Decanting a red wine can seem like a very posh and somewhat intimidating thing to undertake and to do well, but choosing the right wine decanter can make the process a simple one to learn. A red wine decanter doesn't even have to be a vessel specifically labeled as a decanter, and sometimes the best ones are those selected to accent existing home decor. Selecting the properly shaped and colored container can lead to added enjoyment of many bottles of wine.
The first thing to consider is the shape of the red wine decanter. The vessel should have a long, narrow neck and a wide base. The mouth of the decanter should not be so narrow as to make pouring the wine into it difficult, but if it is a wide-mouthed vessel, the neck should be smaller than the opening. The body of the decanter should be wide; make sure it is large enough to hold all of the wine in the body. When the bottle has been emptied into the decanter, there should be no wine in the neck.
The material the red wine decanter is made from is also important. Most are made from glass, but clarity is vital. If the decanter is made of some sort of decorative crystal that distorts the view of the wine, this can make it difficult to examine the wine for clarity. Decanting can assist in getting the residue out of the bottle; while pouring into a clear decanter, transfer of the wine can stop as soon as residue starts to be poured. Being able to see the clarity of the wine is key, so the decanter should be made of a clear material instead of colored glass or crystal.
The neck of the decanter should also be clear and unobstructed by design or decoration. This, and the addition of a light source behind the red wine decanter, will make it easy to see any sediment in the wine. Some new decanters even have a screen built in to catch any of the residue that might be poured out of the bottle. Bottles should be allowed to stand upright for at least a day before they are decanted, which will allow any residue to settle to the bottom.
A red wine decanter can be made of crystal or glass, and the delicacy of the vessel is a matter of personal preference. The shape of the decanter can make it difficult to clean, a step that is vital in preserving the integrity of each individual bottle of wine. Making sure the decanter is easy to hold onto and has a sturdy base can make this crucial step much easier.