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Wine Tools

October 6, 2015


When choosing a type of corkscrew, I suggest a Sommelier knife, also known as a wine key, preferably one with a hinge. It’s small and portable, just throw it in your picnic basket, and you’re set. It has everything you need – a knife to cut the foil, the arm to create leverage, and the corkscrew. It’s quick and displays the wine with finesse.

To remove the foil, open the knife on the corkscrew, place it firmly against the bottom rim of the opening shown in the picture below. While applying pressure, spin the bottle with your left hand, cut all the way around twice to ensure the entire foil is cut. Then, cut up the side of the foil, and peel the foil away.

Use the hinge to help you gain leverage to remove the cork.

Wine Glass Cleaning
When it comes to cleaning glasses, the best way is to use a microfiber cloth. Once you’ve washed the wine glass, dry the glass immediately before water spots can develop. The opening is small, but make sure to get the microfiber cloth all the way inside, and turn the glass while drying. Hold the glass up to the light to make sure it has been shined to perfection.

“To Decant or Not to Decant”
When asked at a restaurant if you would like the wine decanted, don’t panic. Say yes! It simply means to pour a liquid from one container to another gently, so as not to disturb the sediment. Decanting a young or older wine generally improves the overall tasting experience.

  • Traditionally decanting was used to remove sediment; caused by grape matter left after the fermentation process or crystallized granules called tartrates that developed during bottle aging. Sediment is harmless but can affect the texture and flavor of the wine and should be removed.
  • Modern wines are often fined or filtered (a process used to remove sediment) before bottling and are often drank long before they can develop tartrates
  • Today decanting is commonly used to allow the wine to breathe and come to life. By introducing oxygen, aromas and flavor gain depth and complexity. Decanting also helps to soften tannins and remove the “bite” often found in young wines.

Deciding which wines in your personal library to decant and how long to wait after decanting can be a difficult decision.

  • Generally, white wine is not decanted because it allows the fragrant aromas to dissipate. The exception is when a white wine has developed a pungent aroma you could do without.
  • If it’s a young red wine, go for it! Young reds can be decanted and served within 30 minutes. If the wine lacks character, you can wait longer, 2 – 3 hours depending on the varietal. Feel free to periodically taste the wine to see the effect of decanting before serving.
  • If a red wine is 10 years or older, tartrates have most likely developed in the bottle and it’s best to decant. Timing is everything with the older wines. Depending on the age and varietal, it’s often best to decant and serve right away. If you decant an older wine too early, the oxygen can cause the wine to go flat or even destroy it before dinner is served.

How to Decant

  • Decanting a young wine is very simple, just pour it into the decanter and wait 30 minutes or more before serving. Allowing the wine to relax.
  • The easiest way to decant an older wine is to select it a few days in advance. Remove it from the wine rack, and stand it upright on the counter, allowing the sediment to settle to the bottom over a few days.
  • If you select an older wine only a few hours before decanting, the technique can be tricky, requiring the bottle to be opened on its side. You’ll need a few things in order to complete the process.
  • Flashlight or candle
  • Wine cradle
  • Cheesecloth
  1. Start by slowly removing the wine from the rack, do not tilt the bottle; it will cause the sediment to mix into the wine.
  2. Set the bottle in the wine cradle at a 20-degree angle (bottleneck facing upwards).
  3. Gently remove entire foil to reveal the bottleneck and clean the neck of the bottle.
  4. With a steady hand, remove the cork while the bottle is still on its side.
  5. Then place the light source under the neck and gently tilt the bottle, allowing the wine to slowly pour into the decanter.
  6. Keep a watchful eye on the neck, looking for sediment. When it reaches the neck of the bottle, immediately stop pouring.
  7. Running the remaining wine through cheesecloth to remove the sediment is a great way to enjoy the wine left in the bottle. Do not mix the last of the wine into the decanter, as the taste may vary.