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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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How to read an Australian wine label
Words by Paul Diamond on 7 Mar 2016
Mandatory information requirements for labels of Australian wines, mean as a wine lover you can be assured of exactly what is in each wine bottle, who made it and where it came from – there’s no guess work involved. While the label design differs for each wine company to reflect their personality, history and wine styles, all Australian wine labels must include the following: Volume of wine e.g. 750ml Country of origin e.g. Australia Percentage of alcohol e.g. 13.5% ALC/VOL Designation of product e.g. wine Producer e.g. name and address Additives e.g. preservative 220 added Standard drinks e.g. approx. 8 Standard drinks Allergen warnings e.g. this wine has been fined with fish, milk or egg products. There are also a number of rules that apply to the information supplied about where the fruit for the wine came from, what varietal or varietals it’s made from, and also the vintage it was harvested in. If the label states a specific vintage year, it must contain at least 85% of fruit from the stated year. If it states a specific variety it must contain at least 85% of that variety e.g. Chardonnay , Shiraz or Riesling . If the wine contains 15% or more of a second varietal that also must be declared e.g.: Cabernet Merlot or Semillon Sauvignon Blanc. If it states a specific regional origin or geographical indication (GI) it must contain at least 85% fruit from that region. Front of the label Generally a front label will include the following: Producer’s company name Brand name Geographical indication/region Prescribed name of grape variety or blend Vintage Volume statement. Trophy or medal logo if it has any – awarded at Wine Shows, Trophy is the highest award. Wines can also be awarded a Gold, Silver or Bronze medal depending on the score they receive from the judging panel. Back of label Depending on the wine and the wine producer, the back label usually includes a brief blurb about the wine, winery, or winemaker, a tasting note or maybe the story behind the wine. It also includes: Name and description of the wine Alcohol statement Standard drink labelling Allergens declaration Name and address of the wine producer Country of origin On the back labels of Australian biodynamic and organic wines labels, you may also see logos certifying their status. Each wine label tells a story, so next time you pick out a bottle of wine, make sure you take the time to read its label – you’ll be surprised at what you can learn!
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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