The process of decanting wine serves two purposes: first, to separate the wine from sediment in older wines, and second to allow the wine to come into contact with oxygen to allow it to ‘open up’. Oxygen improves the wine’s flavour and aroma.
Decanting red wine
As a general guide for red wines:
- Light-bodied red wine – 30 minutes (Pinot Noir)
- Medium-bodied red wine – 30-60 minutes
- Full-bodied red wine – 60-120 minutes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah)
For our wines, we recommend decanting our current release wines, particularly Melissa’s Paddock Syrah and Samantha’s Paddock Mélange Traditionnel (Cabernet blend), for two hours prior to consumption. Decanting allows the wines to be metaphorically ‘shaken awake’ from their slumber in order to start slow oxidation to release to the senses of the flavour and aroma compounds.
Decanting white wine
Whilst decanting is usually only considered beneficial for red wine, did you know that white wine can also benefit from short decanting periods?
Our current release Katherine’s Paddock Chardonnay, Estate Chardonnay and Mélange Traditionnel Blanc also benefit from a short decanting period, particularly if they are poured straight from the fridge. Decanting helps progress them along to peak enjoyability and full available expression for that stage of their development.
Be mindful that oxygen will be absorbed more rapidly in colder wine, so minimise the swirling once poured into the decanter.
The ideal drinking temperature for these wines is 10-12°C to fully realise the deliciousness and more-ish tactile and textural components. This temperature allows you to appreciate what is peculiar and particular to our wines. So, if wanting to drink straight from the fridge, decanting will help get the wine into a good place more immediately as cold wine is slightly muted.
Decanting older wine
The older the wine, the more fragile it is and will generally, due to natural development and maturation, have less robust characters to support the shock of decantation. Do not decant white wine greater than 10 years old.
For more mature wines, we suggest decanting for a short period of time, predominantly for the purpose of separating the wine from its settled precipitated sediments from polymerisation of tannin and colour compounds, not to ‘open up’ the wine. Before decanting, we also suggest removing the bottle from your cellar and standing it upright to help the sediment settle at the bottom of the bottle.
Don’t forget …
The actual pouring of the wine into the glass is in itself a very oxidative process and will also assist in advancing the wine towards approachability.
Subsequent swirling of the glass and time in glass pre-consumption for remaining wine (either in glass, in bottle or in decanter), will collectively assist in advancing these balances to evolve until the wine is ultimately consumed.
Then it’s time to reach for that second bottle …