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Looking for a little decanting advice


#1

So a few points about me!

  1. I’m not really very knowldegeable about wine technicalities
  2. I live alone and don’t drink a great deal. Usually just one glass of wine a night.
  3. I only drink reds and mainly wines like Bordeaux, Rioja, Rhone

So, once opened, I don’t usually finish the bottle for about 6 days. I used to use the cans of nitrogen which was okay but a bit fiddly and not too cheap. Recently, despite high levels of scepticism, I bought an AntiOx stopper from TWS and have been surprised by how well it keeps the wine. And that’s all fine; not ideal but an okay compromise.

Now to the decanting question. Decanting is frequently recommended for a fair number of ‘fine’ wines but if I do that I would imagine even a good quality wine will be pretty sad after 6 days in the decanter. So I was wondering whether double decanting might be a solution, as once back in the bottle I can use the AntiOx stopper to help prolong it? Or will it be too late after such a thorough oxygenation?

Any views greatly appreciated.


#2

I’m not an expert on this, but I would have thought that there isn’t really a way to decant a wine and keep it in good nick for 6 days. One you’ve decanted it, you’ve exposed it to oxygen and there’s no going back. You’re probably as well just using big glasses and giving the wine plenty of time in glass before you start drinking it, then keeping the wine as you currently do.


#3

Yeah I’m sort of thinking that’s the most likely and to be fair it does work pretty well, but thought I’d see what others thought.

It’s just so annoying when you forget to stop pouring early at the end of an older bottle, where decanting, of course, removes the sediment from the equation.


#4

I’ve no idea what you mean :see_no_evil:


#5

A fairly ‘closed’ 750ml decanter will open up a half bottle or slightly less in about an hour but it does then need drinking quite quickly. Mine has a narrow neck and a spherical bottom and can be stoppered. I used this with the Meerlust yesterday and it was spot on after an hour, but I have had the last glass of less robust wines go flat in that time (Mas de Champart St Chinian proved to be a bit ‘all fur coat’ in this respect). So I think it depends on what you decant into.


#6

Some people have recommended decanting into a half-size then sealing the rest of the bottle. It doesn’t sound like that will suit your needs.

The two reasons you’d want to decant a wine are to either take it off accumulated sediment and/or expose it to oxygen so the flavours open up. You can pretty much do that in the glass, so if it’s only one a night you’re after, maybe use a nice big balloon glass, pour your portion in at least 45 minutes before you intend to drink it, then seal the rest of the bottle straight away.


#7

Eto should be out soon - this will solve your problems


#8

Thanks @Rich29 that does look interesting. Do you know what the expected retail price will be as compared to the pre-order price?


#9

I hear about £75 ish. This has now been developed for some time and the release date seems to be pushed back a lot. It has a lot of positive praise. They also look really nice


#10

Okay, that’s really interesting then. The pre-order price for a single copper is 75 and a single steel 65 so it doesn’t look like much of a saving on pre-order. Think I’ll wait and keep an eye out.

But yes they do look good and the principle is really very simple. The AntiOx stopper I’ve got is fine if decanting is not recommended but this looks perfect for me when it is!


#11

I’m with those who suggest just pouring a glass to aerate, then stoppering immediately. However, if there’s likely to be much sediment in the wine and I haven’t thought or had time to stand the bottle upright and handle it carefully when pouring, I use a Screwpull funnel with a fine filter.

(http://www.amazon.co.uk/Screwpull-Creuset-Wine-Funnel-Stand/dp/B0000AR0AN)

Showing as unavailable on Amazon at present, but maybe available elsewhere. It’s worked fine for me over many years.


#12

Use two empty half bottles. Fill one immediately and use your Antiox on it. Now you have a half bottle of wine potentially with dregs in the bottom. Double decant into the other half bottle.Use what you want and antiox the rest.


#13

Thanks @Pipe49 the sediment, though annoying, is not my sole concern; it’s more how some wines seem to have a decanting recommendation on them to ‘open up’ the wine. I confess I tend to a little scepticism here but don’t have the knowledge to nay say that recommendation. However I do note that some completely stand against decanting and apparently, traditionally, in Burgundy, for example, they would never dream of decanting.

