Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Is Decanting?

What Is Decanting? thumbnail
What Is Decanting?



To decant wine is to pour it from one vessel into another, either to expose it briefly to oxygen or to pour it away from the collection of sediment at the bottom of its bottle. There are many expensive and beautiful decanters available, but wine can also be satisfactorily decanted into any carafe or even a large wine glass.

Decanting to Aerate

  • Exposure to oxygen seems to "open up" both red and white wines -- softening the harsh, chalky feel of a red wine's tannins and mellowing the rich fruit flavors of a good white wine. Some people open a wine bottle 30 minutes or so before serving to let it "breathe," but aerating does more to improve the flavor. You can pour a bottle of wine into a decanter or pour a single serving into a large wine glass and let it sit. If you have a very good red wine that tastes harsh, try pouring it back and forth from one carafe to another for a few minutes.

Decanting for Sediment

  • Older, high quality red wines need decanting because they throw sediment. The sediment is made of spent yeast cells left from the fermentation process, plus some of the chemical compounds that give red wine its color. To decant for sediment, slowly pour the wine from its bottle into a clean glass carafe, taking care to stop pouring when the first grains of sediment enter the neck of the bottle. Work in a good light. Traditionally, a host would decant a red wine while holding the neck of the bottle near a candle, so as to see the sediment clearly.

What Wines Need Decanting?

  • The wines that most often need decanting, either for aerating or sediment, are fine Bordeaux varieties and vintage ports. Bordeaux wines are made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, which are high in the tannins and coloring agents that either make wine taste harsh or precipitate out over time, or both. Vintage ports age for years in the bottle, throwing off many spent yeast cells as they sit. Fine winemakers, in general, often leave their best wines unfiltered to take advantage of the flavors that develop from residual yeasts and even bits of grape skin remaining in the bottle.

The Decanter as Bottle

  • Modern decanters come in many fanciful shapes, and they often don't have stoppers. In past centuries, when people bought wine by the barrel, the decanter served as the wine bottle, so it needed a stopper. Today, most wine drinkers decant young, vigorous red wines for aeration and immediate consumption. The decanter is no longer a storage vessel.


  • A decanter can be pretty and fun to use, but since most good, economical wines don't need aeration and have no sediment, the decanter is often superfluous. They are surprisingly fragile and, after washing, the fanciest models are hard to dry thoroughly. They require storage space or display space. Simply glugging the wine roughly into your glass sufficiently aerates a good but everyday wine.
 by Nancy Yos - Ms. Yos lives, writes, and blogs in the south suburbs of Chicago. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in Commentary, First Things, and American Heritage, as well as in local newspapers. She is the Chicago Baking Examiner for Examiner.com, and freelances as an independent wine consultant.

Source: What Is Decanting? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5138713_decanting.html#ixzz2C7c2cfYv

Pete's Tip:  A decanter would be a nice way to serve a red box wine with dinner.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fall Cocktails

A couple of drinks to enjoy this Autumn

The cheer is well known, but no matter your sports loyalities, a hot toddy is a nice way to welcome cooler weather.   A hot toddy is basically a shot or two of any potent spirit added to a cup of hot water, but the variations are unlimited.

Here is Hot Toddy recipe using apple brandy taken from Food and Wine online:

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups apple brandy
  • Eight 3-inch cinnamon sticks
In small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey until dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice and apple brandy. Set a cinnamon stick in each of 8 mugs or heatproof glasses, pour in the hot liquid and serve.

Thanksgiving is early this year.  Here is a Rosé Sangria with Cranberries and Apples to go with your feast.  It requires several ingredients and over-night chilling but the difficulty level is not high.  It would be beautiful in the family crystal!  Source: Food and Wine. 

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, diced
  • One 750-milliliter bottle rosé
  • 1/3 cup ruby port
  • 1/3 cup Cointreau
  • 1/3 cup cranberry juice
  • Ice cubes, for serving
In a saucepan, mix the water, sugar, crushed red pepper, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and star anise. Simmer the syrup over moderately low heat for 15 minutes. Strain into a bowl and add the cranberries and apples. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Strain the fruit, reserving the spiced syrup. In a large pitcher, mix the rosé with the port, Cointreau, cranberry juice, fruit and 3/4 cup of the spiced syrup. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. Serve over ice.

Make Ahead: The sangria can be refrigerated for up to 6 hours

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Featured: Fulton's Harverst Pumpkin Pie Cream Liquer

The lush, creamy all-natural liqueur is the first-ever pumpkin pie cream liqueur and is immediately reminiscent of homemade pumpkin pie complete with the flavors rich vanilla, brown sugar and spices. It is best served chilled or on ice, as well as in coffee and in a variety of cream-based cocktails.
Seasonally available at Madison Cellars.

“Pumpkin and Spice and Everything Nice”