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decantare (I)
to decant (GB)
décanter (F)
decantação (PO)
decantación (ES)

This one before Wine enjoyment optional process to be practiced, the spirits also differ diametrically from experts. In principle there are three different directions: 1. You have to decant wine because it “breathes”, that means with it oxygen must come into contact in order to optimally develop the aromas. 2. According to scientific knowledge, decanting has no effect at all and is therefore of no importance. 3. Decanting a wine is even harmful and damages its quality. So what is objectively correct? The only thing that is clear is that even recognized experts have divergent opinions. The famous French enologist Émile Peynaud (1912-2004), one of the most important wine tasters and scientists in this field, is a clear opponent of decanting and said: If it is necessary to decant at all, then you should do it at the latest possible point, namely immediately before enjoying the wine.

Decant - pour from a bottle into a carafe

Divergent opinion of professionals

Peynaud even thinks that the influence of oxygen basically has negative effects, creates a diffuse aroma in the wine and the flavors evaporate. With the large number of wines, decanting does not work at all. After countless personal experiments with a wide variety of wines, Peynaud sums up as follows: With old wines, the bouquet is broken down more or less quickly and the wines "die in the carafe". High-quality wines with long barrel storage and single-variety wines lose their bouquet, body and personality if they are decanted several hours before they are enjoyed. In contrast, decanting can be beneficial for wines with odor defects or foreign taste.

Even the oenologist Michael Broadbent (1927-2020) believes that an air supply is only useful for young wines (red wines), less for older ones and not at all for old ones. In particular, old wines with less character that are not of outstanding quality are at risk, because they can disintegrate and close within a short time (hours to minutes) due to oxygen contact vinegar become. He doesn't see it as extremely as Peynaud, but ascribes little effect to decanting. At best, the wines become something softer (which can also be a disadvantage). The famous wine author Hugh Johnson thinks that a wine definitely changes through decanting. In his opinion, whether for the benefit or disadvantage depends on the wine and personal taste.

Scientific studies carried out in the USA have shown that decanting has no demonstrable influence on the wine, because an enrichment with oxygen takes place - if at all - only on the surface. It is often cited as "evidence" that a wine that has been exposed to "oxygen" for a longer time differs from a wine that is enjoyed immediately after opening. For example, by "fruity and milder taste". But this still does not bring clarity, because it can be connected with the fact that the palate z. B. after the first sip of a tannic wine, meanwhile Astringency got used to and the wine only tastes different. Also meanwhile enjoyed dishes or another Wine temperature have an influence and can cause other sensory impressions.

Ventilate instead of decanting

The famous French wine collector François propagates a special form of decantation of the "slow aeration" (slow oxygenation method) especially with old red wines, but also others Audouze. The bottle is left to stand upright and closed two days before the planned enjoyment. Then it is uncorked and left to stand without decanting cork only placed on the opening for protection against dust or insects. Audouze recommends four to five hours for very old wines (30 to 40 years and older), and five to ten hours and longer for younger wines. He is also against removing the Depots, because he thinks that this changes the taste and even destroys the structure of the wine. He accepts that "the glass of wine poured first tastes different from the last one".

But supporters of his method also believe that the depot should definitely be removed. The effect of the "Audouze method" is that oxygen is added to the wine very slowly (after perhaps having been closed for decades) and it therefore develops much more harmoniously. The not so rare “decanting shock” can allegedly be avoided, which can lead to prominent acidity or hard tannins in older wines. According to Audouze, his many years of positive experience are based on “over a thousand bottles opened before 1945”. Absolute top rarities were back until the beginning of the 19th century.

In conclusion, you can only give the advice to try this out for yourself. At best, you can enjoy the same wine once decanted and sometimes not decanted - optimally would even be parallel - to form your own judgment. Of course you need two bottles for this, but this creates a "new problem". Because wines can develop very differently and the same wine in two different bottles can taste different; the phenomenon is called Bottle variance. So again this is not clear "scientific evidence". A compromise would be to decant half a bottle and leave the other half in the bottle that can be resealed immediately. But that would not be 100% in the sense of the thing, because even a short contact with oxygen could already cause changes.

Remove the depot

The most objective (and also undisputed) reason for decanting is to remove the wine from the Bottle bottom discontinued and occurring especially with red wines depot (polymerized tannins and dyes) and possibly Weinstein to separate. Apart from the negative appearance, these would otherwise inevitably get into the glass and possibly negatively affect the taste.


The second and, as described above, not uncontroversial reason for decanting is to take the wine with you oxygen to get in touch and be Aroma to unfold. The majority of wine lovers consider the method to be very important and useful. This transfer into another vessel for the sole purpose of Ventilation is also called Carafe (French carafer). According to the supporters, this can change a wine significantly positively. The ceremony requires a great deal of sensitivity, patience and time. The bottle is placed upright two to three days before consumption so that the depot can collect on the bottom. You can put the bottle in a decanter or one Wine cradle place where the bottle lies with its neck at an angle. How long the wine should be decanted before being consumed depends on the grape variety and the wine age and also on personal experience. As a rule, it is at least one to three hours.

The cork must be removed carefully without stirring up the depot. Then you start slowly and calmly on the inside wall of one carafe pour in. A decanting funnel can be a good tool so that the wine can flow directly into the wall. As a result, the wine comes into direct contact with oxygen for the first time and begins to be Aroma to unfold. A Decanter enables even and quiet pouring. The bottle is clamped into the machine with the opening at an angle and the bottle neck is slowly moved downwards using a hand crank. This is with certain types of Port wines or similar wines make sense, because these develop an extremely fine depot. When pouring, a light source must be exactly behind the bottle shoulder in order to recognize the appearance of the depot, which is presented as a black line. When the first traces become visible, the pouring is stopped.

Double decanting

A variant is Double Decanting (double decanting). The wine is first emptied into a carafe or into an empty bottle. The bottle is then cleaned to remove any deposits and then the wine is filled back into the bottle using a funnel. If this is to be transported, it is closed again. This gives several advantages to the supporters of this method. Due to the double oxygen contact, the wine is "aerated" even better. Bottles that have been pre-decanted in this way can be taken anywhere and are immediately enjoyable. In addition, the bottles with the original labels can not be confused with other wines (bottles), which can only be avoided with several carafes with different wines by labeling the carafes.

Bottles that have not been emptied and decanted can be stored again without additional effort ( Wine climate cabinet or refrigerator). Another advantage could be that bottles with the often elaborate design Labels appear more attractive at the table than carafes. Furthermore, the information on the label can be easily read by everyone. There are also some brand systems or technical devices (so-called mini decanters ) that are placed on the bottle. When pouring, the wine comes with a lot of air or oxygen in touch. These are, among other things Decantus, Venturi tube and Versovino. There are a variety of other accessories such as a "silver ball" that can be hung in the neck of decanters and allows the wine to flow away gently. See also on this topic Aging, Bottle aging, Ready to drink, Wine enjoyment, Wine glasses, Wine cellar, Wine temperature and Wine with food.

Above: By Didriks - Decanting on flickr, CC BY 2.0 , Link
Decanter: © Silver & Decor

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