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5 Best Wine Decanters [Elegance for Every Budget]
I showcase my favorite wine decanters for every occasion. Get the most out of your next bottle of wine with my top picks!
A wine decanter is an essential accessory to have in your wine bar area.
Whether you are a novice wine enthusiast or a true connoisseur, a wine decanter will add class to your wine serving and will definitely impress your guests, not to mention that it will make your wine taste better!
But with so many models available out there, determining which is the best wine decanter for you can be difficult.
In this guide, I explain the benefits of decanting wine before recommending my favorite wine decanters.
What is a Wine Decanter?
A wine decanter is a large jug-like vessel made of glass or transparent crystal. Typically, decanters have a flattened bottom and a long neck.
Since there are a myriad of models available on the market, knowing how a proper wine decanter must be shaped is essential.
There are some models of decanters that are very similar to traditional water carafes.
Many of these models are even decorated with various motifs and might seem more appealing than a traditional decanter.
A specialist wine decanter, however, is an indispensable item to have, especially if you take wine drinking seriously.
The price of a decanter depends a lot on what material you choose. The quality of the glass or crystal and the intricacy of the design are usually good indicators of overall quality and price.
As you can imagine, the glass type decanters have more affordable prices. However, they can have almost the same quality as the crystal decanters.
Probably the only difference between the two types is the better odor management of the crystal decanters, in the way that the crystal doesn’t preserve any aromas from the previously decanted wines.
However, if you don’t sell exclusive wines for a living, a glass wine decanter could be an excellent choice.
The most important thing that you should understand is that wine decanting is not a sommelier’s ritual or a way to impress.
Wine decanting has a purpose.
It's to enhance the flavor and presentation of an aged or young wine.
So, if you don’t want to use your decanter only to look fashionable, you should learn the right decanting techniques.
Different Types Of Wine Decanters
As I mentioned before, wine decanters typically have flattened bottoms and long necks.
However, they don't all follow this design practice.
Many decanter designs exist and they don't all have the same capacity either.
The vast majority of the wine decanters are made with a capacity of 750 ml, which is the capacity of a regular wine bottle.
However, if you have to share your wine with a larger number of guests, you can choose a larger wine decanter.
Carafes can also be used for decanting purposes.
However, keep in mind that the purpose of decanting is the aeration of wine and the carafe will limit this process.
Why Should You Decant Wine?
If you are just beginning your wine journey you might be wondering why you should decant wine anyway?
I always thought it was just something rich people did to show off their wealth!
Well, decanting provides two key benefits that serve to improve the quality of the wine drinking experience.
The first of the benefits is the aeration of the wine, while the second is the removal of sediment.
Depending on the type of wine, you may choose to simply decant it for aeration, or to solely eliminate the sediment, or sometimes both.
Depending on the purpose for which you want to decant your wine, there can be a considerable time difference for each to have an effect.
This means it's advantageous to understand the reason for decanting so you can prepare accordingly.
The type of wine that needs to be decanted, is also a factor that affects the length of time you may need to decant it for. An older, more valuable wine might need longer, for example.
Some types of wines need only a few minutes for a proper aeration before the decanting is effective, while others, especially some exclusive varieties, may even need a few days.
The vast majority of wines that need to be decanted are red wines, especially those made of noble varieties of grapes.
However, there are some rare cases when even white wines need decantation.
These white wines are typically a few aged varieties of Jaune de Jura, Madeira or Porto.
One thing to keep in mind is that in some cases decanting the wine will alter the aroma and flavor of the wine.
Now let’s have a closer look at the two types of decanting.
1. Decanting for Aeration
This practice must be used for the aged varieties of wines. Young wines generally don’t need to be decanted.
In fact, young wines have two olfactory phases (phases of smell or aroma).
In the first phase, you will usually perceive the strongest aromas, the primary perfumes that are generally fruity.
After about 10 to 15 minutes, the strongest aromas will start to fade away giving room to the delicate secondary aromas.
Generally, these are the flowery or herbal aromas.
The aged wines, in addition to these two olfactory phases, have a third aromatic bouquet that expresses the evolution of the first two phases.
The roasting aromas specific to the aged wines need a proper aeration if you want to sense them.
Depending on the wine, the decanting time can be from a few minutes to several hours or days.
If you are unsure about the decanting time, the best solution is to leave the wine in the decanter for a few hours before serving.
2. Decanting for the Removal of Sediment
The other reason for decantation is to remove the wine sediment.
To remove the sediment, you should position yourself in a dimly lit environment with a light source behind the neck of the bottle.
