As I was spring cleaning this week I came across a gift that my husband bought me a few years ago – our first wine decanter. Since we love our dry red wines so much he figured we should enjoy them the best way possible – with the decanter. Now that we have a collection of great decanters our first decanter is still special to me. When I mentioned my find to a friend she asked what is a decanter and does it really make a difference in the wine or is it just another wine gadget?

At first I’ll admit, I was skeptical of decanters. I mean how much difference could it make in a wine just by pouring it into a glass container? Surprisingly, it makes a big difference. But before I explain the difference, let me take a few seconds here to explain was a decanter is.

The easiest way to explain a decanter is to think of it as a glass carafe that you may see orange juice in. However, a decanter usually has a wider base and a longer neck. The reason for this is the main purpose is to aerate your wine. So as you pour your bottle of red wine into the decanter, the shape of it allows for more air to get into the wine and essentially “open up” the wine.

Many restaurants will decant a red wine to allow for the aromas and flavors to be released. While some people will argue that all red wines should be decanted I’ve really only tasted a major difference in the younger wines. It is important to note that you should never decant a white wine as white wines tend to oxidize faster and therefore may make your wine white taste like vinegar.

As I mentioned, a decanter will have a wide base and a long neck. This is optimal as it allows the greatest amount of air to enter the wine. As you pour the wine, be sure to carefully pour the bottle into the decanter. If you have an older bottle of red wine, there may be sediment in the bottle and by slowly pouring the wine into the decanter you are reducing the amount of sediment that will end up in your glass.

Once the wine is poured into the decanter, let it sit for about 10 minutes. I usually swirl the wine in the decanter to allow for more air to enter the wine. Then sit back and enjoy the great aromas and flavors from the wine.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery located at 11325 Center Road, Garrettsville. For more information on the winery, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com.