Letting a Red Wine Breathe
|Letting a wine breathe means that you deliberately expose the wine to the air, to help start the exchange of wine molecules with air molecules. This both has an effect on the wine's flavor as well as making the wine easier to smell.|
Decanting is all about removing sediment from a wine, and allowing the wine to breathe. These are things that older, red wines do - young wines and white wines do not usually have to be decanted.
Remember that your tongue can only taste four types of tastes (or five, if you believe in umami). To see how your tongue is divided up, visit my Wine Basics Page. All of the other sensations you get - including things you think of as "flavors" - come from your nose. Therefore, you want that wine to be giving off aromas! If it's not releasing flavors into the air, it's going to taste like strange water.
Just taking a cork out of a bottle does very little. The tiny amount of surface area touching the air in the bottle neck will cause no real change in the wine over even a few hours. If you're going to actually create a positive effect on the wine, you have to create a large surface area for the wine and air to react across.
|This is where decanting comes into play. Decanters are deliberately designed to expose large amounts of the wine to the air, to help the wine and air work with each other. This helps the older red wines "wake up" and start to have a full aroma again, after years of being cooped up in the bottle.|
All About Decanting
Wine Basics Main Page
All content on the WineIntro website is personally written by author and wine enthusiast Lisa Shea. WineIntro explores the delicious variety and beautiful history which makes up our world of wine! Lisa loves supporting local wineries and encouraging people to drink whatever they like. We all have different taste buds, and that makes our world wonderful. Always drink responsibly.