Anyone who likes to drink red wine should consider buying a decanter to maximize their enjoyment of their favorite tipple. Although in the past, using a decanter was considered to be rather formal, in fact today it is recognized as a much better way of serving wine than directly from the bottle. While decanting wine may not seem to be very important, in fact the more a wine is exposed to oxygen, the better it tastes. This is because oxidization softens the astringent tannins in the wine and allows its floral and fruity aromas to be released. Many of the top glassmakers like Schott Zwiesel and Reidel produce wine decanters in a range of sizes and shapes, so finding one that suits your tastes and your budget is easier than ever. If you are looking for the perfect decanter for you, here you will find some helpful suggestions to inform your purchasing decision.
Menu Winebreather Carafe
One of the quickest and easiest ways to effectively decant your favorite red wine is to use the elegantly designed Menu Winebreather Carafe. A breeze to use, you simply press it onto the top of the opened wine bottle then turn it over, allowing the wine to pour directly into the decanter. The drinker then has the choice of either serving the wine from the decanter into the glass, or alternatively to pour the aerated wine straight back into the bottle by turning it back over once more, to serve it from the bottle. This innovative solution is a multi-functional way to aerate your favorite wine.
Glass Wine Decanter by HiCoup
One of the most stylishly designed decanters on the market, this piece by HiCoup is not only modern and fashionable but also the optimal way to aerate your red wine. Made by artisans from mouth-blown lead-free crystal glass, this beautiful and elegant horn shaped decanter adds a touch of class to any home bar and makes any gathering more sophisticated. The drip free design is also very simple to use, allowing the user to pour wine through the large opening from the bottle and to serve it into glasses through the smaller one. With its easy-grip design, it is also extremely well balanced and its thin lip ensures no drips while pouring. This decanter is also protected by a free lifetime warranty for the user’s peace of mind.
Wine Reveller Crystal Decanter
Beautifully designed and elegantly blown by hand from 100% lead free glass, this decanter has been produced with the highest possible attention to quality and detail. Designed to give adequate surface area to aerate a whole 750 ml bottle of wine, this is the ideal decanter to use for any occasion as it is versatile enough to use for whiskey, white wines or sherries too. The easy pour spout helps the user to avoid spillages and although it has a sturdy construction, it is still not too heavy to make serving guests a challenge. This is a great gift idea for any wine enthusiast.
Sagaform Wine Carafe with Oak Stopper
Boasting a modern and stylish design with an attractive spherical oak wood stopper, this attractive carafe is made from strong hand blown glass. Holding 67 oz of your favorite wine, this carafe will form an appealing addition to any table, adding a touch of sophistication to any occasion, and as it is safe to clean in a dishwasher it is an extremely convenient and practical solution to aerating wine.
The Wine Enthusiast Vivid Wine Decanter
Aerating your favorite red wine faster than ever thanks to its wide-based design, this appealing and attractive wine decanter has been made by hand in Europe from the highest quality lead free crystal glass. Its lightweight design is sturdy thanks to its large base but still light enough to hold in the hand and pour without any spillages.
Best White Wine Decanters
Luigi Bormioli Magnifico 35-ounce Decanter
A beautiful addition to any table, this fabulous white wine decanter from the quality Luigi Bormioli brand is an excellent choice for personal use or as a gift for a wine enthusiast, holding 35 oz of wine. Made from the brand’s own proprietary SON.hyx material, this decanter from the Magnifico range has been machine blown in Italy and blends advanced technology with elegant styling. Its brilliant color and beautiful sound is testament to its exemplary design and it will never lose its clarity even after regular cleansing in a dishwasher. This decanter is also incredibly durable and strong for everyday use.
Schott Zwiesel Tritan Crystal White Wine 3/4 Liter Decanter
This appealing white wine decanter from the Pure collection is made from Tritan crystal, a lead free material made from zirconium oxide and titanium oxide for improved resilience and strength. Holding a total of 25.3 oz of your favorite wine, this beautiful high quality decanter is very fashionable thanks to its crisp, sharp lines and geometrical styling. This decanter is also dishwasher safe for your convenience and will never discolor or cloud, being resistant to chips, stratches and breakage as well as thermal shocks. Cut using laser technology, this decanter has elegant and thin edges, being produced to enhance your wine drinking experience.
Cypress Clear Wine Chilling Carafe and Decanter with Blue Ice Holder
This attractive decanter is perfect for serving white wines as it contains a blue ice holder allowing you to chill the wine without any dilution from traditional ice. Contemporary and fashionable, this unique design is ideal for allowing the wine to breathe and with its elegant styling, it makes a perfect gift for any wine connoisseur on a special occasion.
Kalalou Glass White Wine Decanter with Ice Pocket
Made by a family business in a small Colombian glass factory, this decanter was blown by hand into a stylish handmade piece of art. With its organic shape, it is a unique and visually appealing addition to any table. This is the perfect wine decanter for anyone who values eco-friendly products as it is produced from recycled glass. Thick and sturdy, it has a stable base and features an ice pocket to optimally chill your favorite white wine.
Wine/Water Carafe with Oak Stopper
Made from beautifully clear hand blown glass, this attractive white wine carafe holds 33 7/8 oz of your favorite tipple and features an attractive oak stopper for a modern appeal. With its easy to handle shape, it pours beautifully and its sturdy base ensures perfect balance. It is also dishwasher safe for the drinker’s convenience.
