Almost Wordless Wednesday: A Decanter

A Decanter at a Wine Tasting

A Decanter at a Wine Tasting

There’s no getting around it, a decanted bottle of red wine makes a very impressive addition to the table. But the looks are merely a (happy) byproduct: decanting serves to aerate the wine, helping it to breathe and open up, and also, in older wines, to separate the wine from the sediment that has settled out over time.

Decanting a wine is quite easy, but does require care. In addition to the decanter you’ll need a light source — if you want to go for the scenic effect use a candle — and, of course, a good bottle of wine, which you should stand upright a couple of days before you plan to open it.

Come time to decant it, begin by removing the part of the capsule covering the cork, and then uncork the bottle, shaking it as little as possible.

Light your candle and hold the bottle in front of (not over) the candle, so you can see the flame through the bottle’s shoulder, where it begins to flare out under the neck.

Gently tilt the bottle and start pouring the wine into the decanter. You want a thin, steady stream — NO GURGLING!

Keep an eye on the flame as you pour. If the wine contains sediment, you will see it as a thin dark stream moving up the inside of the bottle, silhouetted by the flame. Continue pouring, slow and steady, until the sediment reaches the neck of the bottle. At this point stop. With practice you’ll be able to pour all but the last half-inch of the bottle before the sediment reaches the neck.

One thing: Don’t let the bottle stray over the candle flame, lest the soot from the flame blacken it and keep you from seeing the sediment.

And this photo, you wonder? I took it during a vertical of Duca Carlo Guarini’s Vecchie Vigne, a Primitivo that was first made in 1985. That vintage was past its prime, but one of those things a wine lover will find fascinating, while the more recent vintages poured would delight anyone.


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Categories: Almost Wordless Wednesday

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.


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