To Decant or Not to Decant: That Is the Question

In recent years there has been a lot of controversy about decanting. Do you decant everything or just older wines? Recently, seven wine experts weighed in on the subject and offered the current consensus, which is still very polarized.

New Wines

Due to the nature of many of the new wines coming on the market in the last decade, decanting has fallen out of fashion. Amy Reiley, author and renown wine expert, explains, “I personally don’t do very much of it simply because I don’t drink a lot of wines for which its necessary. A lot of New World wine, not just American, but Australian and Chilean are being made in a style that is meant to be drunk right away. Vintners and wineries know that at least in the US, people are buying wines and drinking them immediately. So, they are making wines that are suitable for that.”

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David Mirassou of Mirassou Winery agrees. “Most wines that are consumed today don’t need to be decanted,” he says. “Eighty percent of wines that are consumed today are enjoyed within 24 hours of purchase. When someone goes to a local retailer, they pick wines up and bring them home and they start enjoying them right away, especially in our price range.”

Brigitte Baker, founder of WineStyles, also notes that decanting may not be a good thing. “I think it’s actually a disservice to some wines to decant them,” she says. “It’s not so necessary unless it’s a really, really big, bold full-bodied wine that really needs a chance to breathe. But if it’s a fruit-forward wine, for example, or a mellow wine or most white wines (and there are some exceptions to that rule), for the most part they don’t benefit from being decanted.”