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Decanting times

howto

#1

Hi all,

Apologies if this is the incorrect place for this topic but I wanted to ask a quick general question and a specific one please.

Does anyone have any general guides for decanting times?

and…

How long would you decant a bottle of…

  • Exhibition Pomerol 2011
  • Exhibition Morgon 2013
  • Falua Reserva Alicante Bouschet Tejo 2011

I decanted a bottle of Chateau Beaumont on Saturday for about 90 mins and it was absolutely exceptional - It was the girlfriend’s first try of a claret (she’s always a white drinker) and she loved it…phew! However i decanted a bottle of the Society’s Claret (Current crop) and allowed an hour and again, it was fabulous and beautifully blackcurranty, but the next night it was radically changed. I’ve been advised from 30 mins up to 4 hours so is it better to err on the side of caution and open everything early?

Many thanks in advance!


Serving wine - decanting help
#2

I used to hold decanting workshops here at Stevenage, and will be hosting a decanting masterclass at Tom Cannavan’s Festival of Wine in Edinburgh on 4th November.

It is (a) a fascinating subject, (b) not an exact science and © a matter of personal taste all leading to infinite variation in people’s views.

Generally the younger and heavier the wine, the more it will benefit from being decanted. Where sediment isn’t involved, it’s always fascinating to note the difference between ‘straight from bottle’ and ‘decanted’.

Re your list, I would say:

  • Exhibition Pomerol 2011 - decant steadily and leave for up to 2 hours
  • Exhibition Morgon 2013 - maybe not bother, but if you do, decant quickly with a bit of a splash right before serving
  • Falua Reserva Alicante Bouschet Tejo 2011 - as for the Morgon, but do bother, as it helps (speaking from experience).

In my class I compare wines straight from bottle with those decanted and ask tasters to state their favourite as follows:
Grand cru Chablis (decanted around 30 mins before) - split jury
Young red Burgundy (60 mins) - split jury
4/5-year-old claret (2 hours) - improves it (prefer decanted)
15/25-year-old claret (2 hours) - knackers it! (prefer straight from bottle)
Châteauneuf (2 hours) - prefer decanted
Youngish Barolo (decanted 2 hours before and 18 hours before) - split between the two decanted. Straight from bottle not appreciated by many when comparing.

I would also say that sometimes, depending on the wine served and the length of mealtime, I often prefer to pour a large glass and let it evolve during the meal - because that is the process you are simply accelerating by decanting.

I hope that helps.


#3

Wow thank you so much for such a great detailed reply. I will certainly have a try of those suggestions!


#4

I took a chance last weekend and decanted this young Chianti Rufina. It’s light bodied and I was a little worried it would disappear in decanting, but the last bottle I had took a good hour to open up in bottle so thought I’d try. Decanting turned out to be well worth it.

I find Italian ress always take 30 or 40 minutes to open up, regardless of the wine. I’d almost go so far as to say it’s worth decanting any young Italian red.


Chianti - learning curve
#5

Thanks to all of the advice in this thread I decanted this fella for a couple of hours (which i wouldn’t have done otherwise!) and it absolutely opened up into this brilliant mocha smelling, chocolate-covered blueberry tasting delight.

Much appreciated all! :wine_glass:


#6

tasting note of the week!


#7

I’ve just added it to my wishlist! Every time i come on here i end up wanting a drink!


#8

We decant all big reds for at least 2 hours (as long as they’re not ancient). The amount of wine society reviewers on the website who say things like 'Far too tannic…much better after a few hours/on the second night!’ -

YOU NEED TO DECANT RED WINE IN ADVANCE!!


#9

I’m fairly new to the decanting world so would you decant all reds including new world fruit bombs as well as old world wines?


#10

I would not say you have to decant those fruit bombs… but then again I do not know what the right answer is… I usually double decant and then wait a bit dependent how complex/big/young the wine is. If the wine was made to drink young then decanting is not necessary, still it is good to wait a little to give the wine a chance to get rid of any unpleasantness


#11

Cheers for the speedy response @szaki1974! Was thinking of having a bottle of Argentinian Cabernet Franc tonight so will be sure to decant it and see it goes :slight_smile:


#12

@MetalheadWino Might I ask what it is? I am a secret Cabernet Franc aficionado.


#13

Of course :slight_smile: It’s a 2016 Fantasia by Mauricio Lorca. It’s not from TWS I’m afraid else I would have linked to it.


#14

A friend has recently been given a 1988 Bordeaux. I don’t know whether it is right or left bank or anything more than that. It was a gift from her work mates and came with a “how to guide”!
It specifically states, that the wine should be decanted 1 hour prior to serving to allow for the sediment to settle and to develop its flavour characteristics …
Now, forgive me if I’m wrong but I was always under the impression that with older Claret you literally either poured from the bottle or decanted and served straight away due to the fragility of the wine.
What are your thoughts on this??


#15

1988 is sort of in ‘middle age’ when it comes to this advice

Generally I would say you decant younger wines to allow them to ‘evolve’ but that older wines are already evolved so you want to avoid losing the delicate qualities.

The question is … when does a wine move from youthful exhuberance and requiring taming, into fragile and mature territory?

A wines from the 60s or 70s would now almost certainly fall into the latter, and a wine from the 90s might still be ‘young’ so 1988 is not quite either.

The advice is either correct by design or accident, since the 1 hour in a decanter is less than you would do for a young wine, but not so long that it would kill an older one IMHO. However, decanting will not ‘allow for sediment to settle’ unless you’ve messed up the decanting itself so I wonder.

So, my thoughts, FWTW is to check the ullage and colour of the wine to see it has not aged more than expected, and then decant carefully and let it breathe for that hour or so before enjoying.

But I can’t remember when I last drank a wine from 1988 (probably in early 90’s) so I may be way off base


#16

Whenever I decant wine I always give it a whiff to see what it’s like, mainly as I love to see quite how different the wine will be in 1-2-3-4 hours time. During the WSET I did this with a fair few and was gobsmacked by quite how different the various wines turned over time.

Maybe taste it as soon as it’s poured? I imagine you have quite a good palate and awareness so you could make a good judgement about how long just form your previous bottles.


#17

Makes sense, I’ve asked her what the wine is. The TWS vintage charts which I know can be subjective state that left bank still have some time left but right bank from this year is drink now?
But sound advice, thank you


#18

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll get to drink this… But I’ll put a good case forward for her to share with me :wink:


#19

The trouble with decanting as Robert McIntosh states is there is no hard and fast rule, even the experts will state that a wine decanted deteriorated or improved with no real knowledge of which way it will go other than previous notes of the same wine and vintage.
With traditionaly tannic wines at bottling as in Ch Montrose only time will really soften them and even there some years never shake off the tannins, as can be seen when the likes of Jancis does several reviews of the same vintage over time and stating “will this ever come round, maybe not”, it is not an easy answer area.

The vast majority of everyday drinking wines are a finished product intended to be drunk in a short time period and decanting is not really going to give you anything more than is already in the bottle.


#20

You should also check the cork, because if it says 2014 then you would need to approach it differently… :wink: