The benefits of decanting are astounding, akin to alchemy and worth the investment in a Riedel decanter.
3 reasons wine connoisseurs decant certain wines:
- To separate sediment at the bottom of the bottle from the liquid.
- To enhance the flavour through aeration.
- To save the wine in the event of a disintegrated cork.
Which wines should be decanted?
Wine decanting is more than a one size fits all operation and is only recommended for young, strong wines with more intense tannins. These include Malbec, Shiraz (Syrah), Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux and Burgundy.
South African wineries produce some of the world’s best wines and are well worth supporting. When you are looking for a locally produced Malbec to enhance in a fancy glass decanter, consider Blaauwklippen Malbec 2019, La Couronne Malbec 2016 or Paul Wallace Black Dog Malbec 2017.
If you are looking to spend under R200 for a good locally produced Malbec, give Anura Reserve Malbec and Klein DasBosch Malbec 2017 a try.
Not sure which South African Shiraz to marry to your wine decanter?
Try Reyneke, Reserve Red 2012, Keermont Steepside Syrah 2012, Porseleinberg Syrah 2013, Boekenhoutskloof Syrah 2012 or Leeuwenkil Heritage Syrah 2012.
Cabernet Sauvignon is rich in tannins and the black pepper and tobacco flavours are further enhanced with a wine decanter. Pairing a succulent, high-fat wagyu streak with a complex and layered Cabernet Sauvignon complements both.
South Africa produces a few Bordeaux blends that every serious wine drinker should have in their collection. Normandie Eisen & Viljoen 2015, De Toren Book 17 XVII 2017 and Vilafonté Series C 2016 all fetch four-digit prices and are rated by Vivino.com in the upper four range.
The primary red grape grown in Burgundy is Pinot Noir so, when referring to “red” Burgundy, people are talking about a Pinot Noir.
Some of the best South African Pinot Noirs to decant include De Grendel Op Die Berg 2018, Flying Cloud Sovereign of the Seas 2018 and Iona Elgin Highlands 2018. ON the little more pricey end of the scale, Shannon Rockview Ridge 2018 and Tesselaarsdal 2019 are also good choices for your favourite wine decanter.
When serving decanted wine, don’t discard of the empty bottle. Hang on to the empty bottle and cork, not to pour left-over wine back into the bottle but, to display alongside your decanter so that your guests know what they are drinking.
How to decant wine
Patience and a light hand are essential requirements for expert wine decanting.
- Carefully remove your bottle of wine from horisontal storage and sit right for a full day before decanting. This will allows the sediment to settle at the bottom of the bottle.
- Once the sediment has settled and the wine is ready to be decanted, carefully open the bottle of wine.
- Tilt the neck of the bottle toward the decanter at a below 45-degree angle. This will prevent the wine from spouting forth into the decanter and disturb the sediment.
- Slowly pour the wine into the glass decanter at a steady pace. Keep an eye out for any sediment moving towards the neck of the bottle.
- If any sediment approached the neck, stop pouring, tilt the bottle back up and start afresh.
- Finish pouring, leaving a little of wine in the bottle with the sediment.