Thanks @JayKay interesting way around it using two bottles, though it would need another AntiOx but that’s a lot cheaper than a decanter :wink: However The wine would still be in one of those bottles for 6 days after being thoroughly oxygenated so I still suspect deterioration before finished.

It can be a real nuisance only drinking a small amount a day! My younger self would not be able to believe his ears hearing me say that!


#14

Burgundy is a wine I wouldn’t decant myself, unless it is carrying a substantial sediment - and then I would do it only just before serving.

You do have to be a bit canny when using decanting (or carafeing as the French might say) to open a wine up. There’s no doubt in my mind that some younger wines can be pretty closed when opened, but offer much more once they have seen some air. And aggressive tannins can be ameliorated somewhat. If you decide after drinking a bottle (with friends say!) that the last glass was the best, that’s a pretty good indicator of the treatment your next bottle may benefit from.

And then there’s a third aspect, that of wines showing some reduction - given plenty of shaking with air, this can often be blown off, as can limited Bretty aromas. There are other more specialised pongs that can also be blown off too.

I once put aside a half bottle of a decent white burgundy (It was a Rully Meix Cadots) to see what exposure to air would do to it at room temperature. I slightly surprised myself, as the aromas become stronger and more complex for almost a week. Sadly, the palate didn’t follow along with that, becoming distinctly tired after a couple of days. So both those aspect should be considered.

At the extreme opposite end of things, there are wines like Madeiras which don’t seem to change at all when exposed to air.


#15

Keep an eye on eBay.
I’ve picked up some brand new Screwpull’s in their original wooden box and plastic wrapping (cost up to £100) for a tenner.
Now is the best time, as we get closer to Christmas prices increase.
Wine stuff very often sold on as unwanted presents or house clearances by those who have little idea of value.


#16

Ah sorry I dont know anything about Antiox so didn’t realise. A vacuvin might do for a couple of days for the bottle being consumed first?


#17

The AntiOx (TWS sell them) is significantly better than the vacuum pumps and keeps successfully for a week. The problem is that I suspect if I decant them and then rebottle, they will now be beyond the ability, as you say, to keep longer than another couple of days.


#18

Yes, the “decant or not decant” argument rages but, like @Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis, I have definitely found some wines (particularly younger Bordeaux) improve significantly after 1-2 hours’ aeration. Harsh tannins can be greatly ameliorated. I wouldn’t do it with very mature wines, as they might lose much of their character, but they often have sediment in abundance, so I would use the filter as I pour straight into the glass. I really can’t be faffed with the “pour until sediment appears in the neck, illuminated by a candle(!)” method. It’s possible that the filter allows though a small amount of very fine suspended sediment, but I’ve never noticed any problem. Re the Screwpull funnel and filter (in stainless steel), I think it was about £15, though that was probably 15 years ago. There are similar other-brand items on the market at about that price, but I don’t know how well they perform.

I have to disagree with those who have mentioned the limited effectiveness of vacuum stoppering. I’ve used Vacuvin stoppers over many years and found them to preserve wine remarkably well over 4-6 days, as long as you pump hard well beyond the “clicking” indication of a seal. Of course, they’re OK only for one or, at most, two re-stopperings. After the second glass is poured, a lot of aeration has already occurred, with oxygen getting absorbed by the wine.

There’s a lot to be said for buying half-bottles if you’re by yourself. They’re available in a limited but growing range - often seen on the Society’s website. Mind you, unless you up your consumption above a single glass per night, you’ll still have a preservation problem, albeit over a shorter duration!

The Eto decanter looks very interesting but, of course, it can only deal with one bottle at a time. How much are you prepared to spend?!


#19

Another possibility is the CDR box which seems very popular and which would give an easy option of a glass a day. Perhaps a few more box choices needed!


#20

Yes, boxed wines are one of the answers if you want to stick to a single glass at a time. They do tend to be wines at the less expensive end of the range though.

If I was in this position, I think I would save my pennies up for a Coravin. The advantage of this approach is that you could have multiple bottles on the go at once, for months if need be.