The process of pouring a liquid from one container into another in order to allow the liquid to breathe (areate) and to separate any unwanted deposits (sediment) so that it remains in the original container. Older red wines are often decanted to remove the sediment often existing in wine, but white wines usually have no deposits so decanting is not necessary. The container into which the wine is poured is called a decanter.

The process of decanting is generally belived to be a process that allows a wine to breath, so that it softens younger wines such as reds with higher levels of tannins. This is felt to make the wine more supple and pleasing to the taste as it removes some of the hardness of the wine. The flavor of red or white wines may tend to be dry and bitter tasting (higher levels of tannins) or tart and harsh tasting (more acidic) so that the wine may need to be softened, which is thought to occur by decanting. Similarly, it is believed that decanting will improve the bouquet (aroma)of the wine making it more complex as the fruit aroma is emitted and easily detected. There are a number of individuals who feel that decanting will not improve the flavor and will only serve to flatten and reduce the quality of the fresh fruity flavors so often sought in a good wine. It is generally agreed that there is little or no value to decanting lower quality wines, younger white wines, rosé wines, or blush wines.

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