If you’re serious about drinking wine, you’ll soon start needing some basic equipment to accompany your wine collection.
Today, we’ll be exploring the importance of a wine decanter in your arsenal. We’ll also be highlighting a dozen of the leading models then showing you how to use a wine decanter and how to keep it clean.
Do you really need a wine decanter, though?
In a word, yes.
Buying bottles of wine and storing them in the fridge is not a recipe for success.
Instead, you should store them horizontally in a wine cooler. This will allow you to store both red and white wine over the short-term or long-term.
Once it’s time to serve your wine, there’s one final step before whipping out your corkscrew…
You should decant most red wine and some closed white wines before serving to bring out the very most flavor and aroma. Decanting can also help you to avoid sediment ending up in your glass if you drink aged reds. Try pouring these mature wines straight into your glass and you’re quite likely to spoil your drink with a mouthful of silt.
So, today we’ll highlight the best wine decanters up for grabs, all coming in at a reasonable price-point.
Also, given the complexity of storing and serving wine, we’ll break down what you need to do into plain English so you can decant like a pro.
Before our reviews, a little more detail on why you should consider decanting your wine if you don’t already, and why you might not need to…
I. What Is The Purpose of a Wine Decanter?
When you introduce wine to oxygen, this starts a process called oxidation. This serves to soften up some of the tannins that can otherwise overpower a wine.
Also, if you sometimes detect an unpleasant blast of sulfur when you’re pouring wine, that’s due to the sulfites. These can be attenuated by decanting your wine and allowing to sit for a half-hour.
There are 3 primary instances when you should decant wine:
- If you want to bring your red wine up to serving temperature when it’s been stored in a wine cooler
- If you want to break down the tannic structure of a younger red wine
- If you drink older red wines and you want to minimize the likelihood of sediment ending up in your glass
You will not need to decant most white wines at all.
With red wines, you should decant them for anywhere from 30 minutes to over 3 hours. Check out our detailed guide to using a wine decanter for specifics of how long to decant red wine by type.
With that basic overview in place, we’ll push on with our wine decanter reviews.
II. The 12 Best Wine Decanters
1. Our #1 Pick:Le Chateau Wine Decanter
Our overall favorite wine decanter is this eye-catching gem from Le Chateau. The hand-blow creation is delicately scalloped and swirled. Is it a case of form over function, though?
Absolutely not. This decanter is expressly designed to ensure you can pour a 750ml bottle of wine optimally. You’ll end up enhancing the flavor and aroma of your wine by decanting it. These effects are further magnified thanks to the intelligent design of this decanter.
When it comes to pouring your wine, you’ll benefit from a slanted spout so you can serve up without any spillage.
The crystal doesn’t just look great, but it’s completely lead-free, too. Drink with a clear conscience and ensure your wine is at its very best.
Measuring 8.5 inches across the base, you won’t find a decanter that exposes more surface area of your wine.
If you’re looking for a decanter that makes a conversation piece while giving you your wine at its finest, look no further than Le Chateau.
2. Rabbit Super-Aerating Decanting System
Now, the Rabbit Super-Aerating Decanting System isn’t cheap, but you get a powerful method of decanting your wine from a highly reputable brand. If you’re not shopping based purely on the bottom line, what do you get for your money?
The aerating system in place breaks the wine down into tiny droplets. These are hosed down the sides of the decanter so the very most flavor and aroma is extracted.
It’s the funnel that helps to separate the wine into the tiniest particles then the ultra-fine screen filters out any unwanted sediment. The result is that bad wine will taste better, and good wine should taste great. Until you’ve tried aerating your wine like this, you won’t realize how much extra taste and aroma you’ll get from your precious investment.
Aside from the need to handwash the decanter and the fact it’s not exactly throwaway cheap, there’s not much else we can knock about this first-class wine aerator.
3. Riedel Cabernet Decanter
Next up in our quest for the best wine decanter is an elegant and thin-walled crystal decanter from specialists Riedel.
If you’re looking for a rugged decanter, this is not the right choice for you. If, on the other hand, you’re prepared to handle your decanter with care, and your primary focus is on appearance, you won’t be disappointed.
Whether you want to refresh a cheaper wine so it tastes a little peppier, or you’re drinking older reds and you don’t fancy a mouthful of sediment, you’ll benefit strongly from taking the time to decant your wine before serving.
With such thin walls, you’ll find your wine is displayed in its full glory so your guests can take a quick glance at the incoming treat as it breathes.
As long as you don’t mind handwashing your Riedel, you should get many years of faithful service from this striking and beautifully-engineered wine decanter.
4. Simplified by Jess Wine Decanter
If you’re hunting for a cheap wine decanter that won’t fall apart as soon as you use it, check out this Jess Wine Simplified model fashioned from premium crystal.
