Which glass wine decanter is best?
If you’re a wine enthusiast, you probably know certain wines that taste better when they’re exposed to the right amount of oxygen. A glass decanter makes the process much easier, so you can enjoy the full flavor and aroma of your wine that much faster.
A glass wine decanter not only helps bring out the fruity and floral notes in your wine, but it can also look great on your dining table or bar. If you want a highly-rated rated, hand-blown decanter, the Le Chateau Wine Decanter is the top option.
What to know before you buy a glass wine decanter
Decanting is also known as aerating, which is a process that introduces air to wine. It’s usually done in a large glass container to expand the wine’s surface area for greater air exposure. If you leave the wine in its bottle, there’s very little air exposure to soften the tannins, giving it a more bitter flavor. However, just pouring wine into a glass decanter isn’t enough to accelerate the process. The longer you leave your wine in the decanter to aerate, the better it’ll taste.
While any wine can be decanted, it isn’t necessary for some varieties. Wines that typically require aeration are full-bodied reds, like Petite Sirah or cabernet sauvignon. Older reds also often require decanting to help soften their flavor.
Lighter-bodied reds, like Beaujolais or pinot noir, generally only require 15-20 minutes of decanting. However, it’s not always necessary to aerate these wines. Medium-bodied reds, like sangiovese or merlot, typically require 30-60 minutes of decanting. Full-bodied reds usually require one to two hours of decanting. Some wine bottles have aeration instructions listed on the label, so check before decanting.
While decanting is usually done to soften the flavor of the tannins in wine, it can also help bring out its flavors and aromas, so you may want to decant a lighter-bodied red. Decanting can often improve the taste of inexpensive, newer wine too.
You usually don’t need to decant white and rose wines because they have strong aromas that start to dissipate as soon as you open them. However, if your white wine has a burnt or mineral smell when you open it, decanting it for less than 30 minutes may improve its scent and flavor.
For more information about the types of wine that benefit from decanting, check out the full glass wine decanter buying guide from BestReviews.
What to look for in a quality glass wine decanter
Size and shape
Most glass wine decanters feature a wide base, a wide mouth and a long, thin neck, but you can find other sizes and shapes. A decanter’s width is important because full-bodied wines are more effectively aerated in a decanter with a wide base. A medium-bodied wine does best in a medium-size decanter, while a light-bodied wine can be aerated in a smaller decanter.
It’s not always necessary to match the size of the decanter to the type of wine, but the wine can be aerated more efficiently if you do. If you usually drink full-bodied reds, opt for a larger decanter. If you don’t ever reach for a bottle of cabernet sauvignon or Petite Sirah, you can size down.
You can find wine decanters made of glass or crystal. Glass wine decanters usually have thicker walls than those made of crystal. Hand-blown glass decanters are especially attractive but a more expensive option.
Borosilicate glass is a more durable alternative to standard glass. Decanters made of this glass are thin, lightweight and usually have a striking appearance. However, they’re also more expensive than standard glass decanters.
Crystal wine decanters have thinner walls, but crystal is usually more durable than glass. These often have a more creative, attractive appearance, though they’re more expensive.
Some glass decanters have fairly elaborate designs, while others are more simple. A swan design is a popular option, featuring two open, curved ends, resembling a swan’s neck and tail, and a central base. The wine’s usually decanted in the wider portion and poured through the smaller end. While these elaborate decanters are more striking, they typically aren’t dishwasher-safe.
Some glass decanters include accessories to help you enjoy your wine. Some come with a stopper, so you can stop the decanting process when necessary. Other decanters may also include a drying stand, allowing you to stand the decanter upside-down for air-drying after washing. Cleaning brushes are also helpful accessories as they make it much easier to get down into the decanter’s long neck for cleaning.
How much you can expect to spend on a glass wine decanter
You’ll usually pay between $30-$100 for a glass wine decanter. Standard glass decanters may only cost around $30, but you’ll pay up to $50 for more elaborate glass or crystal models. High-end crystal or borosilicate glass decanters usually range from $50-$100 or more.
Glass wine decanter FAQ
Do I really need a decanter?
A. If you’re a fan of full-bodied red wines, a decanter can definitely help enhance your wine drinking experience. It also looks great sitting out on your dining table, bar cart or cabinet.
Swirling your wine around in your glass can help aerate it if you don’t have a decanter, but it takes longer. You can also substitute a wine aerator for a decanter if you prefer.
What’s the best way to clean a glass wine decanter?
A. Even if your glass decanter is dishwasher-safe, you’re better off hand-washing it to avoid breakage or scratches. Cleaning a decanter by hand can be challenging because of the slender neck.
When cleaning the decanter, it’s best to use fragrance-free dish soap to avoid leaving behind scents that might affect the taste of your wine. A decanter or bottle cleaning brush makes it easier to get into the hard-to-reach spots in the decanter’s neck. If you don’t have a brush, you can use a long-handled wooden spoon to push a sponge around the neck to clean it. It helps to have a decanter dryer or a decanter stand to set the vessel upside-down for air-drying.
What are the best glass wine decanters to buy?
Top glass wine decanter
What you need to know: Featuring hand-blown crystal, this decanter is easy to use and features a striking beveled top that looks lovely on your table.
What you’ll love: It features an 8 ½-inch wide bottom, allowing for optimal aeration and can hold an entire 750-ml bottle of wine. The crystal is lightweight, lead-free and dries more quickly after cleaning than other decanters.
What you should consider: It doesn’t include a top or stopper.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top glass wine decanter for the money
What you need to know: An excellent basic decanter, this model features a stylish hollow design that will stand out on your bar cart and boasts an affordable price tag.
What you’ll love: IWith a capacity of 750 ml, the hollow design makes a striking statement in any bar setup. It’s constructed with lead-free crystal, and its slanted spout makes for easy, drip-free pouring. The decanter comes with a flexible cleaning brush too.
What you should consider: Its base is on the small side, so it may have trouble standing up without wobbling.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This unique-looking decanter aerates wine quickly, thanks to its built-in waterfall aerator.
What you’ll love: The built-in waterfall aerator helps the wine spread out through the decanter to expedite the decanting process, only requiring three to five minutes for decanting. The aerator can also filter out sulfites and sediment. It comes with a decanter drying stand and cleaning beads.
What you should consider: The glass isn’t hand-blown.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.