Letting Wine Breathe

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Decanting A Few Good Wines

English glass maker George Ravenscroft is credited for the 1676 discovery of how to make lead crystal. Most wine decanters were initially made of glass or lead crystal, both of which allowed the person who decanted the wine to see the sediment and avoid pouring it into the decanter, as well into your wine glass.

As the demand for bottled wine grew, so did a parallel industry for the manufacture of decanters. Whereas decanters had originally been used purely to serve a function, manufacturers began to create new and more sophisticated designs, as decanters were recognized for their decorative potential.

One cannot have too many decanters. If you are going to do any kind of tasting event in your home involving more than one bottle of vintage wine- it would be wise to purchase more than one decanter.

Crystal decanters manufactured in England and Ireland during the period between 1760 and 1810 are considered among the finest of classic decanters. They were manufactured before the advent of machine production, and were hand-blown, hand-engraved and hand-cut, and therefore, each was a complete original.

Involved in the American Wine Society I have seen on many occasion the need for two or even three decanters. Wines, such as big Bordeaux or even a Pinot Noir benefits from breathing and can sit for up to three hours. Each passing minute the wine takes on a new life, even in the glass you will notice subtle notes on the nose, tongue and finish.

Decanters can range from $20 to $200, or even more, but one nice decorative for show and a few less expensive glass decanters will suffice. Guests who enjoy wine care more about how the wine is affected than whether you are pouring out of Bacarat lead crystal.

More on decanter history

Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food and Wine Writer Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!

Other Wine Glasses and Decanter History

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  1. Thanks Chef,
    I love learning the history of things-it gives a proper perspective!

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