The Science of Decanting

The Science of Decanting

September 22, 2016

To be truthful, as of yet there really isn’t much… But I thought it would be a good lead-in to the topic of decanting and the illusion of a scientific approach might be fun. That’s because I want to introduce you to the idea of having 2,000 millimeter flasks as decanters. They not only have a cool factor about them but they do their job really well.

Try a 2,000 ml Erlenmeyer flask for instance… It’s has a conical-bottom and a stubby neck and is perfect for decanting both red and white young wines that need a lot of air to open up. With its considerable size and wide mouth it ensures that the air will come into contact with a wide surface area of wine as it is poured into the flask.

Most people don’t think of decanting white wines but almost any good, young white will be constrained when poured directly from the bottle. Decanting won’t compensate for a few years of aging but the air absorbed will help release flavors and aromas that might otherwise stay locked away.

Now let’s forget about aerating young wines and focus on separating out sediments by using an elegant volumetric flask with a long neck and globe-shaped bottom. These flasks are perfect for decanting older wines that are more fragile and that you want to minimize air contact. And think of this, another big benefit of the long-necked decanter is that you will not have far to reach when pouring wine into the glass of somebody sitting across the table from you. You might not even have to leave your seat.

Laboratory flasks, say in the 2,000 ml size, can make unique yet excellent decanters. Don’t go smaller though, even if finding them is easier, because you really do need that extra volume to properly decant a 750 ml bottle. And you will probably want to avoid anything larger than 2,000 ml because they simply become too become unwieldly. Looking unique is one thing, clumsy is another.