We’ll kick off with a complaint: several dissatisfied users claim they found it hard to pour from this decanter without spillage. If you’re prone to accidents when you’re dealing with liquids, you might want to consider a more user-friendly model. If you don’t mind a fiddly pour, read on…
Despite the thin walls designed to show off your wine in all its glory, the crystal glass is reasonably durable as long as you handle it with care.
The main selling point of this decanter is the generous capacity. You can accommodate almost two bottles of regular wine giving you plenty of latitude if you have guests over for dinner.
For an affordable, elegant, and spacious wine decanter from a brand you can trust, look no further.
5. Bella Vino Wine Decanter
If you want a fine and delicate lead crystal decanter without spending a fortune, Bella Vino provides a solid solution.
Most wine decanters, as you’ll see from this, have very little to differentiate themselves. They all perform the same basic role of putting your wine into contact with more air than usual so you get the very best taste. The main draw with the Bella Vino is the neatly designed spout so you won’t end up with any of your precious wine cascading over the kitchen counter.
The immediate bonus with the Bella Vino is the fact you can choose from a 1200ml or 1800ml decanter depending on how much wine you decant. We prefer the larger carafe as it gives you a great deal more latitude. Whether you’re drinking from larger wine bottles, or you want to decant more than one bottle, the beefy model makes sense.
With a neck that’s nice and easy to grip, and a top specifically designed to streamline pouring, you’re in safe hands with Bella Vino.
6. WBSEos Wine Decanter
Our overall favorite in terms of design, the WBSEos might have a clumsy name, but the elegant decanter looks more like a work of art than a functional appliance to enhance your wine.
Now, as with all wine decanters, you’ll need to use this with care. The nature of these fragile pieces of glass crystal means they won’t stand up to much rough and tumble. Even by the standards of decanters, this model is quiet dainty so take extra care.
Most wine decanters offer you the same very basic functionality. Since there is so little to distinguish decanters, this is a buying decision that’s frequently made based on appearance. IN this area, the WBSEos is unbeatable.
Size-wise, you’ll upend a couple of standard wine bottles into this decanter without any trouble.
If you’re hunting for a cheap yet effective wine decanter to make your life easier and your wine taste better, give the WBSEos a shot.
7. Godinger Dublin Wine Decanter
Not everyone is looking for the cheapest wine decanter. Godinger is a household name in this vertical. The deep bench of Dublin products is perfectly designed to coordinate with this smooth wine decanter. What do you get for your money, then?
Well, firstly, if you act quickly you could benefit from an aggressive discount on this decanter. There’s never been a better time to buy.
Made from premium 24% lead crystal, you’ll get a great deal of heft and weight. This decanter weighs over 3 pounds. The design also means the light catches the carvings and you’ll get a brilliant effect further magnified when you have a bottle of red swilling around inside.
You should wash this decanter by hand for best results. If you’re not sure how to go about this the right way, we’ll outline how to clean a wine decanter when we’re done with our reviews.
So, if you have deep pockets and discerning tastes, this wine decanter from Godinger is a must.
8. Iceberg Wine Decanter
Do you have a fluid budget and exacting tastes? If so, you’re in for a treat with the Iceberg wine decanter. What makes this model stand out in a glutted pack of very similar products?
Firstly, this aerator is impeccably hand-crafted so it makes a neat addition to your dining table. The bottom is rippled and scalloped with the iceberg it’s named for refracting colors. This allows even more air to get to your wine as it gets ready for serving as well as giving your guest a talking point.
Despite all this elegance, you can rest assured there’s no lead used in this decanter.
With a generous surface area of wine exposed, once you start decanting your drinks into the Iceberg, you’ll wonder why you didn’t invest in one of these wine decanters years ago.
As with all the decanters at the pricier end of the market, we would suggest comparing it to how much you spend on wine. You should also consider a decanter as an investment rather than an expense. If you can afford it, you won’t regret shelling out on the Iceberg.
9. Vintorio Citadel Wine Decanter
Vintorio understands that when you’re buying a wine decanter, you’re buying more than a functional appliance to expose your wine to more air. You’re also looking for something that looks attractive on the dining table or the cabinet. This is something that’s executed perfectly. The light and wine will both catch the crystal to superb effect.
In terms of capacity, you’ll easily accommodate a standard 750ml wine bottle. If you frequently drink more than this, you might consider a larger decanter.
Overall construction is lead-free crystal. The stopper is silicone. Despite such eye-catching design, this decanter is surprisingly durable. As with glassware, you need to handle it with care. Do this, and you should be rewarded with years of faithful service.
