Decanter : Uses and Abuses

For a while now, I see more and more often the Decanter used like a carafe, perhaps made ​​by a designer , in the strangestand different shapes, more for decorating the table or to make wine poured into it more important than it is in real. With this post I would like to dispel the many stereotypes associated with this object both useful and often indispensable.

Let’s start with the etymology of the word itself : “Decanter” is the shortened form of the French phrase “Carafe à Decanter“, the french term “Décantation” can be translated, in this particular case , with the word ” Sedimentation “, that means a physical phenomenon in which the particles suspended in a fluid are carried to the bottom of a body, because of existence of a force field , in this case the gravity .

If we try to ask someone point-blank what is the Decanter, almost certainly he will responds that it’s an item used to oxygenate and aerate wine. Wrong answer, due to a lot of misinformation that creeps into the world of oenology .

The decanter has a particular shape with an enlarged bottom and narrow neck that will never be able to help oxygenating the wine, on the other hand allows you to pour wine avoiding the dregs in it could fall into the glass. Wine Dregs are all the remains left after wine’s fermentation, made primarily by exhausted yeast that has completed its life cycle, tartrate and grapes’ impurities; nowadays thanks to micro filtration that takes place in the winery is very difficult to find dregs in a bottle, so few years old wines, even if structured , do not require the use of Decanter, another story for wines aged for many years: the passage of the wine from the bottle to the decanter , it should be done with care , tilting a little at a time the bottle , just enough to release the wine.

Once poured, after a while, the wine is ready to be merged in glasses: To do this, please, don’t handle the neck of the decanter, but from the bottom part of it and tilt it slowly, taking care to keep controlled the upper part, just before its mouth. The sommeliers usually look through the Decanter’s neck keeping it close to a candle light.

Perhaps I have written too much about this topic, I hope You are not bored of it. But to make things more interesting, If you want to tr, what I have just written, go to a wine shop and look for the right wine. Cheers!