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Opening Wine and Decanting Wine

Opening Wine and Decanting Wine

Opening Wine
The slim waiter's corkscrew lets you remove both foil and cork quickly. Once you learn how to use this tool, the process becomes nearly effortless.

Trim the foil cap by aligning the blade of the corkscrew along the top of the lip of the bottle, pressing the blade firmly as you rotate the bottle with your other hand. Remove and discard the top of the foil cap.

Insert the corkscrew's spiral "worm" into the cork, taking care to align the center of the worm directly over the center of the cork. Twist the corkscrew straight down into the cork.

Extract the cork by placing the lever on the rim of the bottle and pulling up on the handle while pressing down on the lever with your thumb. Wipe the bottle with a towel.

Pour a small amount of wine into a glass, twisting your wrist slightly as you finish pouring to prevent drips. Smell, then taste the wine to be sure there are no off odors or flavors, then pour into the remaining glasses.

Decanting Wine
Wines are sometimes decanted to aerate them and smooth out their tannins (young wines) or to remove sediment (older wines) with the aid of a candle.

Set the bottle upright a day before you plan to open it to allow any sediment to settle. Young wines can skip this step and be poured directly into the decanter, as they will have little or no sediment.

Hold the decanter in one hand, at an angle, about 4 inches above a candle flame to help you see any sediment. With the other hand, carefully pour the wine into the decanter in a slow, steady stream.

Light a candle preferably a tall taper or pillar and let it burn for a few minutes to ensure a steady flame. This step is needed when pouring older wines to illuminate any sediment that may be present.

Pause when sediment starts to appear noticeable in the neck of the decanter, and carefully wipe out the sediment with a towel before proceeding. Pour the wine from the decanter into glasses.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, by George Dolese (Oxmoor House, 2004).