If you’ve ever had a glass of wine from a decanter, you know that it tastes different from the same wine poured from a bottle. The oxidation process gives the wine a different flavor profile, and allows the flavors to develop over time.
However, how long can you keep wine in a decanter? The answer is not straightforward. The amount of time your wine stays fresh in a decanter will depend on many factors: the type of grapes used, how much air is exposed to the wine while it’s inside the decanter, how much oxygen (or lack thereof) there is in the room where your wine decanter is stored, etc.
The Decanting Process
The decanter does not open the cork of the bottle. Instead, it opens a cork from which the wine can be extracted. It’s possible to decant a whole bottle of wine (thus negating the need to keep a whole bottle in the decanter) but it’s more common to have a shallow bowl filled with water which the wine can be poured into.
However, there are also two different types of decanters – a bowl, and a balloon. Decanters that only have a bowl, like the one shown in the image, are called “sacré-César” (literally “Holy Caesar”), because of their use to drain the juices from a whole jug of wine. Instead of keeping the whole jug in the decanter, you pour the juice out and the sediment settles at the bottom of the bowl. That’s the Sacré-César style.
When To Decant Your Wine
The best time to decant your wine is after it has had a chance to sit for several days. A great way to do this is to gently place your wine in the decanter, leaving just a few inches of space. Wait a couple days to let the wine get all nice and bubbly.
Then, pour the wine over a large bowl or glass, and let it breathe for a bit. You’ll know it’s ready to decant when the wine is bubbly and spilling over the sides of the decanter. Decant the wine into a clean wine glass or decanter. Pour another glass, keeping your first glass on the table so the wine has a chance to rest.
Once it’s been sitting for several hours, decant it again. If your wine has had a chance to rest, and it’s still fine, you can decant it again. Once again, allow your wine to rest, and allow it to breathe for a bit.
How Much Air Does Your Wine Get?
While air in wine has no effect on the wine’s taste, it can change the rate at which the wine ages. If the air is kept relatively dry (and the wine is kept at around 70°F or 20°C), your wine can stay fresh for about two to three days.
If the air is kept at a humid or warm (anywhere from about 20°C to 85°C), the wine will stay fresher, but its flavor will start to change a bit. For wines that age over four days, the change to the wine will be minimal, but for those that mature for three days or less, you can expect the flavors to change by up to 50 percent or more.
While the rate at which your wine ages is not greatly affected by air, it is affected by temperature.
Where To Store Your Decanter?
There are a lot of options when it comes to wine storage. The best place to store your wine is in a temperature-controlled cabinet, such as one at a commercial wine store. You should always be buying your wine from the store and then taking it home and storing it properly.
If you drink wine regularly, make sure to buy wine that is non-chill filtered, that is labelled organic (for ethically sourced wine), and for which your local liquor laws prohibit anyone from having more than a single bottle. What About Bottles? Bottles are fine to keep in the fridge.
However, keep in mind that wine has different acidity levels in each bottle. If you store your wine in a half-empty bottle, it will only absorb a little bit of the acidity of the wine.
So why is there such a difference in flavor between a fine wine poured directly from the bottle and a fine wine poured from a decanter? There are a number of reasons. For example, most wine drinkers prefer to taste their wine at the molecular level; in other words, what they hear and feel, as opposed to what is on their taste buds.
Most wine drinkers also prefer to experience a wine as it originally tasted from the bottle rather than as it is now. As a result, most people prefer to taste wine in a decanter and not directly from the bottle, in order to experience the full flavor of the wine.
Many wine experts say that your wine will taste better from a decanter and not directly from the bottle. One reason for this is that your wine will mature better in the decanter.