Decanting can be an elegant way to serve your wine. There are two other reasons to decant your wine:
- to remove any sediment in the bottle
- to let the wine "breathe"
As red wines age, sediment builds up in the bottle as part of the natural aging process. Unless you're a collector of fine wines and purchasing older bottles, you're unlikely to see too much sediment in your wine. If you do, it's likely to be very fine, as it is in younger vintages. Decanting is not as necessary today as it was in the past, due to better wine production and stocks of young wine in your wine store.
Breathing your wine is also not as important for younger wines. You certainly do not want to breathe a white wine, and, for most young reds, just leaving the bottle uncorked a few minutes does the trick (heck, the "swirl" will do it, too, if you don't want to wait). Older wines need more time to breathe in order to fully realize their lush, complex flavors. Again, most of the wine you're probably likely to consume will not fall into this category.
All that said, it can create an elegant wine experience: decanters come in a wealth of sizes, shapes, prices, and more.
|Glass decanter in foreground.|