Decanting Wine: How Long Is Too Long?

July 2, 2015


Decanting wine has been a subject of debate between winemakers for many years. While the debate may continue, all wine connoisseurs have one thing in common: they all want to get the best flavor possible out of their wine.

Age Plays A Factor In Decanting Time

The purpose of decanting wine and, therefore, the time allotted for decanting differs primarily based on the age of the wine.

Younger Wines

With younger wines, the purpose of decanting is to create the perfect oxygen level in the wine to bring out the fruit flavor as well as the aroma. By decanting and allowing air into the wine, a chemical process is created that brings about changes in the wine, extracting its fullest flavor.

For wines younger than ten years, you may need to decant them anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours depending on the tightness of the wine. It is always important to first taste the wine so you can make sure decanting is even necessary. Since younger wines do not need long decanting, check it approximately every 15 minutes until the best flavor of the wine is achieved.

Older Wines

For older wines, the primary purpose of decanting is often to remove sediment in the bottle that has accrued over the years. In wines older than ten years, the tannins are usually softened and the oxygen levels are typically at the perfect level. To properly remove sediment without introducing too much oxygen, it is best to decant for only 30 to 60 minutes, checking once during the process.

For wine older than 30 years, it is often recommended to do a slow decanting procedure. This involves opening the bottle for anywhere from 8 to 24 hours to introduce a small amount of oxygen and then decanting and returning immediately back to the bottle to remove sediment before serving.

What Happens If Wine Is Decanted For Too Long?

If you have over decanted your wine, you will essentially kill the flavor of the wine. Introducing too much oxygen into the wine can cause it to oxidize, which in turn will not only destroy the aroma of the wine, but the flavor of the wine. You can tell immediately if your wine is over decanted as it will smell stale, nutty, or burnt. Upon tasting, you will realize it has lost its freshness, fruitiness and has a taste similar to vinegar.

While decanting is an important part of maintaining wines flavor, but storage play an even more important role. Having your wine stored in the proper environment can affect your wine tremendously. If you are looking for an optimal place to store your wine collection, contact Park Cities Self Storage in Dallas, Texas, which features wine cellar storage.

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