If you are a wine enthusiast, then you only want what is best for your wine. Some people may just pop a bottle of wine then pour it directly in the glass and call it a day, but others choose to do something more, like decanting it.
As much as the history of wine traces back to thousands of years ago, decanters have also been hanging around for a very long time. Decanters were originally made from glass or crystal, pioneered by the Ancient Romans. At the time when the Western Roman Empire had fallen (around 476 AD), glass became scarce and so, decanters were made from other resources such as gold, silver, bronze and earthenware. Eventually, the glass decanters had returned with the rise of the Venetian empire during the Renaissance period. It was they who first developed the style of decanter having a long, narrow neck and a wide body to provide more surface area for the wine to interact with air.
Over the years, decanters had been given an added feature which was a stopper thanks to British glass makers around 1730 to limit the air exposure of wine. This contributed to the glass decanter’s increasing popularity since it was also an established household item in Britain. Even with the stoppers, the British retained the original design of the Venetians of the decanters: long necks and wide bodies. Since then, wine decanters have spread all over the world and more designs and sizes emerged, thus creating its evolution and brought us the wine decanters that we know and love today.
What to Look for When Buying a Decanter for Red Wine
When you visit a store to buy a wine decanter, you might be overwhelmed by the many shapes, sizes and designs that you can choose from. People have different reasons for buying a decanter. Some may be focusing on function, others on style and aesthetics, while some look for both. To help you out, here are the factors that can help you find the ideal decanter for you.
The standard wine decanter has the capacity to occupy a whole bottle of wine with some extra space for air. Small decanters are a practical choice if you are more of a casual drinker and you only want to decant a certain amount of wine that you can finish at a time. But, if you are a type of person who likes to host big events or gatherings, go for the large ones as these can fit more than one bottle of wine and still have enough surface area for air exposure.
Bear in mind that wine should not stay for too long in a decanter as this risks the wine of too much oxidation, thus making the wine flat. Be sure that the size of the decanter corresponds with the wine that you can finish in a day.
There are two parts of a decanter that matter in terms of shape: the neck and the body. It is also good to note what wine you are decanting in the decanter you are considering. A carafe or a simple, vase-shaped decanter is a good choice if you are decanting aged wines since you don’t need to aerate it but simply to remove the sediments. If you are decanting young wines that need to be aged with the aeration, you’d want to have one with the biggest surface area, one with the widest bowl you can get.
Also, consider the ease when pouring the wine into the glasses and during cleaning. It would be helpful if it comes with cleaning beads and a drying rack.
Since the original shape of the first decanters, they have been revolutionized resulting in an array of designs ranging from simple to extreme. Design is more on functionality and ease of use. An eye-catching design might be just that but it won’t do any good if it did not give the wine the desired effect that the decanter is called for.
You can choose between a glass and a crystal decanter. With the issue of lead and its dangers to health, one should be cautious in buying crystal decanters. Based on the latest EU standards, any glassware with more than 10% lead is considered crystal. Reserve crystal decanters on special occasions.
Lead-free decanters made with borosilicate as a replacement to lead are available, giving the decanter the same luster without the threats to health. Glass decanters are also much sturdier and most decanters that are used daily are made from glass. They are also more affordable and they retain the flavors of the wine.
If you are focused more on function and durability, there are plenty to choose from that are affordable and have those two features. But, if you live by the philosophy, “go big or go home”, you can choose the crystal ones or those that have the extreme designs. Be sure to get one that will give you the best value for your money.
6. Wine Type
It seems like you can choose a decanter of your preference based on the other factors and decant any type of wine in it. Yes, this can definitely be done. However, some wines such as Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah have special-made decanters that specifically tailor to their properties. Aged wines are more concerned with removing sediments so a decanter with a medium-sized neck is suitable for them. On the other hand, young wines need more aeration to open up their flavors faster so they would need decanters that have wide necks.
Top 10 Red Wine Decanters
There seems to be an endless list of wine decanters in the market. But for now, we offer you the top 10 best wine decanters. And here they are.
The wine decanter probably bearing the highest amount of ratings in Amazon, Le Château follows one of the most iconic shapes of decanters, a wide body extending to a medium-sized neck with a slanted spout to prevent spillage and for easy pouring that is ideal for almost any type of wine. It is made from hand-blown lead-free crystal so it is not so thin to the point that it is very fragile and not too thick, making it heavy to lift. It is designed to fit a 750 ml bottle of wine but still has enough space to provide maximum aeration. Le Chateau provides a great balance of elegance and function, making an amazing gift for any wine lover.
Another common shape for wine decanters is the U shape or sometimes referred to as the swan, which has one end that is narrower than the other and forming a fairly medium-sized body. This is one of the most interesting shapes for decanters because it has not only one but two openings, which equally cater the need for separating sediments and air exposure to enhance the flavors and aromas of a standard 750-bottle of wine. The handle is actually the wider end, leading the wine to pour through the smaller end which somehow resembles a kettle’s spout, for easy pouring and to prevent spilling. Completely made from lead-free crystal and is mouth-blown, this decanter surely has both the look and the function.
The Final Touch Decanter is one of the many decanter that boasts an intricate design. The body has multiple curves, almost twisty, that allows wine to strategically flow down with superior aeration. The neck and mouth are sufficiently wide so whether you are pouring in or out, it is an easy task.As a bonus feature, the base is made from a sophisticated brushed stainless steel, making it stand still and firm. Its material is entirely glass that is blown by hand and it can fit up to 375 ml of wine, which is approximately half a bottle, so it’s great if you’re more of a casual drinker and you only like to decant little wine at a time.