If forced to find fault with the Vintorio, we’d suggest that the stopper could fit a little more neatly. The sizing seems slightly off. This aside, you’ll be getting a stellar wine decanter from a highly reputable brand, so what are you waiting for?
10. Riedel Ultra Decanter
Riedel make some outstanding glassware and this ultra decanter continues that winning tradition.
The overall aesthetic of this decanter is lean and the sweeping lines look almost fragile. The fine crystal is reasonably rugged, though. As with all decanters, it goes unsaid you’ll need to handle it with care, though.
Once your wine is poured into this spacious decanter, it will have ample opportunity to breathe fully so you can serve it at its very best.
You can pop this decanter in a dishwasher. With all decanters, though, you are far better off handwashing. You’ll need minimum effort and you don’t need to risk your precious new investment in a harsh dishwasher.
If you don’t mind spending out and you want a fine crystal decanter capable of returning years of faithful service, roll with the Riedel.
11. YouYah Wine Decanter
As we edge to the end of our wine decanter reviews, we have a hard-hitting model from YouYah that comes with a drying stand, cleaning beads, and brush bundled.
As with most of the wine decanters we review today, this model comes nicely packaged so it’s ready to gift to the wine lover in your life.
The hand-blown crystal not only looks the part, but it’s entirely lead-free, too.
To get the most out of any wine decanter, you need to clean it regularly. Doing so after every use will keep most stains at bay. To make things easier, you get a cleaning brush along with some cleaning beads so you have no excuse for a decanter stained red.
In terms of design, this decanter stick close to the classic form. You’ll end up with a timeless classic that’s expressly designed to aerate your wine as effectively as possible.
While this is certainly not throwaway cheap, if you compare the cost to a bottle or two of wine, it suddenly doesn’t seem quite so expensive.
12. Le Sens Lead-Free Wine Decanter
Last but certainly not least in our quest for the best wine decanter, we’ve got a balanced gem from Le Sens. You get the perfect mixture of delicacy and durability. While the decanter can be used on hard surfaces without overt danger of chipping, it still looks delicate.
The design is noteworthy even by the usually intricate standards of decanters. You’ll benefit from 100% lead-free crystal glass removing any concerns about toxins.
You’ll accommodate a single 750ml bottle of wine, but you’ll struggle to fit much more into this small carafe.
Packed up in a gift box, this decanter would make a wonderful birthday or Christmas present for the wine lover in your life. Chances are, though, you’ll take a liking to this decanter and end up keeping it for yourself!
OK, with our reviews put to bed, you should now have a solid idea of the variety of wine decanters on offer.
How do you go about using these things if you’ve never experimented with decanting before?
The good news is that using a decanter couldn’t be much easier and we’ll show you how right now.
III. How To Use a Wine Decanter
For regular wine decanting, you should not place a priority on speed. On the contrary, you should take your time. Rushing is not the route to bringing out the best in your wine.
Once uncorked, choose how to decant. Either rest the decanter on a level surface and pour, or hold the decanter as you pour. You should experiment with both methods until you feel more comfortable with one.
As you pour, take it very slowly. You’re looking to keep as much of the color and flavor intact as you pour. Splashing the wine around the glass runs counter to this. Also, if you pour using a slow and controlled motion, you’ll have far more chance of isolating any sediment.
You then leave the wine to breathe as you carry on with your dinner conversation. Anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours will suffice depending on the type of red wine.
Now, there’s also a different method of decanting wine called shock decanting. What is this and when should you consider it?
What Is Shock Decanting?
Shock decanting is simple but highly effective with young red wines that are packed with tannins and aged for 2 years or less.
You tip up the bottle vertically and pour it into your decanter using the force of gravity. You have the same choice of methods as when decanting the regular way. Pour while holding the decanter, or pour into a decanter set on the counter.
When you shock decant, the wine hits the bottom of the carafe at speed. As it splashes off and starts sluicing around, so the wine is aerated with great efficiency.
You should avoid shock decanting with older wines. Far too much sediment will disturbed so stick to the regular method with older red wines.
So far, so good.
What happens when the last glass is finished, and your guests have gone, though? Luckily, cleaning a wine decanter isn’t too much trouble.
IV. How To Clean a Wine Decanter
Now, most manufacturers of wine decanters will point out that these carafes are technically dishwasher-safe. That might be true, but you’re always better advised to wash a delicate piece of glass or crystal like this by hand.
Fortunately, it really won’t take too much time or trouble.
Once you’re done drinking, start by allowing your decanter to soak in some warm water. If you clean up after each use, stains will have no time to develop and you’ll never need to put in too much effort. Skip cleaning, though, and you’ll only end up needing to scrub away at those unattractive red stains.
You can then proceed to wash the decanter with some warm water. In most cases, this should be adequate to see off all but the most stubborn of stains. How can you deal with these, though?
