Decanting wine, though an age-old practice, may seem somewhat mysterious to modern wine drinkers. Perhaps you think decanting is only something that occurs at stuffy, expensive restaurants with book-length wine lists. But decanting is simply the process of pouring the wine from the original bottle into another vessel. There are substantial benefits to decanting top-tier red wines like the J. Lohr Signature Cabernet Sauvignon.
Benefit 1 - Aeration
Decanting enhances the wine’s aromas and flavor. The pouring of wine from the bottle into a decanter introduces oxygen to the wine, allowing it to “breathe.” The addition of air to the equation allows the wine’s aromas to fully express themselves and the wine’s unique flavors to knit and come forward. For younger reds, a quick splash decant helps soften its tannins. For older reds, the decanting process allows for any potential off-aromas that may have developed with bottle age to dissipate, presenting just the perfectly-aged character of the older vintage itself.
Benefit 2 - Separating Sediment
In older, properly cellared red wines, natural sediment will often slowly form on the side of the bottle. While completely natural and harmless, the sediment is not that attractive if it shows up in the glass when the wine is poured. If stored horizontally, we suggest allowing the bottle to sit upright for a day to allow the sediment to settle to the bottom of the bottle. Then slowly pour the wine into a decanter for serving, leaving the sediment behind.
Benefit 3 - Broken Cork
We’ve all done it - breaking off a stubborn cork or having an older cork disintegrate as we try to extract it. To avoid having small particles of cork in your glass, you can pour the wine from the bottle through a fine mesh strainer or piece of cheesecloth into the decanter.
Seven easy steps for the perfect decant:
If your bottle has been stored horizontally, sit the bottle upright for 24 hours.
Open your bottle of wine using a corkscrew.
As you begin to pour, keep the bottom of the bottle below an angle of 45 degrees to prevent including any sediment in the pour.
Pour the wine into the decanter at a slow and steady pace. Look for any sediment that approaches the opening (shining a light or candle can help).
If you see any sediment approaching the neck of the bottle as you pour, pause and tilt the bottle back to upright before resuming pouring.
As you finish pouring the wine, leave about half an ounce in the bottle with the sediment.
Allow the wine to breathe for an hour before enjoying.