Normally, you just uncork wine and pour, but with that special bottle of red you’ve been saving, you may need to decant. Here’s why (and how).
- With an older bottle (about 10 years old or more), you want to make sure that bits of grape skin and other unfiltered solids that accumulate in the bottle over time stay there, rather than ending up in your glass.
- All young red wines can also benefit from decanting, which helps mellow harsh flavors and brings out the fruit scents faster, making them fuller and more balanced. Any glass pitcher will do. Pour the wine and let it sit at a comfortable room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- If you want to impress guests, use the sommelier’s trick of holding the bottle a few inches above a candle while you pour into the decanter. The light from the candle makes it easy to see when you get to the solids floating at the bottom of the bottle. That’s when you stop pouring.