When you serve wine in a decanter or carafe rather than directly from the bottle of wine, you can completely appreciate its full potential, but why? The wine can oxygenate and aerate, allowing the wine to breathe after being sealed in a bottle for so long. A wine decanter has a reputation for being a formal and refined means of serving wine. However, this isn’t always the case.
Wine decanters and carafes of various forms and sizes are produced by renowned glass manufacturers such as Eisch Glas, Riedel, and Schott Zwiesel. Serving wine from a decanter doesn’t have to be expensive; it’s a technique that anybody can undertake. “What’s the difference between a wine decanter and a carafe?” you might wonder.
What is a Wine Decanter?
A wine decanter’s primary purpose is to preserve and serve wine while also allowing the wine to breathe. The oxygenation process requires a sufficient amount of surface area exposed to the air. Wine can oxidise when left out in the air for a short time. It helps to soften the flavours and bring out the aromas. Most red and white wines taste better after being in the air for at least thirty minutes. Decanters have an essential part in the usage of wine, especially red wine.
In red wines, sediment and shattered cork are frequently seen (typically in older vintages). Pouring the wine into a decanter can help remove any undesirable residue by filtering and eliminating it. It will also eliminate any lingering bitter flavours and aromas that come with aged wines.
Wine decanters traditionally feature a flat base with a broad bowl (up to 30cm). A decanter with a wide base creates stability and allows one to view the type of wine. The neck is typically tapered inwards to about 30cm in length. Decanters can come with stoppers to keep the contents sealed until they’re ready to drink. It also slows down the rate at which wines decay when exposed to air.
What is a Wine Carafe?
Traditionally, a carafe was merely a container for water, wine, fruit juice, or alcoholic beverages. Carafes are now more commonly used to serve water and juices. The shape of the container has no bearing on its properties or the flavour of the liquid it holds. These are usually more “showy” and beautiful objects for the table setting to make it look more classy.
Using a carafe is more of an “everyday” occurrence than using a decanter for a more formal occasion. Carafes features a long body and a narrow base, which allows them to hold vast amounts of liquid. As a result, they take up less space at the dinner table. White or rose wine is most commonly served in a carafe. These wines do not need to be ‘opened up’ as much when opposed to Red Wine.
Decanter Shapes in the Modern Era
In recent years, there have been significant changes in the way decanters are designed and manufactured by various manufacturers. Riedel, a world-renowned Austrian glass company, has designed eye-catching wine decanters. These gorgeous decanters and table centrepieces are functional and put on a show when utilised.
To summarise, tradition, shape, and style distinguish these two serving bowls. Wine is served in a Decanter rather than a carafe, which benefits other liquids. In contrast to decanters, which are generally bowl-shaped with a tapered neck, the body of a carafe is long and straight.
Clean a wine Decanter or Carafe
- Rinse your decanter to remove any wine that may still be in it.
- After you use your wine container, fill it with warm water. Let it soak until you are ready to clean. The water will soften any spots or marks. Please remember that (soft or hard) water can change the quality of your glasses and leave white marks.
- Rinse with water that isn’t too hot or too cold. Never use boiling water.
- We suggest using restaurant crystal clean glass cleaner. Bars and restaurants all over the world use it.
- Use decanter cleaning balls to get rid of hard-to-remove sediment. Put the balls in the decanter with some water and swirl it around to try to hit the sediment and get it to move.
- Use a decanter cleaning brush if possible, as it will reach the bottom and all other parts of the decanter. This will only work if the top of the bottle is wide.
- Turn your pitcher upside down to dry it. We recommend using a decanter drying stand, of which we have a wide range. Pour the liquid from your decanter onto a linen cloth.
- We suggest you polish your wine container over boiling water with steam to make it shine even more.
- Tip: Mix a small bit of white vinegar with lukewarm water to remove tough wine or water stains. We recommend a small amount of ethanol for stubborn spots.
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