Decanting wine is simply the process of adding air to your wine, which helps to enhance the aromas, giving you the best experience when drinking. The easiest way to do this is to pour the wine from its bottle into a jug. You can get special decanters which are specifically designed for use with wine, and are traditionally bowl-shaped, with a long, tapered neck for pouring.
When decanting wine, you should pour it slowly into the decanter. Any sediment that may be at the bottom of the bottle will then stay there, giving you a clear wine to enjoy. The wine being poured slowly also increases the amount of oxygen it comes into contact with, opening up its flavours and aromas as much as possible.
Some people choose to double decant, which simply means pouring the wine back into the (rinsed) bottle, or into another decanter. This adds even more oxygen to the wine, getting the aromas out even more fully. Try this if you find that your wine needs something extra after a single decant.
You may also choose to let your wine breathe. This helps to open up the bouquet, letting you take in the aromas before the first sip, which works to enhance the drinking experience. To do this, simply decant your wine a few hours before you plan on drinking it.
While we’ve already mentioned that you should avoid serving red wine too chilled, there are some preferred temperatures to serve wine.
Lighter, white wines, such as pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, and chablis, should be served at around 10°C. Full-bodied whites, such as oaked chardonnay and viognier, can be served at a slightly warmer temperature, up to 15°C.
Medium-bodied red wines, like pinot noir and grenache, should be served at a maximum temperature of 16°C, while full-bodied reds should be drunk anywhere between 16-19°C. Merlot, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon are examples of these warmer red wines.
Any wine should be stored in a cool, dry, dark area of your home. Excessive exposure to light, or fluctuating temperatures, can actually alter the taste of the wine in your bottle, causing it to go bad over a prolonged period of time. Any moisture in the air can even seep into the cork, which may end up mixing with the wine, and damage it over time.
If your bottle is sealed with a cork, you should store the bottles horizontally. This keeps the cork moist, which is crucial to its longevity, as dry corks are susceptible to crumbling, potentially causing the wine to leak out. It also introduces air to the wine, which ages it and can cause it to go bad before you’ve had a chance to drink it.
When it comes to storing open bottles of wine, you should try and recork it whenever possible. You can do this by wrapping the cork in wax paper, which will help it slide back into the neck of the bottle more easily. However, as this isn’t always appropriate — if the cork has split, for example — it’s a good idea to invest in a wine stopper to keep the bottle sealed.
When you do open a bottle of wine, we recommend drinking it within a week, even if you have managed to recork or seal the open bottle.
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