There are stainless steel cleaning beads available that work commendably for scouring stains from wine decanters. Tip these tiny beads inside your carafe and they’ll scrape away any lingering marks without hurting the crystal.
To reiterate, even if the instructions claim a decanter is dishwasher-friendly, you would be far better off using the above quick and easy cleaning method.
To round out, we’ve curated a list of answers to the most frequently asked questions about wine decanters.
1) How can I decant wine without a decanter?
You have several options if you need to let your wine breathe but you don’t have access to a wine decanter. A food blender works well for young red wines. Just pour in the bottle and blitz it for 30 seconds. You could make an effort at decanting by aggressively swilling your wine around inside a larger glass. Also, a wine aerator is a highly efficient alternative to a wine decanter.
2) How can I let wine breathe without a decanter?
Since the primary goal of decanting your wine is to expose it to oxygen, you can achieve this to some extent using crude methods. Pouring wine from one pitcher to another is a makeshift alternative.
3) How long can you keep wine in a decanter?
Most red wine needs 30 minutes or so to breathe in the decanter. Some reds need up to 3 hours. For a full breakdown on timings, go here.
4) Do I need to decant white wine?
As a rule, no. Indeed, if you have an especially delicate white wine, decanting it could be detrimental to its flavor and aroma. Some white wines produced in cooler climates give off a musty smell. These wines respond well to decanting.
5) Does decanting wine filter out the sediment?
No. Instead, you’ll be able to easily identify this sediment as you’re pouring from a decanter ensuring you get a silt-free drink with all those delicate flavors and aromas at their peak.
6) What wine needs longest to breathe?
A Madeira or vintage port needs to breathe for at least 2 hours but you can leave these wines decanting for days in some cases. Madeira typically needs to breathe for an hour for each decade of age. If Madeira has been bottled for some considerable time, you could be looking at leaving in the decanter for a few weeks if you want to appreciate the drink at its finest.
7) Do all wines need decanting every time?
No, they don’t. Most white wines are good to serve straight from the wine cooler. With many of these wines, you could even impair them by decanting. With red wines, though, the vast majority will taste noticeably better if you give them at least 30 minutes to breathe after properly decanting them.
8) What does it mean if you are correcting reduced white wine?
Have you ever noticed a smell like rotten eggs when you’re opening some bottles of white? This is due to the sulfites it contains. By decanting white wine with this vestigial odor for as little as 15 minutes, you’ll be correcting reduced white wine even if you didn’t know it!
9) How do I know if a wine needs decanting?
By tasting it. With wine drinking, you should always consider guidelines and best practice, but you should always personalize it. All that counts, after all, is that you drink your wine the way you like it. So, if you’ve never decanted your wine and it tastes OK, give it a try and compare the two methods. We’re pretty confident you’ll have to admit that aerating reds for 30 minutes or more is time very well spent.
10) How can a fix a closed red wine?
If you notice your red wine is dulled in terms of flavor and aroma, one quick fix is to try double decanting. Simply decant as normal then pour the wine back into the bottle. Sometimes, decanting for a second time can help top open up a closed wine.
11) What is the purpose of holding a lighter or match up to the bottle as you are pouring?
This traditional technique is used to help you more easily identify the sediment when pouring. A common misconception is that decanting wine literally filters out any sediment. This is not the case. Instead, if you slowly pour the wine from the decanter, you’ll be perfectly placed to spot any large debris floating so it doesn’t end up floating in your glass.
12) What can I do if I am still finding sediment in my wine glass?
If, despite your best efforts at decanting your wine, you still find sediment in your glass, you could give some simple stainless steel filters a try. These work in the same way as the filters in a French press for coffee. By stopping the larger particles from entering your glass, you can kick back after dinner confident you won’t end up spitting out a mouthful of unpleasant wine sediment. These are readily available in stores and online.
We trust that by now you have a fully rounded understanding of why you should use a wine decanter, how to use one like a sommelier, and the type of decanters you can find within your budget.
You should think about the size of the decanters you’re looking at and ask yourself whether this will be enough for your needs. If you frequently drink bottles larger than 750ml, or you often serve multiple bottles simultaneously, you should look for a correspondingly spacious decanter.
The primary basis of your buying decision with a decanter is likely to concern the design. Make sure you’re happy with something that’s more like an ornament than a functional appliance. Take your time and there’s no reason buying a wine decanter needs to be a headache. And, once you have one in your collection, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start decanting your wine sooner.
Before you head off, don’t forget to bookmark Bricco Wine Bar. Consider us your one-stop shop when you want the complexities of wine explained in plain English. We have plenty up our sleeves for the rest of the summer, so pop back soon.