decanting young wineMore often than not we associate the decanting of wine with the pomp, ceremony and expectation of drinking something out of the ordinary.  But the truth is that decanting even less grandiose wines grabbed from the supermarket shelves in the £5-10 range can have a game changing effect on the tasting experience.

Decanting older wines has the very real purpose of separating the sediment from the wine that has built up over the years lying down.  The second effect of decanting is that it aerates the wine giving it a chance to breathe and release the finer qualities that otherwise might make us think the wine is tough or hardly drinkable.

For myself, I have a couple of nicer decanters for when I'm getting very excited about the drink on the table, however, for everyday drinking I simply pour the wine into glass jugs.  Pulling the cork out of the bottle/twisting the cap and leaving it for thirty minutes to breathe will not do very much at all.  Only a few centimetres of wine surface area is exposed to the oxidative process.  Pouring the wine into a glass jug and giving the surface of the liquid a ten centimetre exposure to the air will start the process of aeration working.  A good process to indulge oneself in is tasting periodically and making note of the changes that take place as the wine evolves in the glass.  

Decanting young wine can increase the please you get from drinking.  A quick signal is if the wine seems tough and tannic.  In this instance reach for the jug or decanter and rub your hands in anticipation.  Typical wines to try this out on might be 'Good Ordinary Claret' sold by many retailers in their own brand or a young Syrah from the Rhone.  

Go ahead, give it a try!

N.B. Leaving wine exposed to the air for more than sixteen hours (typically) will cause it to turn to vinegar and the oxidative process concludes by destroying the wines drinkability.  If you have enough worth saving pour it back in the bottle, pop the cork in and store in the fridge.

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