Godinger Dublin Wine Decanter
This beautifully styled two piece decanter set is part of the Dublin collection and stands at 12 inches high. Crafted from 24% lead crystal it is sturdy and heavyweight, and its classic Irish design is especially brilliant, combining diamond cuts with sparkling wedge. This wine decanter coordinates beautifully with the extensive Godinger Dublin collection and should be washed by hand to preserve its beauty.
Wine Enthusiast Allure Aerating Decanter
Designed to allow for optimal aeration of your favorite wine, this beautifully crafted decanter is made from rippled glass. The ripples enhance both the aeration and presentation of the wine while the traditionally styled wide base allows plenty of breathing room for the wine. Its angled mouth also allows for dripless pouring to assist the drinker in serving without mess. This decanter has been mouth blown from lead-free crystal in Europe and should be hand washed.
Fifth Avenue Crystal Gabriella 5 Piece Wine Decanter Set
This five piece set comprises four beautifully crafted glasses and a stylish matching decanter, perfect for serving your favorite wine at sophisticated and formal events. Made from perfectly clear crystal, the decanter holds a maximum capacity of 35 ounces while each wine glass holds 7 oz. This appealing glassware should be only washed by hand to maintain their elegance.
Wine Decanters And Carafes – What’s The Difference?
Many people are confused about the difference between wine decanters and carafes, often thinking that they are the same thing. However, there are subtle differences.
A wine decanter’s primary function is to serve and store wine as well as allowing it to breathe. A decanter provides an adequately sized area for the wine to rest with as much surface area as possible exposed to the oxygen in the air in order to complete the oxygenating process that allows the wine to reach its peak of aroma and flavor. Decanters are especially important when drinking red wine as crumbled cork and sediment is often found in older vintages. When a wine is poured into the decanter, sediment can be removed and the underlying bitter flavors and tastes that so often occur in older wines can be filtered out. Usually, a wine decanter has a flat base or bottom and a wider bowl which can be up to 30 cm across. The neck is generally curved or tapered upwards around 30 cm in height. Sometimes, a decanter will feature a stopper which will seal the contents inside until it is ready to serve. This will also serve another function, which is to slow down the deterioration process that occurs when wine is exposed to the air.
A carafe is generally considered to be simply a vessel for holding a liquid which may be anything from water or fruit juice to wine or any other alcoholic beverage. Carafes are often used today for serving juice and water as the container’s shape has no effect upon the taste or characteristics of the liquid inside. Often they are decorative, showy pieces designed to make the table look more formal or sophisticated and may be used for more everyday occasions than a decanter, which tends to only come out for special events. A carafe will often feature a small base and a long body in order to accommodate a large volume of liquid while taking up a smaller amount of table room. In recent years however, both decanters and carafes have been designed by many of the best manufacturers in a range of unusual shapes for a more modern appeal.
In short, therefore, the difference between a carafe and a wine decanter lies in its style, shape and tradition. A decanter will be used primarily for serving wine while a carafe can be used for serving a range of liquids. Their shapes will also differ with a carafe being longer and straighter than a decanter which tends to feature a bowl shape and a tapered neck.
Should I Use A White Wine Decanter?
Most people tend to associate decanters with red wine and this is because red wines tend to contain sentiment which requires decanting out and also because red wine benefits from aeration which allows the aroma to be released. However it is also possible to decant white wines too and in fact brief exposure to the air can be beneficial to all wines and not only reds. There are also several other benefits to decanting white wines:
- Temperature – usually white wines are drunk cold and are therefore stored in the fridge. If you decant a refridgerated white wine before serving and leave it for 20 minutes, this will allow the wine to return to a suitable temperature to drink without it being too cold. It is also possible to use a decanter to cool unfridgerated white wine simply by pouring the wine into the decanter and then placing it in an ice bath where the increased surface area will allow the wine to cool more quickly than in the bottle.
- Oxygen exposure – a brief exposure to the air will allow the aromatics in white wine to be freed up, showing more depth in a crisp and refreshing white. It also allows Mercaptans to escape before they spoil the taste of the wine. Chardonnays in particular benefit from a short amount of oxygenation.
- Eradication of “bottle stink” – winemakers use different gases to kill bacteria in the wine and this can cause the phenomenon known as “bottle stink”. This can be dissipated by decanting the wine and allowing it to sit for a few minutes. The wine should be poured slowly into the decanter along its surface in order to increase its exposure to oxygen.
Not every white wine requires decanting, but it looks more attractive to serve any wine from a decanter rather than a bottle and the extra aeration can be surprisingly beneficial to any wine, even a young white. Even champagne can be decanted, especially if it is an older vintage.
Reasons To Use A Red Wine Decanter
There are several benefits to using a decanter for your red wines. These include:
- Removing sediment – often red wine releases sediment, like fine sand grains, into its
bottle as part of the maturing and aging process. Although they are not harmful they can cause the wine to have a bitter taste, so you should always pour the wine slowly into a decanter to leave the sediment in the bottle.
- To awaken the wine – decanters are often used to soften the flavor of red wine and to aerate it. By exposing red wine to the oxygen in the air, the natural acid flavors and polyphenols which create tannins in red wine are reduced.
- Aesthetic pleasure – wine decanters are very attractive and have actually been shown to have a psychological impact on a wine drinker thanks to the visual appeal of their sophistication and beauty. By decanting red wine, you are turning wine drinking into a special ritual which enables the drinker to immerse themself fully in the aroma and flavor of their drink.