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For which is it most important to decant (aerate)... Young wine that needs more oxygen or older wines that have been sitting still for a long time? Thanks, Matt
Answer From Expert Roger Bohmrich MW

I have answered a number of questions about decanting on the LWE Q&A forum, which you'll find by scrolling through the pages. Let me share some of my comments here.
There are fewer reliable rules about decanting than you might think. In the end, the individual wine will determine if airing will be beneficial. That means, of course, that it is very helpful to know and have tasted the specific wine in question. This often isn't practical or possible for most wine drinkers. As I've written previously, I prefer to err on the side of too little rather than too much aeration. A series of controlled taste tests with experienced tasters organized by Decanter Magazine showed that, even with powerful, classic reds, there was no benefit from "very long aeration."
If the wine has aged for a period of time and accumulated sediment, carefully pouring off the liquid, after the bottle has been upright overnight, will be a very good idea. Very old wines, on the other hand, have to be treated gently and not decanted too far in advance.
Bear in mind that all wines will be exposed to air when they are poured in a glass. Allowing the first pour to sit for ten minutes, and then swirling the glass, will serve to "release" the aroma. Often, watching how a wine changes in the glass can be part of the fascination and pleasure. You can always accelerate the process by decanting if you wish, even with more basic wines, which somehow seem to taste better when poured from an elegant decanter. If you do, transferring the wine from bottle to carafe should be done just before serving. Please do look back at earlier answers to find out more.

About Our Expert

Roger has enjoyed a lengthy career in the wine trade as an importer and retailer, and at present he is an educator, speaker and consultant. He set up and managed Millesima USA, a New York merchant affiliated with a leading European company. Previously, he served as senior executive of importers Frederick Wildman & Sons. In recent years, Roger has judged wine competitions in Argentina, Turkey, Portugal, China and the U.S. Roger is one of America's first Masters of Wine.

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