We all know that “opening up” a bottle prior to pouring will bring out more flavor and aroma, but it all seems like so much extra bother, doesn’t it? Who has the time or expertise to properly decant each bottle? Well, those days are over. No reason to get exasperated or intimidated—it’s easy! Follow these painless steps and you’ll always have a well-aerated, delicious tasting wine at your fingertips.
What is decanting all about anyway?
Decanting wine is essentially the process of pouring (decanting) the contents from one vessel (typically a bottle) into another vessel (typically a decanter). Usually the wine is then served from the decanter, but sometimes in a restaurant it is decanted back into the original bottle for service. At your own home, any old clean clear vessel will do. That isn’t so crazy, right?
Why should you decant?
Aside from allowing oxygen to mix with the wine, opening up the flavor and aroma, you’ll also remove sediment, too. Although you can decant any bottle, older reds will certainly have more natural “stuff” floating around thanks to extra color pigment and tannins. When you decant beforehand, you can usually look forward to a more vibrant tasting, less gritty textured wine.
How do you decant an older bottle?
Set the bottle upright for 24 hours or more before drinking, so the sediment can slide to the bottom of the bottle, making it easier to separate. Next, grab your decanter or other clean, clear vessel from which the wine can easily be poured into glasses. Remove the capsule and cork and wipe the bottleneck clean. Hold a light under the neck of the bottle (a candle or flashlight works well). Pour the wine into the decanter slowly and steadily, without stopping. When you get to the bottom half of the bottle, pour even more slowly. Warning: This part is important! Stop as soon as you see the sediment reach the neck of the bottle. Sediment isn’t always glaring, so stop if the wine’s color becomes cloudy or if you see what looks like specks of dust in the neck. The wine is now ready to serve. Discard the remaining ounce or two of sediment-filled liquid in the bottle (or dare your friends to drink it—whatever suits you). Remember: Sediment is not bad for you, but it does tend to give your teeth and tongue a mottled, deep purple appearance!
What about a bottle without much sediment?
If your wine is just a few years old or younger, it probably doesn’t have much sediment to speak of. However, red wines—especially high tannin, high structure reds—can totally benefit from a brief decanting before enjoying. Simply pour the contents of the wine into your decanter and let sit for thirty minutes. Take a whiff. Does it still smell a bit tight? Are the aromas underdeveloped and blah? Give it a little longer (some reds are known to take a good 45 minutes sitting out to truly show their true colors). Use your nose. It won’t let you down.
Taste the rainbow
Speaking of color, there is nothing more gorgeous than a ruby red wine shining in a clear glass decanter. These vessels are truly elegant and classy additions to your next dinner party spread. Plus, they run the gamut from affordable, modern styles to vintage crystal versions complete with artful touches. Not sure what wine gift to give the hostess with them mostest? Bingo!
5 Paso Red Wines too Decadent not to Decant
Hoyt Family Vineyards
2012 Petite Sirah
Named Best of Class by the San Francisco Wine Chronicle, this wine has an unbelievable round mouth feel, is chewy, fruit forward, leggy and lovely.
2012 Cabernet Franc
True to the varietal, this age-worthy wine offers up notes of herbal tea, dusty dry tannins, and pomegranate-like fruit.
Bodega de Edgar
2011 Mis Pasos
This wine offers primary earthy notes of caramelized beets, white pepper, and fresh cut wood, with secondary notes of rose petal, cumin, and garlic blossoms. On the palate, it offers great weight with zingy acidity and fine soft tannins.
Four Lanterns Winery
Fire Light 2014 Syrah
An intense, earthy, rich red wine with balanced acidity and tannins.
Peachy Canyon Winery
2013 Cabernet Syrah
An unlikely blend of two big reds—a Bordeaux and a Rhone—resulting in nuanced, balanced, and very drinkable flavors. Pepper, smoke, cocoa—this is Paso indulgence at its finest.
This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at email@example.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.
If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:
The Adelaide Inn is an iconic, locally owned hotel known for its friendly staff and lush landscaping. With spacious rooms and a convenient location close to highway 101 and the event center – home of the California Mid-State Fair – this hotel is a great choice for most travelers.
Majestically set among vineyards, olive groves and fruit baring orchards, the 20-acre Allegretto Vineyard Resort is a world unto itself, offering breathtaking settings that inspire and bring joy to all who choose this memorable wine country haven. Featuring 171 rooms and suites, on-site spa, grand ballroom, wine tasting room, and inspired culinary creations at Cello, the resort’s full service restaurant.
La Bellasera Hotel & Suites is an elegant boutique hotel nestled in the heart of Central Coast Wine Country. Influenced by Mediterranean and Italian architecture, the luxurious accommodations reflect the aged sophistication of the Central Coast region and the relaxed nature of the California countryside.
Hampton Inn & Suites Paso Robles is nestled in the Central Coast wine region, home to over 200 wineries, beautiful beaches, mountains and diverse attractions. Relax and revive in a comfortable guest room with all you need for a successful stay. You can count on Hampton to deliver value, consistency and service with a smile. We love having you here®
Experience the pristine countryside of Paso Robles Wine Country at Lekai Ranch. Lounge on the porch of your private suite and lose yourself in the tranquility and stunning views of the vineyards and oak studded hills beyond. This vacation rental is located just minutes from some of the most distinguished wineries and a premier olive oil estate, and only 15 minutes from downtown Paso Robles’ restaurants, wineries and shopping.
Enjoy the elegance, style and natural beauty of California’s Central Coast at the JUST Inn®. Surrounded by vineyards, our JUST Inn Suites offer luxurious appointments like fireplaces, Tempur-Pedic®mattresses, Frette linens, hydro-spa tubs, and range in size from 600–1,200 square feet. An overnight stay includes breakfast and a tour of the winery and caves.