“When I’m not in the mood to get into pouring out bottles [into] a glass decanter, I also have an aerator that fits over the top of the bottle,” says Adrienne Capps, the general manager of Parallel Napa Valley. “These obviously won’t help with removing sediment and generally are not as good for aeration because you are only getting a little extra air being introduced through the aerator (as opposed to pouring the entire bottle into a decanter and aerating), but they do help.”
So if you want to get into the habit of elevating your wines — whether they’re young or old, affordable or fancy — read on for some expertly selected decanters and aerators, along with a few other tools, tips and tricks to help optimize your quarantine wine drinking experience.
Best wine decanters to shop in 2020
This workhorse decanter is a personal recommendation from Capps, given its wide base for swirling and its surface area. Its slanted spout is also ideal for easy pouring and minimizing drip in the process.
Alejandro Iglesias, the executive sommelier of vinomanos.com, has a few tips for decanting robust, full-bodied reds, specifically Argentine Malbecs: “After removing the cork, let the wine rest in a decanter to help the aromas grow clearer and take on greater depth: The red fruits, spices and mountain herbs will establish a better balance with the oaky notes that arise during the aging process.”
You’ll find this 1.2-liter lead-free crystal decanter in Capps’ hand in the tasting room at Parallel — it’s lead-free for safe drinking, offers plenty of room for a standard size bottle of wine, is easy to grip and use, and the fact that it looks beautiful is always a bonus. As a rule of thumb, Capps always makes sure she’ll have enough space to do her thing. “I choose one that allows me to also aerate in the decanter, [meaning] there is enough room to swirl a full bottle of wine around without the risk of it jumping out of the top!”
If you’re looking to invest in a great decanter from a trusted name in glassware, go for the popular Zalto Axium model from the brand’s Denk’Art collection, which was “influenced by the earth in accordance to the tilt angles of the Earth.” This decanter is ideal for medium-bodied reds and full-bodied white wines, and is as functional as it is striking. “My favorite decanters (and glassware in general) are from Zalto,” says Anna Frizzell, marketing director at Wine Hooligans. “They’re an investment, but I think they are so lightweight and elegant.”
Zisovski has a few tips for pouring a wine into any decanter: “You should decant in a slow stream [so as not to] cause bubbles — this ensures you don’t mix the sediment in the bottle, and decanting a bottle slowly through light helps you rack off as much wine as possible from the sediment. Also, decanting too fast can also shock the wine.”
Rabbit’s RBT decanter combines the best of both worlds, featuring a simple yet elegantly-designed decanter and an aerating funnel that also uses a filter to capture sediment as the wine is poured through it. This highly functional option is also easy on the eyes (it comes with an acacia wood base, to boot). Funnels in general can be useful in transferring a wine into a decanter, especially if you’re planning on pouring it back into the bottle afterward, which is known as a “double decant.”
Frizzell offers a few tips for this technique: “Usually, I’ll do this for a nice bottle presentation, or to put the cork back in and keep the wine for another day. But you need to make sure you have a stable funnel, or an extremely steady hand when pouring the wine back in the bottle (I’ve definitely had some spills).”
Best aerators, pourers and other decanting tools of 2020
“At home, I tend to aerate a glass of wine with an aerator, rather than decanting (unless it’s for a special bottle or fortified wine),” says Frizzell, whose aerator of choice is this model by Vinturi, which LaZarre also recommends. Using a patented technology, these gadgets aerate a wine in seconds, are equipped with a filter screen to catch sediment and cork and they come with a no-drip stand for easy storage. “I find it to be a handy and effective tool, if for no other reason than it keeps the wine from flying all over the counter and my shirt. Plus, I love the ‘wooshing’ sound the wine makes as it runs through the device,” LaZarre adds.