If you’re a wine lover and you want to treat yourself with a beautiful decanter, then the Godinger Dublin Decanter is for you. It measures 12 inches high so it’s good for decanting amounts of wine that you can actually finish in one sitting. Its design looks absolutely stunning with a tear-shaped body decorated with intricate details on the surface, showing its crystal material. It also comes with a magnificent stopper so if you want to limit the air exposure, you definitely can. Along with its elegance, it also happens to be durable, with 24 percent lead for substance, balance and weight. With all its patterns, it is still smooth to the touch because it has a fine finish so the user can have a firm grip.
If you’re the kind of person who likes to buy not just one item in a single purchase, then you may want to go for a decanter set. Brew To A Tea (BTaT) offers an iconic lead-free crystal glass decanter with all the accessories you can ask for. The shape and design allows maximum aeration for better enhancement of the wine’s quality.
The first accessory is a cork ball stopper to provide a seal to the decanter and helps in the wine’s preservation after aerating. And you’ll never have a hard time cleaning this decanter because the other accessories are dedicated to its maintenance. To clean it, there is a good brush and stainless steel beads that you can swirl in the decanter for removing stubborn spots and hard-to-reach areas. After cleaning, you can allow it to air dry with its drying stand that is made from industrial grade stainless steel, coated with rubber to prevent scratches and damage to your decanter. All of these items come at a very affordable price so it’s absolutely worth it.
Described as “practical yet elegant”, this 35-ounce decanter is made from a lead-free material and is smartly designed with a punt or a deep dent at the base where you place your thumb so you can get a good hold of it when pouring. It has a sufficiently big mouth to give proper aeration to the wine. Because the neck is not very long and the body is pretty wide, it makes it easier to wash than other models either by hand or using a dishwasher. It also has a slanted spout to provide mess-free and easy pouring. It may look simple, but it is actually strategically designed to embody a non-slip feature and to enhance wine overall.
If you prefer a simple vase-shaped design, then this decanter is for you. Despite the lack of details and patterns, it still proves to be elegant, functional and comfortable for the hand. This decanter is specifically intended for Cabernet. It allows enough room for air for aroma and flavor enhancement and it has the capacity of about 37 ounces. Made from machine-blown crystal, it is sturdy, has a smooth surface and is recommended to be hand-washed.
Unlike the other decanters in this list, the Rabbit Aerating Decanter System contains multiple components that work together to achieve the purpose of the decanter in a more heightened way. The decanter is made from hand-blown crystal, with a wide body that is curved towards the neck.
Here, functionality meets beauty. This aerating decanter works best at separating sediments from the wine using a super fine sediment screen laid on top of a crystal glass wine spray funnel which is placed at the decanter’s mouth. Because of the very fine filter, the wine is to be poured slowly because after the screen, the wine will be sprayed down into the decanter from the funnel. It may be a slow process to pour but it’s actually very efficient because as you pour, not only is the wine being rid from its sediments but also already aerates as it goes down into the decanter. The filter and the funnel can be put in the dishwasher but the decanter should be washed by hand.
An interesting and fun way to decant your wine is through this globe decanter. Just like an actual globe, this one also portrays continents and countries by way of etching. As a treat, it also spins and when it does, the wine gets aerated and the flavors and aromas will be opened up. It features a spherical decanter, a stopper, and a base, all are made of glass that is lead-free and resistant to heat. Aside from wine, you can also decant other liquors in it like cognac. Aside from traveling the world, you can also travel to a world of wine flavors and aromas with this decanter. This also makes a wonderful gift for someone who loves wine and travel.
If you look closely, you can see that it quite resembles a duck and it’s not all for naught. It is not like other decanter styles isn’t it? Its body is placed horizontally which is very effective in keeping the wine in contact with the atmosphere, encouraging more air, and resulting to a better aeration. The body, as well as the awesome arced handle is made from lead-free crystal glass. With its horizontal position, the base along with the extended handle which touches the table or surface, makes the whole thing stable. It is also worth mentioning that this is among the most break-resistant decanters out there, making it a truly well-crafted piece.
What Type of Decanter is Best for Red Wine?
There are numerous types of red wine that may either be young or old. And people may have different preferences for their wine. No matter how many years they are aged, they need the two things that are provided by the decanter: air and separation of sediments. Red wines are known for their deep color, bold and fruity flavors and pleasant aromas. All of these amazing features will be enhanced with the help of a decanter. To know more about the importance of decanting, check out this article.
The best type of decanter is one that will highlight the aroma and flavors of wine, soften the tannins and eliminate the sulfites and sediments. The other features of the decanter are just that - features. If it does not affect the wine in the way that it should then there is no need to pay extra just to get them.
Intricate designs give more value to the decanter that is why crystal decanters are more expensive than glass decanters. However, caution should be taken when buying lead crystal decanters. Wine seems to leach lead the most in leaded decanters and crystal wares. Read more here.
What is the Best Decanter for Red Wine?
All decanters are beautiful and functional in their own right and people have different criteria on what to look for in a decanter. But, if we’re going to base it on the reviews, ratings, and what restaurants mostly use, the best decanter is, hands down, the La Chateau Wine Decanter. It has the iconic shape to make the wine reach its full potential , it's made from lead-free crystal that makes the red wine’s color pop and it is very comfortable for the hands, allowing you to hold it properly and have a firm grip. Overall, it is simple, elegant, practical and trusted.