Decanting – and Bordeaux, not as you know it

Decanting – ah yes that old game. Decanting is the act of pouring wine from its bottle into another container often glass. Once at a friend’s beach house, necessity being the mother of invention, I decanted a Hill of Grace into a plastic beaker, but that’s another story for another date.

Let’s get back to basics. The primary reason for decanting is to separate the wine from any sediment that may have built up in the bottle during ageing. Red wines and vintage port tend to ‘drop’ a sediment (crust) of crystals and other matter as they mature in the bottle.The second reason for decanting is to aerate a young wine to quickly open its bouquet and allow the wine to express itself rapidly. In short, sediment or aeration are both good reasons to decant a wine.

To decant a wine, firstly stand the bottle upright for at least a day to allow the sediment to fall to the bottom of the bottle. If you have had the bottle stored laying flat, be careful not to shake or stand the bottle, this way you can move directly to the first step of decanting without the need to stand the bottle to shift the sediment. Keep the bottle flat while you remove the cork carefully. Then, with a candle light shining through the wine so that you can see the sediment, pour the wine very slowly and gently into the decanter, causing as little splashing and aeration as possible. Stop once the sediment threatens to join the decanted wine. Particularly with older bottles the wine should be served as soon as possible once decanting is complete.

2014 Chateau Peybonhomme Les Tours, Cotes de Bordeaux Blaye

Featured wine: 2014 Chateau Peybonhomme Les Tours, Cotes de Bordeaux Blaye

This wine is a world away from the old stereotypical Bordeaux. Full of energy and freshness, this is a wonderfully vibrant red, with waves of lip-smacking redcurrant and cherry fruit, fine tannins and serious drinkability. And at $37 a bottle this is amazing value.