The simple act of pouring wine from its bottle into a pretty container is an action with complex results. In ancient times, before the arts of clarification and filtration had been mastered, every wine had to be decanted because sediments in a glass not only looked unappealing but could also taste bitter. These reasons hold even today. However, this would imply that wines capable of extended bottle ageing and the ones that tend to throw sediments are the only contenders for decanting, which is not the case. The other important reason for decanting a wine is to aerate it, although this is a controversial topic and opinion is divided, even among experts
Some authorities argue that exposing a wine to oxygen is detrimental, as the
prolonged exposure diffuses the aroma and makes the wine fade faster. Others believe that an extra dose of oxygen will help liven up the wine. My experience says that while some wines do benefit from decanting, it’s important to know which wines evolve in a favourable way and which wines deteriorate. For instance, a concentrated, tannic Barolo would certainly mellow upon decanting, which would help to soften aggressive tannins, while a red Burgundy may lose the delicacy of its fine aromas.
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