How often do you decant white wines?

I sometimes decant a Champagne (even have a dedicated Target Riedel decanter for it) - never have decanted any other “white” wine.

You, and to any success? I dont know why I dont do it more often.

I decant a lot of white Bordeaux, especially ones with age and magnitude. I decant certain white Burgs too.

Same here. I have done it for young Chardonnay based wines occasionally. If I could afford to drink vintage Champagne more often then I would be decanting more often as well.

I’m confused as to why anyone would decant a champagne. [scratch.gif]

About the only white I’d think about decanting is a young Sauternes.

I decant whites once in a while when, after smelling/tasting it initially, I feel there is need to. These are mainly whites from the Côte d’Or (Chassagne, Puligny, etc.) or Chablis. I don’t recall ever having decanted one from Alsace, Rhône, Loire, Germany or elsewhere.

Come to think of it, I don’t drink much white Bdx. I do when I’m there (when in Rome and all), but not much at all elsewhere.

About three years ago I went to dinner at Pied a Terre in London (which is tremendous, btw). We ordered a bottle of Prieur de St Jean de Bebian blanc, can’t remember the vintage, which the sommelier positively bombed into a decanter.

When I asked him about it, he told me he decanted a lot of white wines served at the restaurant. We didn’t get into details (my wife was already nodding off) but the gist was he felt that many white wines, especially young ones, benefit from a splash decant before serving to get them going. Interesting theory.


I recently decanted a Kistler 2006 Dutton Vineyard. Had one and I thought it showed too much steel and flint. A few weeks later, when I went to open my second bottle (as you know Kistler wines seem to travel in pairs or threesomes), the wine was quite cold and so, to bring up the temperature a bit, I decanted the wine. What a difference. The nose was fantastic and the wine developed a well-rounded personality. I plan to try it again.

It will be easier to list white wines I don’t decant:

Cheap Bubbles
Cheap Portuguese and Spanish whites

Anyone who brings over White Zin gets their bottle decanted:

into the kitchen sink.

I’m starting to feel that the answer is not as often as I should. I had a bottle last night that I’m sure would have been better if I had, it got much better with time and air.

All the time–for the same reason I decant red wine.

Unless circumstances prevent it, I either slow-ox, double decant or simply decant just about every wine I open, with the exception of Champagne, but I do not drink a lot of Champagne. Sure, there are a lot of times when you pop and pour because of last minute decisions, but I can’t remember more than once or twice when I’ve said “Wow an hour of air hurt this” vs. the countless times I’ve wished I had given wines more air.

Question on Champagne – has anyone tried opening, gently pouring a 1/2 glass and refrigerating the remainder of the bottle, open, for an hour or so to breathe? I imagine the effervescence on a young Champagne wouldn’t suffer terribly.

Josh, I’m with you on Champagne - I’ve found it most often gets better when it has some air - an hour or so - AND gets closer to room temperature or cellar temperature (instead of ‘cooler’ or refrigerator temperature), depending on the wine, of course.

I do decant some white burgs - batard, chevy, montra… and some sauternes and SGNs.

Not exactly, but since we almost always start dinners out with some champagne (just a glass each to whet our appetites) a little less than half the bottle gets left in the bucket. I figure the more air in the bottle makes it act like a decanter.

I recall during a dinner at a Cantonese restaurant many years ago, we had already moved on to the whites proper and, after around 45 minutes, I re-tried the champagne (a '93 Pol Roger) and it had opened up beautifully.

I’ve definitely experienced this many times, but I haven’t ever thought to purposefully open a Champagne an hour ahead of serving. It definitely seems to make sense.

I almost never decant whites. But I frequently leave inexpensive whites open for two or three days and they frequently improve over that time. Dom. de Pouy 08 this weekend was a great example of that type of improvement.

I’m a fan of opening most sparklers early - a couple of hours.

For those that decant bubblies, can you share details? What type of decanter? I never seem to be able to decant gently enough to not damage the effervescence. If you decant, do you expect to have less bead afterwards - more of a frizzante experience than spumante?

Never decant whites - and I will concede that is the wrong answer, especially with some of the Austrian whites I drink.

Same reason I’d decant a red wine that’s tight, to see if air can coax it to open up. The effervescence is meaningless to me - in fact, I think most well-made Champagne shows best around 65 degrees and I personally derive more enjoyment when the bubbles have simmered down.

I still don’t get it. The bubbles are CO2 which is heavier than air. For the most part it’ll simply push any air out of the decanter; all you’ll get is flat champagne. If your goal is to let the air at it then you’re better off drinking from a coupe or a margarita glass.

Oh well, each to his own.

A growing practice is using white wine glasses instead of flutes. I’ve done the experiment, and there is a difference. To the point that I only use white wine glasses for bubbles nowadays!