In last week's post
we looked at the reasons you might want to use a decanter
and looked in more depth about how to remove sediment from wine
. This week we'll consider another reason for utilising a decanter - helping the wine to breathe
. Sometimes if a wine is youthful
the nose is what we call 'closed
', it doesn't give out as much as it could, so breathing helps these flavours come out. Likewise, a 'ready-to-drink', mature wine, will benefit from being in a decanter in order to bring out its true aromas.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="301" caption="Smelling wine"]
When we talk about allowing wine to breathe
, we mean getting air through the wine which helps the subtle flavours in the wine to develop. The best and probably easiest way to do this is to pour the wine into a decanter. One with a long neck and flat bottom (a ship's decanter) works best as the wine has a distance to travel. It then bounces on the flat surface at the base creating bubbles, that contain air, and then the surface area of the wine is increased as it is spread across the base of the decanter. You can see from the image below how the wine is being circulated around the sides of the decanter, helping to get lots of oxygen into the wine.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="324" caption="Decanter - Breathing Wine"]
It is also possible to buy a decanting funnel which speeds up the process. You pour the wine into the top and the wine is swirled around and forced out of a smaller aperture at the bottom. It's the same effect as a shower head as the wine is made to spurt out at a faster rate than it went in.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="167" caption="Decanting Funnel"]
We associate breathing and using a decanter with red wine
but there’s no reason white wine
shouldn’t breathe as well, especially if it's a full bodied, rich, oaky white. Try it yourself and see how the flavours are intensified.
If you want to find out more about breathing wine have a look at our blog explaining How to Smell Wine
and to identify what the smells are you are detecting, look at the Aroma Wheel