Aerating wines with high tannic profiles can enhance their flavor. This process is called decanting, and you need a very specific tool called a decanter. It’s also used to separate sediment from old wines.
In this article, I’ll explain what makes a good decanter and then go over each of the tips listed above in detail. I’ll also provide a list of great decanters on Amazon to help you start your search. Keep reading.
What Makes a Good Wine Decanter?
A good decanter should aerate wine and remove any sediment. Many wines have harsh tannins and bitter flavors, making them quite unpleasant. However, leaving wine in a decanter for some time aerates it. This process exposes the wine to air and smooths out the harsh tannins, making it taste better.
The oxidation also causes unwanted chemicals to evaporate. This opens up the wine and brings out many flavors and aromas hidden within it.
Only older wines have sediment. And while it can’t harm you, it can affect the wine’s flavor, and you want to avoid that as much as possible.
So a good decanter should expose enough of the wine’s surface to the air for proper aeration. A wide base usually gets the job done. It should also separate sediment and be easy to pour from.
10 Tips for Choosing Best Red Wine Decanter
Wine decanters are available in a lot of different price ranges. You can buy one for anywhere between $15 and $700. Some particularly exclusive brands may even sell their products for more than that.
So before you start looking for one, set a limit for yourself and only consider decanters that fit within it. This will help you narrow down your search because you’ll automatically remove a lot of decanters from your search.
If you want decent aeration but don’t want to spend a lot, you’ll need around $60. There’s a good chance you’ll find a great decanter below that amount.
For instance, the HiCoup Wine Decanter (available on Amazon.com) is an excellent budget-friendly option. It’s made of hand-blown glass and has a beautiful design perfect for parties and gatherings.
The U-shape maximizes aeration and effectively separates sediment. Keep your wine in the decanter for 30 minutes before serving for the best flavor.
If you aren’t worried about budgets and are willing to splurge, consider the Peugeot Ibis Magnum. With this elegantly designed decanter, you don’t need two separate decanters for aerating your wine since the decanter can hold a magnum or a 1.5-liter ( 50.72 ounces) wine bottle. A typical bottle of wine contains around 25 ounces (739.34 mL).
The second thing you should consider if you want to choose a good decanter is its size.
There are three general categories:
- One bottle
- Less than one bottle
- Magnum (twice the size of a regular bottle)
Most decanters are designed to fit one bottle of wine. However, some are either smaller or bigger than that.
There’s a lot of variation in the smaller decanter category.
You might come across containers that are only big enough to fit one glass of wine. This is perfect if you often drink alone. However, it isn’t practical for a group.
Smaller decanters come in handy when you know you won’t finish an entire bottle in one evening.
Keeping wine in an open container for 30 to 60 minutes elevates it. Exposure to air oxidizes the beverage and smoothes its tannins, thus improving the flavor. However, too much of this chemical reaction can turn your wine into acid and make it taste like vinegar.
So if you’re drinking at a small party, a small decanter would be your best bet. Large decanters are great when you’re hosting many people and want a lot of aerated wine readily available.
The Riedel Magnum Decanter (available on Amazon.com) is a great fit for large groups because it can fit up to two bottles of wine. It has a beautiful sleek design that perfectly fits any dining room.
Some wines take longer to oxygenate than others. For instance, a full bodied red wine will need longer in a decanter than a light bodied red.
You can speed up the process for the former type by picking a decanter with a wider base. This will increase the amount of oxygen exposed to the wine and aerate it quicker.
Here are some of the most common reds and the best type of decanter for each.
You don’t need to decant white or blush wines. They have very low tannic profiles and are already quite smooth.
Also, they don’t require aging as much as red wines, so there isn’t a lot of sediment to remove.
Choose a small chilled container if you really want to decant a white or blush. This is the best choice and will get the job done.
It can be very tempting to choose decanters based on style. There are so many beautiful designs made of the most wonderful materials.
However, making your decision based on style alone will leave you with nothing more than a decorative piece for your fireplace mantel or side table.
While you should consider the style and design elements in a decanter, only do so after weighing up the factors discussed above.
There are several effective decanters that have good designs.
One such product is the Le Chateau Hand Blown Wine Decanter (available on Amazon.com). It has an extra wide base and is perfect for full-bodied reds.
It’s made with lead-free hand blown glass and opens up wines perfectly. What’s more, the piece looks stunning on a showcase. So you get a practical and beautiful decanter.
Reading customer reviews is one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting a good product. Unlike descriptions on company websites, the people writing reviews don’t have vested interest so they won’t hype up a product unnecessarily.
