As an avid wine lover, a great decanter is a must-have. But if you feel it’s too much hassle to clean after use, your decanter might be getting neglected. In this simple guide, we’ll demystify this process so you can use your beloved decanter more often, for wine enjoyment!
First of all, what’s the benefit of using a decanter?
Regardless of whether you go for luscious wines to drink now or have a wine cellar stocked with ageing beauties, a decanter can elevate your drinking enjoyment.
Traditionally only mature wines were decanted, in order to separate sediment and gently aerate a wine held captive for years in a bottle. A mature is typically considered one which is 10 years or older.
However the benefits of decanting young wines are now well known, as it allows them to open up and reveal more complexity, aromas and flavours. We like to think of it as speeding up the ageing process, helping young wines to show more expression.
In technical terms, exposure to oxygen burns off carbon dioxide, wine’s main preservation element, effectively maturing the wine and allowing the bouquet to develop faster. Decanted red wine expresses more fruit on the palate, and integrates and smooths out tannins.
How do I use my decanter?
To decant a mature wine, slowly pour the wine into the decanter without allowing any sediment to leave the bottle. Let the wine to flow smoothly down the walls of the decanter to gradually aerate. If possible, decant your mature wines at least an hour prior to consumption.
In a young wine, we recommend the complete opposite, as you want to burn off as much carbon dioxide in the wine as possible. Turn the bottle upside down and let it vigorously splash into the decanter, ideally producing a thick frothy head. A young wine will benefit from decanting a few hours prior to consumption, however if you are using one of RIEDEL's double decanting pieces, you can decant right before you want to consume it as the decanter does all the work!
So now I’ve used it, how do I clean it?
- If you are washing your decanter straight after use, it should only require water. Depending on the hardness or quality of your tap water, we’d recommend using distilled water as highly alkaline water can cause cloudiness. Distilled water also doesn’t have any aroma or contain minerals, which will help prevent watermarks when drying.
- Take care not to knock the spout of your decanter on the tap as this can cause chips. If your decanter is too tall for your sink, you can also try your laundry or bath tap!
- Avoid using dishwashing soap or detergent in your piece, as it can be very difficult to remove all traces.
- If you’ve enjoyed a couple of bottles over a dinner party, we recommend rinsing any leftover wine out of your decanter and upending a bottle of carbonated water (such as soda water) into the decanter to sit overnight. Rinse this out in the morning, with a steadier hand!
- If the design of the piece allows, rest the piece upside down to dry on a tea towel, or rest atop a tea towel over a dish drying rack. The tea towel will help to protect the decanter’s spout from chipping on the rack, while still allowing the decanter to aerate to prevent condensation.
- If your decanter cannot be stored upside to dry, remove as much water as you can and leave to air dry out of the cupboard. In this instance, the decanter may contain some patches of condensation; before its next use, simply rinse again with some water or, better yet, with a little wine to condition the piece.
- Use a RIEDEL Microfibre Polishing Cloth to dry and polish reachable areas of the decanter, for a perfect sparkling finish.
What can I do if my decanter has red wine stains or other marks from lack of use?
- If you have not used the decanter in a while or it needs a bit of TLC after frequent use, we recommend our RIEDEL Bottle Cleaner, which are tiny stainless steel beads that remove dirt, residue, sediment, and superficial stains from inside the decanter.
- Simply fill the vessel with water, add the beads and swirl. When you're finished, carefully empty the beads into a mesh strainer, rinse the pellets well, and dry them. If dried and stored correctly, the beads can be used many times.
- Please be aware that this product cannot be used in the following decanters as they can become lodged in the design: Ayam, Eve, Curly, Boa, Mamba, Horse, Dog, Twenty Twelve, Swan, Face to Face and Evchen.
- For persistent red wine stains, fill the decanter with white vinegar and soak until removed, then rinse well and dry as above. For particularly stubborn staining, we recommend using denture cleaning tablets. Dissolve the tablets in water as suggested on the packet, and soak until the stains are gone. Rinse well and dry as above.
About RIEDEL decanters
RIEDEL offers a wide range of elegant decanters, with a piece suitable for every lifestyle and price range. Both our handmade and machine-made decanters are produced in high-quality, lead-free crystal glass.
RIEDEL’s handmade decanters are all individually crafted by our master glassmakers using original blown glass techniques dating back 2000 years, so each piece is slightly unique. The expertise of our master glassmakers guarantees that the quality of each product meets the Riedel brand's high standards.
Click here to view our full range of decanters, or see a collection of our favourites below!