It wasn’t until I really started learning about wines that I realized there are so many accessories to deal with. You have a glass for reds, a different glass for whites, decanters, carafes, wine charms, chillers, and the list goes on and on…
Most of the time I don’t mind what I’m drinking from, but when I’m entertaining I figure drinking directly from the bottle isn’t the most appropriate! I decided to do some shopping and see what types of accoutrements I would absolutely need to entertain in style. I got the most tripped-up with carafes and decanters. Here is what I learned:
Decanters are used for two purposes. One is to separate the sediment from the drinking wine. Second, it is used to aerate the wine, allowing oxygen to approach the surface of the fluid to release different aspects of it. Most of the time, they come with a stopper in order to control the amount of oxygen that goes in. They should have a wide body to them so that air can reach the most amount of surface area.
There are two major differences between a decanter and carafe, First, there is no stopper. Second, the body doesn’t need to be as wide. Because of their lack of uniform shape, carafes can be used for more than just wine (juice, ice-water, mimosas, etc.).
Two other handy tips I learned in my research:
- Make sure you buy a vessel that doesn’t contain lead. Because wine and juice are highly acidic, if the fluid is in there for too long it could absorb the lead and become a hazard.
- Strong red wines should aerate well before being served, but whites do not need to be. So, if you’re in a rush serve whites first and let the red do some breathing!