Like you, they want a good decanter and aren’t impacted by whether or not the company and their product are presented in a good light. So it’s highly likely that they’ll be honest about their experience.
You will find many reviews on Amazon product pages. Try to avoid making your judgment based on the average star rating. Instead, read a few reviews from each star category. You’ll want to know why the people who gave a five-star review chose to do so, as well as why those who only gave one-star did so.
Companies can sometimes advertise certain features on their website that their product lacks. Customer reviews can help you weed out such brands of decanters.
Buying from a well-known brand almost automatically ensures that you’re getting a good decanter. Companies like Fusion and Metrokane have standardized processes that guarantee quality.
A brand can only become an established name by putting out products that people like enough to want to keep coming back to them. Their reputation and income depend on them putting out effective products.
Brands that produce good decanters have a lot of options to choose from. You can browse through many products until you find a decanter that fits your requirements.
Whether you want a wide based luxury glass decanter or a budget-friendly small based decanter, you’re bound to find something you’ll like. So, by shopping from a popular brand, you’ll easily end up with a quality decanter.
You should be able to use your decanter more than once. But that can only happen if you can clean it.
There are two broad categories of decanters: dishwasher safe and those that aren’t.
The former is easier to clean because you don’t need to do a lot of work, but there aren’t a lot of them in the market.
When buying a decanter that requires hand washing, consider how its shape might make this job harder or easier. Compare different models. A winding decanter may look great, but it’ll be very hard to clean.
If you want to get a model with a complicated shape, you should think about how you’re going to clean it. There are a couple of different methods. For instance, you could use:
- Typical kitchen soap. While you could use kitchen soap, this isn’t a great idea because if you can’t rinse it out properly, it’ll affect your wine’s flavor. You don’t want that.
- Special glass cleaners.There are special glass cleaners designed for cleaning decanters. They come with brushes that can fit into the thin neck of the container and spread out and reach the wide base.
- Decanter cleaning beads. For atypical shapes, you should look into decanter cleaning beads, such as this Simtive Cleaning Beds (available on Amazon.com). They’re super easy to use. All you need to do is put them in your decanter, add water, and gently swirl. The metal pellets will pick up all stains and sediment deposits.
Note that even the most effective decanter is rendered useless if you can’t clean it out properly. Therefore, you need to keep this in mind when choosing your decanter.
A good decanter is one that you can use easily. If it’s hard to pour from, you’ll always make a mess. Thus, you won’t want to aerate your wine before serving.
A good decanter should not be overly heavy or difficult to pour from. Also, you should be able to grip it with ease.
Almost all good decanters are made with glass because it is the only durable material that doesn’t affect a wine’s flavor.
Crystal glass is a more expensive version of the same thing, therefore higher end decanters are made from this material. However, the material is quite delicate and can break easily, so you need to be extra careful when using a crystal decanter.
If you’re picking a decanter as a gift, a crystal glass decanter is a great choice. However, if you want one for yourself and consider yourself to be a clutz, you’d be better off with a glass decanter.
If you aren’t buying the decanter for yourself, you might want to consider what the person you’re gifting will use it for.
For instance, if it will stay on a showcase and not be used a lot, a decanter made with crystal glass might be the best choice. This is because products made with this material tend to be more decorative than practical.
However, if the recipient drinks a lot of light-bodied reds and whites, a glass decanter with a small base would be your best choice.
In a situation where you’re giving the decanter to a friend, a good decanter would be whatever would appeal to them most. So consider their personality, how much and what type of wine they drink.
Here is a list of 4 of the best decanters on Amazon:
- Le Chateau Wine Decanter. This attractively designed, lead-free crystal decanter allows you to upend a full bottle of wine. Also, your wine oxygenates rapidly, enhancing its taste and aroma.
- WBSEos Wine Decanter. This pocket-friendly wine decanter boasts the capacity to fit up to 1500ml ( ) of wine, while its curved neck and angled spout enables drip-free pours.
- YouYah Wine Decanter Set. This decanter sports a classic shape and a dimpled base for easier serving. The set is easy to clean and comes with a cork stopper and drying stand.
- Onearf Wine Decanter and Carafe. An iceberg crafted into the base of this lead-free crystal glass decanter allows more oxygen across the wine’s surface, speeding up aeration.
Final Thoughts on Wine Decanters
There are several things you can do to make sure you choose a good decanter – even before you start looking at decanter models. These include figuring out your budget, the decanter size, base width, browsing well-known brands’ websites, and considering the recipient’s needs,
Once you’ve shortlisted products, read customer reviews, keep an eye out for easy to clean and easy to grab decanters, and avoid making a decision based solely on style.