different varietals and vintages.

    As you correctly stated, most young and as you say “modest” priced wine benefit greatly from some air time. There have been occassions where I have noted that a wine is not really revealing all it can be until several hours in the decanter. With more well aged wines things get trickier since wines that are 10 or more years old can start to deteriorate with too much air though they benefit from some air to sort of stretch out their arms and legs after the long nap in the cellar. Find the the right amount of time to decant a well aged Bordeaux is tough but comes with experience.

    I have two simple pieces of advice. First, test it out. Get two bottles of modestly priced red wines (same winery, same vintage) and decant one for an hour or two and after that time pop and pour the other along side the decanted wine. Taste them and see if you can tell the difference. I bet you can!

    Second, as I pour into the decanter I pour a quick tasting pour into a glass to see where the wine is right out of the bottle. This give me some idea of how long it will need to decant to open up. I will then go back to that glass every 30 minutes or so to sniff, taste and spit to see how it is going. Of course this is time consuming and not always possible but it certainly trained my senses on how long certain wines of different varietals, regions and vintage need to decant.

    On the Vinturi Aerator, never tried it myself but there is a whole gang of people on Cellartracker who swear by them and have tested them rather scientifically.

    Sorry for the long winded response.

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