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Wine

Let it Breathe - Wine Decanters

Better fruit expression, a softer structure and the best possible tasting condition – these are the reasons why it’s a good idea to decant certain wines.

But how and when should you decant a wine? We asked Tasting Panellist, winemaker and wine show judge, Dave Mavor to fill us in.

When to use a wine decanter

 

What is a Wine Decanter For?

The major benefit of decanting is to let wine and oxygen combine. Wine feeds on oxygen when it’s released, giving it the best chance to open up allows the fruit to prosper, the structure to soften, and the wine to be in optimum tasting condition.

In the old days, a wine that had a cork and was deemed worthy, or was of good providence, was meant to be decanted, but the advent of the screwcap has changed all this. It’s the newer bottles in your cellar, the ones you put aside for immediate drinking, which are the ones that can benefit from a little TLC in a wine decanter.

As screwcapped wines arrive tighter and more fine-boned than their predecessors under cork, a bit of air can help release primary fruit and aid texture. In terms of time, newer wines can be left in the decanter and you’ll notice they open up over the course of a few hours.

Older wines, however, do not need more than an hour as they will start to fall away in the decanter and fruit can become stripped quite quickly.

When to Decant Your Wine

How and when to decant wine infographic

Can Decanting Help an Inferior Wine?

Yes! Decanting a cheap wine can often help to get rid of the unpleasant odour from the sulphur dioxide. You might even fool your friends into thinking you’re drinking a much more expensive wine.

Vinturi Aerators

While we generally prefer the ritual, elegance and occasion of a wine decanter, there is no question that aerators are one of the fastest ways to achieve a similar result.

The theory works on the vinturi effect, where the velocity of a wine poured through a small gap increases, and as this happens, pressure decreases and air is mixed with the wine as it is poured into the glass.

So aerators are a fast alternative to decanting and if no-one else is sharing your wine, you can pour just a glass through the aerator instead of having to pour the whole bottle into a decanter.

Whether you use an aerator, a decanter or even a jug, give your wine some space to breathe and experience the difference.

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Create inspiring food and wine matches Follow the helpful tips below to ensure that at your next dinner party you impress your guests with your pairing prowess. Acid + acid If your food is high in acid – think tomatoes or a squeeze of lemon – you’ll need a wine that’s high in acid too. Riesling is the most obvious white choice, while Italian style reds will balance tomatoes and cut through olive oil.  Same + same Brings together complementary flavours – light-bodied wine + light dish, full-bodied wine + heavy dish and so on. Also pair similar textures and flavours – earthy wine + earthy food, citrussy wine + fruity dish, etc.  Opposite + opposite Try a fresh, crisp Chardonnay with a creamy pasta dish, or consider a clean, dry Riesling with a spicy chilli-filled Asian dish. Or if you’re serving a dish with very simple flavours, a complex wine can enhance the experience. Heat + sweet For spicy dishes, red wines high in alcohol and tannins are a no-no as the alcohol intensifies the heat. Choose sweeter whites such as off-dry Gewürztraminers or Rieslings .   Sweet + sweeter If your dish is sweet, the wine should be sweeter. Think milk and dark chocolate desserts with Tawnies and Muscats , while white chocolate pairs with Prosecco and lemon flavours are perfect with Botrytis Riesling . Tannins + fat This pairing is all about balance. Fat serves to even out tannin intensity, resulting in a smoother, softer red.  Wine styles Try these suggestions to match with your favourite wine styles. Fuller bodied red wines Wines: Cabernet , Shiraz , Malbec , Durif Food matches: Their robust structure makes these an ideal partner to hard cheeses and fattier cuts of meat. Medium bodied red wines Wines: Merlot & Blends, Tempranillo , Barbera , Sangiovese Food matches: To match the moderate density tannins go for slow-cooked or rustic style dishes like pasta, Mediterranean fare, tapas. Lighter bodied red wines Wines: Pinot Noir , Grenache & blends, Nero d’Avola   Food matches: With the finer styles, go for gamey, earthy foods like duck, while styles with higher acidity can take richer, spicier dishes. Rosé Wines: Dry, off-dry Food matches: For drier styles, go for salads, charcuterie and antipasto. For off-dry styles, try spicy food or fruit-based dishes. Fuller-bodied white wines Wines: Chardonnay , Verdelho , Viognier Food matches: A richer texture makes these fuller varieties a great match for poultry, pork, rich seafood, cream or cheese-based pastas. Medium-bodied white wines Wines: Arneis , Pinot G , Fiano , Vermentino , Marsanne Food matches: Zesty acidity makes these styles perfect with lighter flavours like tapas, pasta and salads. Lighter-bodied and aromatic white wines Wines: Sauvignon Blanc & blends, Semillon , Riesling , Gewürztraminer Food matches: The high acidity inherent in these varieties makes them ideal for fried food, raw seafood, delicate Asian dishes, and simple Mediterranean food. Champagne, Sparkling and Prosecco Wines: Champagne , Sparkling & Prosecco Food matches: With the richer styles, choose seafood and richer canapés, while lighter styles suit antipasto, fried foods and fresh fruit. Dessert and Fortified wines Wines: Botrytis , Tawny , Muscat/Topaque  Food matches: Botrytis: Cream or fruit-based desserts, pâté. Tawny: Cheddar & blue cheese, dried & fresh fruit, nuts. Topaque: Caramel-based desserts. Muscat: Chocolate-based desserts, dates & dried figs, ice cream.
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Know Your Variety - Australian Malbec
Neglected for decades in France as a lesser blending grape, Malbec was resurrected and championed in Argentina as an excellent single varietal wine. It's now having a similar resurgence in Australia, with some excellent Australian Malbec wines appearing in the  Clare Valley ,  Langhorne Creek ,  Margaret River  and  Great Southern . To help us learn more about this plush and fruit driven red wine, we reached out to a few Australian Malbec experts with winemakers from  Forest Hill Wines ,  Bremerton  and Tamburlaine Organic Wines. AUSTRALIAN MALBEC AT A GLANCE THE VARIED ORIGINS OF MALBEC
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Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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