Decanting wine, when and why!

When it comes to decanting, there are so many ideas and opinions about what you should do. The amount of information saying this way or that can be quite overwhelming. I have always been an advocate of a case-by-case basis. I never decant a wine until I have tasted and assessed it. Decanting is definitely not my default position. 

It's not always obvious why or when we decant wine, to simplify, you decant wine to introduce oxygen into the juice. The helps open up youthful or closed wines. Allowing the aroma to express itself. When to decant is slightly trickier, but the best advice I can give is this, open the wine, pour a sample measure and taste. Pay attention to how much aroma and flavour you are getting. Then, pour another sample measure, give it a swirl and leave it for 5 minutes. If you see a noticeable difference in the aroma and flavour profile, then decant the rest of the bottle. If it's the same as your initial assessment, then no need to decant. 

There are loads of ways to decant vino, the most popular being a physical decanter! But if that's not available, opening the bottle pouring a little out and letting it breathe also works, as does pouring it into the glass giving it a swirl and letting it open up for a little bit.

How long to decant wine is almost as complex as deciding when to decant! At a minimum, start with 15 minutes, then taste and check. I would always encourage periodically checking so you avoid over-decanting the wine, once you decant, you can't go back!

Generally speaking, fresh and crisp wines need little to no decanting, this is because they were made to drink fresh. However, 15 to 30 minutes can be super beneficial to these wines to help them open up. Older or more complex bolder wines could do with 30 minutes also, but remember, always taste before decanting!