by Amy Azzarito

I may not know as much about wine as I would like. In fact, I usually prefer to pass the wine list to someone else. (I’ve been trying to rectify my wine-list phobia with Drink This: Wine Made Simple.) But there’s one thing I know for sure: When at home, always decant the red wine. I’ve been experimenting a lot this winter with decanting. It’s amazing how aerating (aka, letting the wine breathe) can improve even the cheapest wine. Those inexpensive Trader Joe’s wines taste much better with a little breathing time because their tannins soften and the wines become less harsh. You don’t actually need a fancy decanter; you can get the same effect by pouring the wine into any glass container or even in wine glasses. I aim for about one hour of breathing time. (You can read more specifics on decanting wine here.) My favorite decanters are those with stoppers — perfect if you only end up drinking half the bottle. Cheers! — Amy Azzarito

1. Menu Wine Decanter, $80; 2. Decanters, $48–58; 3. Visual Wine Decanter, $49.99; 4. Ravenscroft Crystal Omega Carafe, $53.99; 5. Letter Wine Carafe, $48; 6. Riedel Black Tie Bliss Wine Decanter, $166.95; 7. Glass Bottles with Wood Stoppers, $29–$39

Image above: Monja Decanter, $120

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  • Just FYI — I took a wine class a couple years ago from an amazing sommelier in Seattle, and she says that the absolute *best* decanter (if you’re going to spend the money at all) is one with a nice WIDE base (like #7, only even more so), as opposed to the others, which are beautiful but slightly less effective. It’s a matter of spreading out the wine so as much of it touches air as possible. This will allow the wine to aerate quicker than putting it in a tall and thin decanter.

    Of course, any will work if you let it sit long enough — including just opening the bottle and leaving it for a bit!

    Oh, and while a lot of people might scoff at the use of fancy “wine toys”, I am a total Vinturi (http://vinturi.com/) convert! I did a few tastings with a bottle of wine that is poured and drank immediately after opening, and the same wine alongside it having been poured through the Vinturi aerater… The difference is astounding! The experience sent me to the store immediately; I bought one that week!

  • I am addicted to decanter! I have a ton on my bar and spec them for most clients. I get most of them from antique stores and flea markets, but this is a wonderful collection of new ones.



  • Shameless promotion time…Cher’s right. There’s tons of old decanters out there and at LQA Aesthetic we collect and repurpose the best ones, as well as other barware, for much less $.

    Cause if you can’t enjoy a cocktail while being green, what is this all for?

  • Wine doesn’t usually sit around long enough in my house to need a decanter …

    But I do love their elegance. I picked up three beautiful antique cut-glass ones at a fleamarket a few years ago for next to nothing. I use them in my bathroom to store bubble bath – the light from the window streams through the different shades of greens & blues & they look really beautiful.

    Also, unstoppering & pouring bubble bath into the water from a cut-glass bottle feels so much more luxurious …!

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