Decanting an old wine

One of the key words for the wine tasting is “decanted”, with its verb: “to decant”. What happens when you decant a wine? The pure action is to transfer the wine from a container, i. e. a bottle, to another, usually a narrow carafe. But there is a before and an after, let’s see them together!

Decanting is useful with older wines, top wines; there are some Chianti Riserva wines , some Super Tuscans and some Brunellos aged more than 20 years! In Italy we call this action “decantare”, very similar to the english word, then wielding a precious bottle of aged wine, you will avoid to shake it and will leave it to rest uprigh, still closed, for a few hours; this will allow tannins and coloring agents, now reduced in dark particles, to settle to the bottom.

After this time, and having checked against the light that the deposit is properly separated from the wine you  can proceed with opening the bottle and pouring the wine, slowly and cautiously into the carafe and the carafe suitable for these wines is very large and rounded: the decanter. As soon as the first deposit will come to the surface you will stop pouring.

Decanting must be done a few minutes before tasting the wine, because the oxygen that comes in contact can quickly deteriorate the quality of the wine that has aromas and flavors all “inner” developed in the long work of time on the components of the wine.

Decanting will bring oxygen to the wine, so that you “wake up” it from the sleep of cellar, and let it release all the flavors and aromas contained in there by nature and man’s work.

During a Wine tasting tour in Tuscany or Florence, you can discover that in Italian the word to decant also means to praise: this can also be done to a person, an event, an object of which you are exalting qualities. We think that the origin of this word has something to do precisely with separating the waste, dark and useless, from the wine that, after decantation becomes perfectly clear and bright. “Making Light” then is the true meaning of the word decant: so whether we decant a wine with a carafe or whether we praise it with words, we want to exalt its wonderful characteristics.