This is simply to highlight the sediment and make it easier for you to see.
While observing the neck of the bottle, you should slowly pour the wine into the decanter.
This requires focus as you should not let the sediment pass into the decanter.
For this reason, it is essential to handle the bottle gently, from when you take it off the rack until you decant the wine.
If you now know the reasons of wine decanting, you should also know when decanting the wine could damage the aromas and the flavor instead of enhancing them.
First of all, it should be said that there is a lot of controversies about which wines should or shouldn’t be decanted.
Generally, young or white wines don’t need decanting, but there are exceptions.
In fact, some people choose to decant white wines for aeration just like a red (whites don't have the same problems with sediment).
While there is no precise rule, the main thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t leave white wine or young wine in a decanter for more than half an hour.
My Recommended Wine Decanters
Take a quick look at the three standout wine decanters before we take a look at all five in more detail below.
My Top Pick: Le Chateau Wine Decanter
If you're keen to impress your guests or customers, this crystal wine decanter from Le Chateau is a great place to start.
This attractive wine decanter has a beautiful, elegant design and it is perfectly engineered to bring out all the aromas and flavors of your wine.
The decanter has a capacity of 750 ml and the slanted spout will allow you to pour the wine from the decanter into the glass easily and without spills.
The crystal construction is great for maintaining a neutral base for each new wine it holds. Crystal, of course, is ideal as it doesn't absorb odors from any previously decanted wine.
A surprise for me with this decanter was the pleasing price tag. It's not prohibitively expensive and has a more accessible price point than many crystal decanters on the market.
Luxury Choice: Riedel Ultra Decanter
Riedel are well known for their quality glassware for wines. The Riedel Ultra decanter is now exception and is a piece of immense quality.
Be warned that it's priced accordingly! This is by far and away the most expensive of the wine decanter reviews that we've included in our recommendations.
So what makes it stand out?
For starters it's hand-made with fine crystal. The classic design is optimal for aeration and allowing sediment to settle.
Standing at 8 and 1/2 inches tall and weighing 1.3 pounds, it holds 43 and 1/2 ounces of your favorite wine.
Is it worth the extra money?
Well, it just feels more substantial and of overall higher quality than cheaper decanters due to its weight. That's not to say it does it's job any better than them, it's just a higher quality piece of crystalware.
Budget Choice: Menu Wine Decanter
The Menu decanter is an innovative piece of glassware that impresses not only with its design but with the original way of pouring the wine into it.
Basically, the decanter is placed on top of an opened bottle of wine. Once the bottle has fitted snuggly into the lid the wine will pour into the decanter, receiving enough oxygen because of the way it flows.
When it comes to serving, you can choose to flip the bottle-decanter in the original position and serve the wine from the bottle or serve it directly from the decanter.
It's a really cool way of doing things that is made all the more impressive due to the price tag.
Sagaform Wine Carafe
Another elegant wine decanter we really like is this carafe with oak stopper from Sagaform.
It's made of hand-blown glass and is adorned by a beautiful oak stopper that will keep the wine free from dust.
You can fit even a magnum bottle of wine into this decanter, thanks to the large capacity.
This crystal decanter is really well priced, and should be on the radar of anyone looking for quality wine accessories on a budget.
Luigi Bormioli Magnifico
A gorgeous wine decanter that impressed us with its original shape. A truly beautiful piece of Italian glassware design.
Looking more like a water carafe, this decanter boasts a practical punt that will ensure a proper aeration for all the liquid.
The decanter has a one-liter capacity, although it is advisable to decant only 750ml at a time, to make sure that all the wine will come in contact with oxygen.
As my ultimate wine decanter guide show, there are enough options on the market to match all tastes and budgets.
The first thing I like about this wine decanter is that is made of crystal and not of glass.
For many wines this may not be an important characteristic, but if you have a collection of very rare wines, the material of the decanter really makes a difference.
Being made of crystal, this decanter doesn’t absorb the odors of the previously decanted wines, ensuring a proper tasting of your prized drinks.
The shape is another feature I really like. The wide oval base is perfect for a proper aeration of the liquid. In addition, the long neck and the perfectly designed lip makes pouring the wine easy.
The capacity of the decanter is also the desired one. Usually, there is no reason to decant more than 750 ml of wine at a time. If you have more guests, we suggest using two or more decanters.
The reason why we don’t advise decanting more than 750 ml of wine is because larger quantities of liquid are harder to aerate, therefore the wine might not show its true notes and character.
All these characteristics, together with the fact that it is hand-blown, mean I have no hesitations when recommending the Le Chateau wine decanter.