How Long To Decant Wine?

How Long To Decant Wine

How long does it take to decant wine?

You should decant your wine for at least 30 minutes, but what is decanting? Decanting is a process in which the wine is poured from its bottle into another container (more commonly in older bottles of wines) slow enough for the sediments to settle in the bottom of the bottle. The result of this is a wine with enhanced flavor due to the unpleasant tastes of the sediments. 

How long should you let the wine breathe in a decanter?

A wine decanter is a container that can be purchased in various shapes and sizes to best fit the type of wine you are decanting. It’s best to let the wine breathe in the decanter for roughly 2 hours after opening (or at least a minimum of 30 minutes, if you’re not patient) before indulging in your beverage of choice. 

Providing time scales in which how long wines should be decanted can vary, depending on how old the wine is and the condition of the wine. White wines, Rose Wines, and sparkling wines should be decanted for up to 30 minutes. If you choose to store your wine in the decanting container, it’s best to consume it within 2 to 3 days of opening your bottle. 

Why do you decant red wine?

Red wines, in particular, are rich in tannin taste. Because of this, red wine should be decanted to lessen the intense tannin taste. In addition, red wines will accumulate sediments in the bottle in 5-10 years. Decanting will help separate that sediment from the wine for an overall better taste and help define the wine’s notes. 

Depending on the style of the red wine, it can be decanted anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. The process is more simple than you’d think. Simply decant the wine, leave it out on the counter until 15 to 30 minutes before your meal, then place it in the fridge for a chill until dinner is served. Chilling the wine will also help bring out the flavor. 

Can you decant wine too long?

This can vary. The exception is older wines. Older wines are very delicate and can decay rapidly after being opened. These should be enjoyed rather quickly. How old is old? Wines that are 10-20 years old should sit in the decanter for absolutely no longer than 1 hour. What happens if the wine is decanted for too long? Decanting aged wines for too long will soften the richness of the wine and will simply make the flavor and aromas extremely unpleasant (in other words, it will ruin the wine).

Other wines that remain ‘young’ (less than three years) can be enjoyed no later than three days in the decanter based upon their conditions. Younger wines often have little to no sediment, so why would you want to decant a young wine anyways? Decanting a young wine for roughly 20 minutes will often increase the overall quality and experience of the tasting. It is often said that once you pour your wine into the decanter and taste the wine every hour after it’s poured, you will be able to taste the difference in the notes of the wine.

Can you put decanted wine back into the bottle?

The short answer is yes. You can put your decanted wine back into its original bottle, but it’s important to rinse out any sediments that may be left inside the base of the bottle. It is often common to decant the wine twice to prepare it for a gathering when hosting. Pour the wine into the decanter, rinse out the wine bottle thoroughly, then pour the decanted wine back into the bottle to store. After that process is done, and you are ready to serve the wine – you can then pour it again into the decanter to serve. 

As I said before, you can also store younger wines (under five years old) in your decanter for up to 3 days after freshly opening a bottle. However, with older wines (5+ years old), you must consume them as quickly as possible, given the fragile state of the wine.

Summary

We decant wine to separate it from the sediments that remain at the bottom of the wine bottle and improve its overall taste and quality. Decanting a wine for too long will ruin the wine, weakening the tones of the wine and the quality. Greatly depending on the age of your wine, it can be decanted anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours. 

Older red wines require a very short amount of time breathing in the decanter and should be consumed within the day it was poured into the decanter. Younger wines need about 30 minutes to an hour in the decanter and can be stored in the decanter for up to three days. Want to store your decanted wine? Rinse out the sediments in the bottle it originally came in and pour the wine back into the bottle to seal for another time.