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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