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Decanters


youngfood
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I got a decanter for Christmas and now that I have it, it occurs to me that I'm not really sure about how and when to use it. So, when and how do you use yours? Are older wines or younger wines more in need of decanting? Does region or varietal play a role? Do you use it when you have guests or time, but not otherwise? Do you ever bother to use yours on inexpensive or moderately priced wines?

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I got a decanter for Christmas and now that I have it, it occurs to me that I'm not really sure about how and when to use it. So, when and how do you use yours? Are older wines or younger wines more in need of decanting? Does region or varietal play a role? Do you use it when you have guests or time, but not otherwise? Do you ever bother to use yours on inexpensive or moderately priced wines?

All wines, cheap or expensive, red or white, old or young, benefit from aeration. The quickest and easiest way to aerate wine is to pour it gently into a decanter. Give it a try.

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I have a stash of really old Burgundies -- 50 years old and more -- and frequently the cork crumbles when I open a bottle. So I strain the wine into a decanter and then give it 45 minutes or so for aeration.

Yes, I know that if I had had better atmosphere control, I wouldn't have this problem.

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I have a stash of really old Burgundies -- 50 years old and more -- and frequently the cork crumbles when I open a bottle. So I strain the wine into a decanter and then give it 45 minutes or so for aeration.

Yes, I know that if I had had better atmosphere control, I wouldn't have this problem.

Stephen,

If the Burgundies are really more than 50 years old, you shouldn't wait 45 minutes. 5 is more like it with wines that old.

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I am in the market for a new decanter since my Riedel Ultra went missing ( I think the cleaning lady put it somewhere and I can't find it and she dosen't speak english) Any favorites in particular out there?

I have about 40 decanters from 1001 Nachts engraved Meissen to Topazio, Baccarat, several Moser that I bought at their factory to almost every Reidel. I also have about every device known to man to clean these things. My favorite is a Vinum Extreme because, forgive me, I like the long snout. It seems manly.

On a serious note I believe that the 1001 Nachts series is the finest engraved crystal in the world. This is the link to a webpage showing a number of their pieces: http://www.meissener-bleikristall.de/Trinkglasserie_06.pdf (1001 Nachts is shown on page 4 of this link. For their various "goblets" there are about 40 different scenes that can be done along with the possibility of custom enscription.) I met the woman at their factory in Meissen, Germany who does this: she has carpal tunnel syndrome (having done this for over 30 years) and works with her arm resting on a sleeve. But the craftmanship, the artisty is absolutely exquite. Of all the decanters I have collected over the years this and her other pieces are the ones I am most proud of. If anyone is into crystal this is well worth the detour if you are near Dresden.

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I might take Mark's comment a little further and say in general, I would rather experience the evolution of a fine old (red) Burgundy in the glass so, I tend to shy away from decanting in that situation. Off vintages can fade rather quickly also. I tend not to decant older sub-par vintages of even first growth Bordeaux. While the juice may be quite tasty, it can be fleeting.

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I might take Mark's comment a little further and say in general, I would rather experience the evolution of a fine old (red) Burgundy in the glass so, I tend to shy away from decanting in that situation. Off vintages can fade rather quickly also. I tend not to decant older sub-par vintages of even first growth Bordeaux. While the juice may be quite tasty, it can be fleeting.

a situation of double decanting is also useful in order to rid yourself of your cork crumbles, or sediment issues. though it opens the wine up initially, the surface area is then decreased for further enjoyment. don't make a habit of decanting everything though, otherwise you can get into a situation of a wine that may have had too much aeration (MADEIRZED), and you the drinker, will begin to think that it is a prime example of the wine, ie; Old BURGS, old RIOJA, old RHONE, off VINTAGES :( .

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I use it regularly for young wines, but recently found it extremely helpful while I was decanting a 20 year-old single-quinta port. Using an Ah-So corkscrew (which is critical with vintage Port as the corks tend to crumble!) and a funnel with a wire mesh strainer (for the sediment), the bottle was served well with an hour decant.

And I agree with old burgundies - sometimes the glory may be in the first 30 minutes, and you don't want to lose that!

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I find that decanting is especially helpful for Australian Shiraz, CA Pinot Noirs, and almost any young red wine. I always decant those. I like to decant because it lends a certain cache to the wines. In fact, many of the huge Aussie Shirazs benefit from many hours in a decanter.

However, I agree with Mark and James (but then why wouldn't I, they are two of the most knowledgeable wine guys I know personally) that decanting really old Burgandy (or even olf Bordeauxs or CA Cabs) is not necessarily a good thing. They are often decanted to make sure the sediment is not present, but I find that many of those older wines tend to go downhill very quickly once they have been exposed to the air, and if you can refrain from decanting them, they will last a little longer since they exposure is less.

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Cachet? How?

Well, my wife has started buying me decanters that she likes. I think there is a certain cachet to using a Riedel Cornetto or Amadero Lyra. At many of dinners that my fellow wine geeks have the bottle is set behind the decanter on the sideboard, and the lineup can be very impressive.

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I know someone who uses drip coffee pots (presumably never used for brewing coffee) as decanters.

Actually, decanters can be almost anything that doesn't impart any flavor to the wine and allows it to get air. I know people who use all kinds of things, from crockery pitchers to $300 hand blown decanters. The primary function of the decanter is to allow air to get to the wine and allow it to "breathe." Since my wife is so kind as to buy me nice decanters, I use them and think that they lend "cachet" to the wine drinking experience. But by all means, use whatever is appropriate. What we are trying to impart to the OP, decanting has a favorable impact on wine when the wine in question needs to "air out" a bit in order to open and show all of its flavor and aromas. But, decanting very old wines (except for old fortified wines like port or maderia) can cause the wine to break down more quickly.

James, I beleive you were at the dinner where Dave opened and decanted the 1985 Insignia. It was fantastic when first opened, but an hour later it had deterioriated quite a bit. We probably shouldn't hve decanted that one. :mellow: On the other hand, several years ago I was at a dinner where the 1998 Cape d’Estaing Shiraz Kangaroo Island and/or the 2001 Mitolo Shiraz GAM had been decanted for over 6 hours and still sang and were still opening as the evening progressed.

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