Decanting wines

A question came up on decanting wines on a message board I frequent. I realized though we have a decanter I really do not know when or how to decant.
 
Lisa Shea gives a comprehensive description on:
http://www.wineintro.com/basics/decanting.html
 
MSN has a good article:
 
The following are two shorter notes that are helpful:
 
 
When to Decant
Deciding When to Decant a wine is really quite easy. Even though there are no absolute rules to tell you which wines to decant, here are three guidlines that should serve you well.
 
1 ) If the wine is old enough that you suspect it may have thrown sediment (5 years old or more, generally) then you will want to decant. The purpose of decanting in this situation is clearly to keep sediment from being poured into the glasses.
 
2 ) If you have a big, young red wine that is very closed or very tannic because of its youth, you should decant it. In this case, you are decanting to allow the wine to breath and soften. This exposure to oxygen will cause the young wine to open up (be more aromatic and flavorful) and will soften the effect of the tannins on your palate.
 
3 ) When you want to make the situation special, decant. Decanting can be a great way to add to the ‘theater’ of fine dining.
 
Wines that would not generally be decanted would include most ‘everyday wines’ and most white wines.
 
Reference – WinecountryGetaways.com
Why Decant Wine | How to Decant Wine
Three Reasons for Decanting Wine
 
Old wines that have been cellared properly will contain sediment due to the aging process. By properly decanting the wine, the sediment will remain in the bottle.
 
Young full-bodied red wines can benefit from decanting. When the wine comes in contact with oxygen, the aromas present in the wine are released. The decanter in this case should be a wide bottomed decanter. Wide body decanters provide more surface area for oxygen to allow aromas from the wine to be released.
 
The presentation of wine in a beautiful crystal decanter adds to the ambience of a beautifully set table and prepared dinner.
 
How to Decant Aged Wine
 
For old wines with sediment one needs to be very diligent about pouring the wine into a decanter. First, stand the bottle up for several hours to allow the sediment to settle at the bottom. Fine sediment will take longer to settle to the bottom of the bottle.
 
Use a lit candle or lamp. Hold the bottle of wine so that the area just below the neck of the wine bottle can be seen through the light while pouring. Ever so slowly begin pouring the aged wine into the decanter. Be patient. Hold the bottle as much as possible perpendicular to the candle. As the last one-third of the wine is poured, carefully watch for sediment. Stop pouring when any sediment appears in the neck of the bottle.
 
How to Decant Young Red Wine
 
For young red wines, splash the wine into the decanter. The more it splashes into the decanter, the more it comes in contact with oxygen. Let the wine settle and rest for a short time.
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